Friday morning with Sophie

07/31/2012 at 8:19 pm | Posted in baby sunshine | Leave a comment

She wobbles toward me across the kitchen floor, jazz hands waving, huge grin.

I want up, Mama. Pick me up. Now. Up. (is what I imagine she’s trying to say)

One tiny fist grabs the hem of my shirt while the other anchors her to my pajama bottoms.

I pick her up, sniff her neck and put her back down.

Up again, Mama, she squawks. I keep snapping pictures. Her smile begins to fade into a pout.

But wait.

She tips backward by accident, almost losing her balance.

And finds yet another happy place. Hanging off me, almost upside down.

Her new perspective makes her laugh. Giggles turn to squeals, and I have to put down the camera to scoop her up and squeeze her tight.

Then she wiggles out of my arms.

And off she goes, finding more happiness. This time with a chair cushion.

Sweet, funny baby.

Lucky me.

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Happiness is: Sophie's first pair of shoes

07/31/2012 at 2:05 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, Happiness is | 2 Comments
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She’s already managed to pull off some of the flower petals on the right shoe. Lesson learned: don’t put them on her feet until after we get where we’re going. Baby hates being in the car seat, and apparently yanking on her brand-new shoes provided quite the stress relief.

Strapping these on Sophie’s feet for the first time was bittersweet. Still a baby, but taking off. Spreading her little wings. Working those thigh rolls.

It’s funny how “baby steps” seem more like giant leaps.

But she always staggers back over to me, grinning and waving her arms above her head.

For now.

(hold me)

p.s. The shoes? They’re Livie and Luca.

Four going on forty

07/29/2012 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Small Fry | 5 Comments

The stuff that comes out of this child’s mouth constantly surprises me. And makes me smile. Especially when she corrects me (and is usually right).

I always try to write them down. There are little notes with Lily-isms all over the house.

Here are a few recent favorites …

On the weather:

Yesterday the weather told me it was going to be showers. No funder or sebeer weather. Just rain.

On modesty:

Me: You are so smart!
Lily: Yes I sure am.

On current events:

I heard in the newspaper …

Dishing compliments:

Marc: Would you like a banana?
Lily: Sure thing Daddy. You’re a genius!

Me: How do I look?
Lily: You look handsome Mommy!

Hints of teenage-hood:

Me: Don’t forget to wash hands (after potty).
Lily: I always wash hands so you don’t need to tell me a million times!

While snuggling in bed:

Me: I love you.
Lily: I just tooted. ::giggle::

On international travel:

Mommy guess what! When it’s naptime here, it’s bedtime in Italy. Silly Italy.

And a few of my favorite Lily words:

Humonitor (As in, I hear Sophie on the humonitor.)
Hambugger
Mines (That baby doll is mines!)
Ganola bar

I just can’t bring myself to correct her yet, especially with my all-time favorite, brefkiss (breakfast). She is too much.

On being a smaller Big Girl

07/26/2012 at 8:05 pm | Posted in look good feel good | 22 Comments

I wore skinny jeans today. In a size 10.

Those are words I NEVER EVER thought I’d utter in my adult life. I honestly can’t remember the last time I fit into this size, much less on the bottom half of my body. High school?

I’ve always been a big girl. Tall, yes. And big. Hands almost as big as my 6-foot husband’s hands. Size 10 feet. Broad hips that helped me carry and birth two babies. I have always loved my body, even when it was softer and more jiggly.

But the elation of finally seeing the results of how hard I’ve worked for the past seven months is too awesome for words.

I still reflexively head for the size 14 part of the rack when I shop. And then I have to remind myself. I’m smaller now.

Still big. But not BIG big. I reach for the 10’s.  And the grin spreads across my face.

It really does feel too good to be true.

I’ve been a size 14 for so long that I accepted it as my fate. I never really liked having to scrounge for the very last pair of jeans in a towering pile of smaller sizes, or reach way around the back of a huge rack loaded with size zeroes (really, who can wear those?).  I’d throw caution to the wind when I came across a size 12 that looked reasonable. But it was always too snug.

Now my size 12 shorts, purchased just a couple of months ago, are falling off my hips. I never thought this would be my reality.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not writing this to slam my fellow big girls, or to say there is anything wrong with being a size 14. Or a 20. Or higher.

Size is just a number, right?

It shouldn’t matter to me, but today in this moment, sitting (comfortably!) in these jeans, it makes me happy.

(p.s. I’ve been working up the nerve to do a before-and-after photo post with numbers. The numbers that no woman wants to share. Stay tuned …)

(p.p.s. The jeans are technically “skinny bootcut,” but that still counts right?)

