The Grossest

I have to say, I'm not surprised that having kids has brought along a few messy moments. I just would have guessed, before Max and Maggie were born, that the grossest experiences of motherhood would include dirty diapers. But in my overall experience, that hasn't been the case. {Maybe because we lucked into buying the most blowout-proof diapers ever? We love our Pampers Swaddlers.} Other than the occasional Max-pees-on-something-with-his-diaper-off incident {once hitting his own face}, the gross memories that come to mind have to do with spit up. Two, in particular, are terribly memorable:

- Before I got too pregnant, I used to play a game with my babies where I would lay on my back, position them on my legs, and then lift them into the air, holding them tight under the arms. I did it with a "one, two, THREE!" that went super high. I know I'm not describing this game very well, but just try and picture it anyway, okay? One evening in January I was playing with Max, and he was being so adorable that I added in a part after the "THREE!" where I brought him down and kissed him on the mouth. After playing for a few minutes, I brought him down for a kiss, and he laughed, and then spit up. In my mouth. My first reaction was to sit up and spit it right back out, at which point it went straight down my shirt. And, you know, all around in there. Thinking about it still makes me feel a little queasy.

- One day last week I quickly ran upstairs while the babies were happily occupied so I could get dressed. After throwing on jeans and a v-neck tee {my go-to pregnant outfit, always}, I heard a thunk and then Max started crying. It wasn't a big deal; Max loves to explore, but always has a hard time when he inevitably loses his balance and falls. I helped him recover, and then... found Maggie on her tummy in the kitchen, licking up a puddle of spit up. She also had it all over her face. I assume it was hers, since it wasn't anywhere near Max, but that's still only marginally better than if it had been her brother's. I had to act quickly to keep her from getting it all over her pants as well as she saw me, turned and started scooting toward me.

What are the most disgusting things that have happened to you or that you've witnessed, kid-wise? Can you top my stories? I'd love to hear them!

*image via frames of reading road
If you know the original source of this image, please let me know. THANKS SO MUCH!


Important Thoughts 25.0

25.1: Maggie is just the greatest eater. She'll eat any finger foods I put on her tray; she's gobbled up black beans, grape tomatoes, butternut squash, egg yolk {hard boiled or scrambled}, mozzarella cheese, brown rice balls, avocado, and pasta with tomato sauce eagerly. She also, of course, loves any little dessert bits I share with her before Christian sees what I'm doing and gives me stern looks. Max likes to stick to the basics: fruit {usually grapes, blueberries and strawberries} and pieces of whole wheat bread crust are his favorites. If I sneak anything else in his mouth, he makes a confused faces and flaps the food off his tongue with his fingers. And speaking of eating...

25.2: Max is constantly exploring the possibilities of food. He's interested in the texture of everything, and likes to squish food in his tiny palm or rub it on his tray if he's not interested in tasting it. He also likes to get drips of baby oatmeal and yogurt from the corners of his mouth, feel it between his fingers, and then play with the hair behind his right ear. By the end of mealtime, that piece of hair is almost always sticking straight out, caked with dried oatmeal. I also found a whole Cheerio in there today.

25.3: I think my babies are moving towards having just one nap during the day instead of two. It's a huge bummer, because for the past couple of months we've been enjoying two coordinating two-hour naps. That's four hours of both babies sleeping, four hours of mama-gets-to-have-free-time. And it's been just amazing. The prospect of going down to just one nap and the fussiness that goes with trying out a new nap schedule is not appealing. It also brings up a lot of questions, like, how long would that nap even be? Would it mean that they would sleep in later in the morning? When would I get myself dressed and ready for the day -- when they're awake? Wait until they end up going down? Wake up early?? Any thoughts you have on baby naps would be appreciated!

25.4: I almost don't want to write about this, because it still hurts my heart to think about, but Max fell down our front steps yesterday. I can't emphasize enough how terrible I feel. I can see him in my head again and again, tumbling slowly down on the bricks. It was just the worst, and even more so because it was my fault. My stupidity and my neglect. He's okay now, other than a little scratch on his face and one on the top of his head, but I feel awful. How could I let that happen, when I'm supposed to take care of him, and when he's so afraid of falling? I know he probably has forgotten all about it, and that he still loves me and trusts me, but I think it a way that makes it worse.

25.5: Maggie is falling more in love with her Daddy every day, and I couldn't be happier. She's been a mama's girl for so long. It's wonderful to see her reach out her {tiny, squishy, dimpled, pudgy} arms to Christian, and sweet that she's so excited when he gets home. {On the other hand, she's now devastated when he leaves for work, which makes it a little harder for him to leave.} I think her first word will be "da-dee" -- she's already said it a couple of times, but won't say it consistently, so we're hesitant to claim that she's really talking for real. Max loves to play with his Daddy best, but he still comes to me when he's sad, and I love that. I know it won't last forever.


One of My Favorites

I absolutely love getting to see Christian being a father; it's one of the things I've enjoyed most about having children. Seeing him give Maggie her bedtime bottle is just the sweetest. He cuddles her close and rests his mouth against her little peach-fuzz-covered head. He sings her songs -- "Rocket Man," "Hallelujah," "Hotel California," and "Yellow Submarine." I like to stay quiet and listen because it's so beautiful to me.


Unable to Relax

I've been feeling a little frustrated and anxious lately. Yesterday evening, especially, I found myself downright grumpy. Sometimes when I get grumpy I do the terrible thing of yelling at people in my head. Often I'm not actually angry at the person I'm mentally berating, but I imagine scenarios in which they've done me a terrible wrong so that my rants are justified. No need to tell me that this isn't a good habit; I know it already.

After the babies were asleep and Christian and I were getting ready for bed last night, I decided to take a bath to help me feel better. Usually it's so calming and comforting to sit in the warm water. Only yesterday, instead of just soaking in the tub, I looked at baby pianos on eBay. I don't think that helped.

I think I have a problem with letting go of my to-do list. Blogging is on that list, but even as I sit here typing away, I'm having a hard time not thinking about all the other things I want to get done. Hemming the curtains in the living room, for example. I also have an overload of tasks I want to accomplish before the babes' first birthday:

1. Finish the blankets I started making before they were born and never finished.
2. Paint and decorate their room.
3. Make a teepee to go in the living room as a birthday surprise.
4. Plan their birthday party.
5. Make a birthday video comprising footage from when they were born until now.
6. Add music to the video so that people cry when they watch it.
7. Find awesome birthday presents without spending too much money.
8. Convince Christian that all of the above is worthwhile, also that we should take a family trip to the zoo.

I can feel the stress of everything I want to get done in my shoulders and neck muscles. I can feel it sitting in there right now. And I'm biting my nails because it's uncomfortable.

Any advice on letting go of stress? I'd truly love to hear it.

*photo via Miss Moss


My Valentine

Christian and I aren't doing anything for Valentine's Day this year. Or, more accurately, we aren't doing anything on Valentine's Day this year. No cards, no flowers, no gifts, no heart-shaped anything.

*photo by Steffanie Ling

Our very first Valentine's Day together, we were engaged. Christian took me out to eat at the Cheesecake Factory, which is where we had our very first date. We ended up having a miserable evening and at one point during dinner he thought I was going to call everything off. {I didn't.} I couldn't eat anything. We patched things up in that way where there was nothing left to say about what happened, but neither of us felt quite back to normal. Then as we were driving back to his apartment, he gave me a pink iPod nano, and I loved it. I loved that it was pink. I loved him.

I dislike the idea that Valentine's Day should be a big deal, that my man should get me gifts and make romantic Plans {with a capital P, no less}. If it's really about celebrating our relationship, the love that we share, and the fact that we so enjoy being together, then shouldn't we just enjoy being together?

Last Saturday Christian and I had a stay-at-home date night. After we put the babies to bed, we sat on the couch and watched a movie. Christian let me pick the movie, and we watched The Family Stone, because I love it and I didn't get the chance to see it over Christmas. We ate the Entenmann's coffee cake and Krispy Kreme doughnuts we bought from Harris Teeter when we were supposed to be just dropping off plastic bags for recycling. {I ate four fifths of that coffee cake by myself, and in less than fifteen minutes. I blame newbaby.} Towards the end he cleared off the space between us, came close, and laid his head in my lap. It was perfect.

*photo by meriiram

I should mention, in all honesty, that we do have Plans this week -- Plans that we would have made regardless of their proximity to Valentine's Day. We're going to see Les Miserables on Thursday and I.am.so.excited.

Do you have any big plans for today? This week? Any Valentine's Day memories or strong opinions on Valentine's Day observance you'd like to share? I'd love to hear all about them!


On Babies Growing Up

Christian and I play a game wherein we pretend that March 20th is never going to happen again. Our babies will be eleven months and 28 days old on March 19th, and then the world will stop. Time will no longer move forward, and our babies will never be one year old. How could they? It was just weeks ago that we brought them home from the hospital.