What I Wore (to work) Wednesday

07/25/2012 at 1:39 pm | Posted in look good feel good | 10 Comments
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So. Only one outfit this week.

Because I’m lazy. And wearing the same stuff over and over. Also, pretty much every piece of clothing I own droops or sags on my frame now. Cry me a river, I know. It’s a good problem to have, and I’m grateful for my new body. But it sure is frustrating getting dressed on my non-mom-uniform days.

I’m trying to hold out on the shopping until fall, mostly because new clothes don’t really fit into our budget right now. And I want to wait and see where my weight levels out. I’m taking a small batch of summer clothes to the tailor, so that will help. I just need to get more creative with what I’ve got. Hello accessories.

This outfit makes me happy because it reminds me of a very fun outlet shopping excursion with Julie. The outlets are sort of our thing, and she is always my good luck charm. So whenever she visits, we hit em up. Big time.

One last thing: I need to find a full-length mirror. Just so you guys know that I’m not secretly wearing Jams or parachute pants down below. I’ll work on that for next week.

top ::: Old Navy outlet
pants ::: LOFT hand-me-downs from Laura
necklace ::: Banana Republic outlet
ruffle flats ::: Gap

pleated poppy

Silver lining

07/24/2012 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Friends, Motherhood | 12 Comments

I started the day on only five hours of sleep.

So I should have known it would go down like this …

Scrambling to get the girls out of the house for a playdate, I realize at the last minute that I haven’t packed water or hats or sunscreen. For a 90-degree day outside. I text my pal Cary to say we’re going to be late (shocker) and start grabbing sippy cups and snacks and hats while trying to keep Sophie from emptying the contents of the kitchen cabinets. Then with one leg out the door, toddler on my hip, diaper bag on my shoulder and Lily pulling on the hem of my shorts, it dawns on me that I forgot the sunscreen. Again.

I grab the first bottle I see and go.

At the park, the stroller won’t open. Sophie is hollering from her carseat while Lily troubleshoots the problem with me. I yank on the stroller this way and that, sweat pouring down my face. Finally, the little latch clicks into place and the thing stays upright.

We head to Lily’s favorite patch of sand and I start slathering the girls with the sunblock. Within seconds, bees appear. Two or three around each girl and a handful more hovering over the sunblock bottle perched on top of the diaper bag. Lily freaks. Sophie ambles around, happily unaware that she’s being trailed by bees.

I swat. Cary swats. The bees don’t let up. So we each grab some wipes and begin scrubbing little arms and legs. The bees aren’t fazed. I’m allergic and scared, so I wrangle the girls and head to the bathroom to wash off the sunblock. Where, of course, there are no paper towels. And the faucets only run for a few seconds before shutting off.

Sophie LOVES being in the sink, grabbing at the faucet, the soap dispenser, the front of my shirt (which, at this point, is so stretched out and drenched with sweat that it’s practically hanging open). I manage to wipe the both of them down and blot them dry with toilet paper.

So now we can’t be in the sun. At the park. In July.

Time for the carousel, I announce. Which, mercifully, is indoor and air-conditioned. We clamber aboard and it cranks up, spinning much more quickly than I’d imagined it would. I become dizzy. I focus on the girls’ faces and force back a growing wave of nausea. After the ride ends, I chug some ice-cold lemonade. And start to dry heave.

Cary, as sweet as she is, manages to usher us all to a bench in the shade, where I put my head in my hands while she assures me that I have nothing to be embarrassed about. After a few of Sophie’s goldfish crackers, the nausea subsides and I can stand up without seeing spots.

We take a train ride, then part ways for lunch and naps.

I manage to lie down with Lily that afternoon but still feel sick and can’t really fall asleep. My mind spinning with all the chores waiting for me, I force myself not to get up. Just be still and listen to your child sleep. This moment is a gift, I tell myself.

Then Sophie wakes early and screeches her discontent for the next two hours.

Finally, the silver lining.

In a desperate move to kill the last 30 minutes before bedtime, I decide to take Sophie for a stroll. As I’m strapping on her shoes, Cary rings the doorbell and hands me a CD with photos that take my breath away.

Just like that, the comedy of errors comes screeching to a halt and peace settles into my heart.

So cute it's ridiculous

07/22/2012 at 7:40 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, Small Fry | 7 Comments
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Seriously. How am I not supposed to keep every single one of these photos?