In my heart I've already resigned myself to the inevitable. Refusing to acknowledge how old they are doesn't keep me from seeing how big they've gotten. Or how much they've learned. Or the growing up they've done.

Maggiebaby is finally taking an interest in crawling. She loves to scoot around on the floor like an inchworm; I think she realizes that sometimes the only way to get what she wants is to get it for herself. For example, I'm never going to hand her dust bunnies to eat. That's gross. But when she's on her belly she can move around and pick up all the little fuzz balls she wants, and she seems to want all of them. She can even stick them in her mouth when I'm not looking. Sneaky Maggie. {Sneaky like Buddy.}

Max got his first haircut today. I put him in a polo shirt and saw {to my horror!} that he had a little mullet peeking over the collar. Since I happen to know that mullets aren't Max's style, and since I wouldn't trust anyone else with scissors near my son's head, I sat him in his booster seat and trimmed those shaggy hairs away. I admit it, it broke my heart. I almost cried when the first lock of my baby's hair fell to the floor. Then when we were done I changed him into two-piece pajamas. He is turning into just the biggest boy.

What happened to my tiny little grasshopper babies?


Instead of Napping

Continuing the thought-train of this post, I often get asked, "So do you nap when the babies nap?" And the answer is, probably not as often as I should. I know my pregnant body could use the rest, but I'm too easily lured by the prospect of quiet, uninterrupted alone time to sleep. Most days during morning naps I get on the computer and visit my usual haunts {e-mail, Google Reader, Twitter, Pinterest} and then either Internet surf or blog; during afternoon naps I try to get householdy work done and prep dinner.

This past week, I got bit by the nesting bug. Bit hard. Several nights I was awake in bed, listening to Christian sleep and making the longest mental list of everything I want to do before newbaby comes. If just planning and wishing accomplished anything, I would have redecorated every room in our house already. My usual self would leave plans as plans, but I've been feeling a bit ashamed of my declaration in this post that I don't let Pinterest affect my day-to-day life, so last week during morning naps I actually did stuff. To wit:

1. Immediately after moving in, Christian and I put up the curtains that used to hang in our old living room in our current eat-in kitchen. Not buying new curtains saved us money, but there were some issues. In addition to the panels being about ten inches too long, we were left with a curtain hardware mis-match that was driving me crazy. {See the before here.} Last week I finally got around to fixing the problem. I cut the silver grommets off the top of each panel, then hung the panels upside down with curtain clips that matched the already-installed rods. I then pinned & hemmed the curtains to the right floor-skimming length using the sewing machine Christian got me for Christmas. It may be cheesy, but now I smile every time I look at them.

2. I have a vision for Max and Maggie's bedroom. A vision that includes gray walls, chalkboard paint, colorful art, and paper mache letters above their cribs. Letters kind of like these, only I want to spell out my babies' names. And I don't want to pay three dollars for each letter when I need eight letters {and an ampersand}. I found this tutorial on how to make paper mache letters out of cereal boxes, and since then I've been a busy crafting bee. I love how they're turning out; I think the final product will be perfect. The problem here is that I can make the letters more quickly than we use up boxes of cereal, so I've only half-finished three letters so far. {If you live nearby, I would greatly appreciate the donation of your empty cereal boxes.} Also, how does one hang paper mache letters on the wall?

3. I was itching to try out fake calligraphy after I saw this pin, and then my friend Madeline went and created something awesome. She even hung it on the wall. And I thought, "I could do that right now." So I did. I used a line from Christian's and my song, "Your Song." {I had to look up the lyrics to make sure I got them right; apparently when Ewan McGregor sings them in Moulin Rouge he changes up the words a bit.} And behold, I even hung mine up. I really did. I'm hoping it's the beginning of an awesome gallery wall.

4. For my sister-in-law Catherine's birthday in December, I got her a membership to Flower-of-the-Month Club. {Meaning, I promised to plant flowers in the hanging baskets she has in front of her house once a month. I just wanted it to sound fancier.} For January I planted purple violas and white-and-purple pansies. I got some plan white pansies, too, but I ended up not needing them. I couldn't bear to throw them away, and it seemed silly to go through the trouble of returning them to Lowe's when I only would have saved four dollars. So I planted them in pots I had sitting in my yard. Now they're cheering up my kitchen table.

Is there anything you've been inspired to create lately? I'd love to hear about it!