The picture people send home sheets and sheets of ridiculously cute prints and instruct us to send back the ones we don’t want. It’s like waving a cupcake under my nose and telling me to take just one or two bites.

Well played, picture people. Well played.

Behold Lily and Peanut Butter the Pony:

And here’s Sophie relaxing by the beach. In a tiny little beach chair.

A fake rock! This is like a school picture milestone. You simpy can’t move up in the world without having posed at least once beside an artifical boulder or log … or leaning on a fake fence. So I definitely have to keep this one too. Am I right?

These picture people are killing me. Remember the Marshmallow incident of 2011?

Too much awesome.

Eating healthy: grilled trout ala Marc

07/19/2012 at 1:12 pm | Posted in mangia!, weight loss | 6 Comments
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So, fish isn’t one of my favorite foods. But I’ve learned to love it. Especially because it’s so healthy. And because my husband happens to be a fisherman and he’d eat it every day if he could.

We’re lucky to get to eat fresh fish right off the boat during the summer. But we also hit up the local fish market when our stash runs dry.

We used to fry and slather it with tartar sauce. Now we grill it with different combinations of herbs, veggies, olive oil, butter and lemon juice. A little secret: it actually tastes better this way! And your stomach will thank you.

For the dish pictured above Marc packed trout fillets (that he caught last week) in foil with onion, red pepper, 1 tsp butter and some Mrs. Dash seasoning. When you close up the pouches, be sure to tent them so there’s room for the steam to do its thing. Then grill (or throw in the oven) for about 15 minutes. We also grilled the veggies in foil packs, after tossing them with some reduced fat Italian dressing. And the tomatoes are from our little garden!

I always have a glass of cold white wine on fish night. Perfection.

What I Wore (to work) Wednesday

07/18/2012 at 11:10 am | Posted in look good feel good | 8 Comments
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I found this top in New York during BlogHer ’10, and I’ve worn the heck out of it ever since. The cap sleeves always feel a little too poufy but now that I see these photos, maybe they’re not that bad?

top ::: H&M
pants ::: Gap
bangles ::: H&M
earrings ::: Anthropologie

Laura just gave me these red pants (in a size 10!), and I’m in love. The cardigan is an old favorite. The fit is a little slouchy, and it’s not quite as long as I’d like, but hey. Mint green. Pretty beading. Am I right?

cardi ::: Target
top ::: Gap
pants ::: LOFT
shoes ::: Target

Casual Thursday in the house. I found the headband and earrings at one of my favorite local shops, and I think I’ve worn this tank every other day. Old habits die hard, right?

top ::: Old Navy
jeans ::: Gap
headband, earrings ::: Cat Banjo

So what do you think? How could I have been more adventurous with these outfits? It’s hard digging out of a fashion rut, friends. Inspire me!

pleated poppy

Blessed

07/17/2012 at 8:14 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, family | 6 Comments

Sophie still smells like church.

On Sunday morning after the priest anointed her with water poured from a shell we found at the beach, she looked up at him in confusion and then grabbed a wad of her hair as if to say dude that’s mine. With a chuckle, he rubbed oil onto her head and then draped the sweetest little white bib on her chest and declared her to be baptized.

The ceremony, which took place at a special little church in the mountains that has a deep history in our family, was beautiful.

Lily was baptized there, as well as Laura and me. My grandparents were married there, and we said goodbye to my dear grandfather about 10 years ago in that tiny, lovely space.

I glanced over at the pew he always sat in and remembered watching his gentle hands hold the hymnal. I smiled at Nana playing the organ beside the altar. I felt the love of our family and friends gathered around us. I remember the priest saying words like “grace” and “light.”

I will never forget Sophie’s sweet face in those precious moments.

And of course, the hair:

Here she is with her godmothers. How lucky we are to have these two in our lives!

Lily and Olive found treasures outside the church after mass while all the grown-ups milled about and snapped photos.

Back at the farm, Sophie’s second “baptism” took place, a special induction into the family tribe. My dad gave her the name Agaliha, which is Cherokee for “sunshine.”

Here Lily is, feeding Gretchen the goat and delighting in all the natural wonder of that beautiful space nestled deep in a valley dotted with the prettiest purple wildflowers. The lightening bugs put on quite a show that night, as we sat rocking on the porch staring out into nothing.

And Miss Sophie? She was unstoppable. Wobbling over to see this animal and that. Crouching down to dig in the dirt. Climbing the gate to the cow pasture. And, thanks to Auntie Julie, taking her first ride on a bike.

My heart fills a little bit more each time we gather in the mountains, and Sunday was no exception.

So very blessed.

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