Tuesday, December 7, 2010

pictures from my phone

Clearing out the pictures from my phone somehow drops to the bottom of my to do list more often than you'd think. I still might do it more often than I manage to shower... which says very bad things about both my to do list, and my priorities. Because no matter what else is going on, I make time to acquire and ingest completely insane amounts of coffee every day.

So far Ben has had three or four baths? I've lost count. I know there was at least one at the hospital. Either way he's bathing more than me, which is pathetic. He's screamed his way through all of his baths so far. Hard to believe for a kid who got a 9 on his Apgar for not yelling loud enough. I guess he feels like he's got something to prove.

Here's this one, this delightful middle child, with her mouth full of ice cream and very temporarily not yelling. She is both a trial and a joy, in new ways everyday, and of course also in the same terrible ways as yesterday.

And Ben again, on his first Amy's trip. I may have spooked the locals a bit (hard to do in our neighborhood) with my skills at simultaneously eating and dispensing dairy products. What can I say? The udder murals were inspiring.

Our lovely eldest, giving the sideways eye to who knows what. She is loving Kindergarten so much, and really coming out of her shell. It turns out that under the shell she's a little bit of a sassypants. It's going to be challenging to walk the line of encouraging her to explore her wit and also not raising a total jerkface.

Not that she's capable of that. Here she is modeling a slouchy hat for her cousin Ava. Ava was also the recipient of a birthday card made by Wren. Wren's cards are always a labor of love, with much thought and struggle put into them. She is a loyal and devoted friend, and loves to plan presents and surprises for her people.

And Ben yet again. Snuggled up in bed, already a side sleeper if he has his preference.

And in the laundry basket. Hey how else am I going to carry both the baby and the basket of clean clothes upstairs? A new baby sadly does not mean my big babies no longer need clean clothes. Although somewhere during my third and fourth wash cycle everyday I rethink nudism.

I seem to be determined that Ben will not be the typical third child. Look at all those pictures! And he already has a baby box, which is what I do instead of books, because honestly, I will never ever make a book. But a box? Sure! I can toss stuff in there every now and then. I like to set the bar low so I can feel better about myself.

For instance, today I will return the library books that are two weeks late, I will buy more coffee, I will wash a load of diapers, and I will put my Grandmother's birthday present in the mail.

Huh... doesn't look like showering made it today either. Damn.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

parties parties parties!

Fall is so far very full of celebrations. The last few weekends (and the next few, of course) have been back to back birthday parties for kids in both Wren and Jane's classes. And Wren recently attended her first (half) slumber party. Fun! and also BUSY.

But we love it. And I can always grab my downtime, since it's mandatory for Ben and me to sit down and be still every two hours. And then it's mandatory for Ben to spit up on me.

And it's also helpful to have a reminder about how fast this time goes by... like say seeing that picture of Jane's feet and being reminded of this one, when those shoes fit Wren, and she asked me to put a pink heart on them for her. That was yesterday, right?

Jane's most recent celebration was a gymnastics party, to which she wore this super sporty outfit:

Complete with her very beloved spider ring:

She swung, flipped, bounced...

and finally had an impromptu solo dance party during cake time.

I love my little party animal. Her endless energy will hopefully be inspiration to pull the rest of us through this season. I love love love Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there's no denying it can be tiring and somewhat stressful. Jane lives hard, plays hard and parties hard, and it's difficult to be worried about a to-do list when she ropes you for the fifth time that morning into her dance party.

And someday much sooner than I like I will be trying to talk Ben into those shoes, saying hearts aren't really so girlish, and look they're hardly even pink anymore! Just put them on for a minute so I can take a picture...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

At home with Ben

I love Fall, and it is especially wonderful when I have such a wonderfully snuggly baby to cuddle up with. There are a few downsides- the occasional screaming, the spoiled milk smell that gently wafts from every textile in my home, etc. But obviously, I find that the benefits far outweigh the downsides. Otherwise why would I keep having babies?

Oh right, because my friends bring me dinner for a couple of weeks. That is recompense that should not be underestimated. Also, the forced sobriety every three years ensures that I will yet again be a cheap date this New Years. It's time to party like a half glass of wine with dinner puts me to sleep! WOOOO!

Look at him. He's like "That's right. I slept for five hours last night. Go ahead and get your hopes up. I might do it again. Or, you know, I could take exception to that brussel sprout you ate and gritch and grumble inconsolably every 45 minutes. Who knows?!"

He's lucky he has such a devoted fan club. Jane watches over him, worries when he cries, sings and shushes him, and of course, asks to "pet the baby" anytime it would be most inconvenient to allow her to do so.

Overall she seems to be adjusting to the role of big sister pretty well. We've had our ups and downs, as she processes such a huge change. And Wren, in her typical introverted way, seems to be working through it in her own fashion. Mostly through childhood insomnia. Chase, an occasional insomniac himself, bought her a reading lamp and a stack of chapter books, and we're calling it fixed.

Putting yourself to sleep is a life skill. I am currently the one person in this family who needs no help going to sleep, but someday that will change. I will be sitting up worrying about curfews and boyfriends and girlfriends and sex drugs and rock and roll. These days I am going to be so grateful to have all these wakeful bodies home under this one roof, for this brief moment, even if sometimes it's easier to wish for a tranq gun and better aim.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

new fall hats

The girl's fall hats for this year are done!

Janey picked out her yarn color on a trip to the craft store, and we decided together that Wren would probably like the bright purple color the most. I knew I wanted to make a gnome hat for Jane, since she loved the little felt elf hat and it's not really suited for everyday wear. But the library doesn't have a copy of this book yet, and so I just sort of mashed together a few of the closest sounding ravelry patterns, and her blue gnome hat is what we ended up with.

Wren was adamant that she didn't want a "baby" hat, she wanted a grown up hat. I just cast on to more or less the size of her head and made a very plain purple/pink hat. Then I added a little flower, which was fun and fast, and Wren picked out a button to go in the middle and we were done!

I think that hat will always have a special place in my heart, since I worked on it while I was in prelabor, and for a while in actual labor with Ben. That's a contraction monitor on my giant pregnant belly, just under the yarn. And I'm probably listening to a nurse offer me some beef broth for the billionth time. Fun times.

Either way, the girls have hats for fall. Next up is poor Ben, who would be totally hatless if it weren't for the kind gifts of friends and relatives. The collection of tiny hats I knit for him is destined for the next pregnant lady I know who has a normal sized baby...

Monday, November 15, 2010

very belated Halloween

So I've been kind of busy, but I want to get back up to date on the blog, so I'm starting with Halloween. This is a picture of Jane practicing her patented "wink" face. We are pretty fond of it.

Sadly we didn't get any good pictures of Jane in her cat costume, but rest assured she was the most adorable (and fierce) black cat in the world.

And Wren in her self-designed and built butterfly costume. She built the wings (with help from Chase) and painted them (with help from Nana) and wore them proudly at school and church and trick or treating.

The girls both picked out "baby" pumpkins, and we talked about how next year, we'll need THREE tiny pumpkins!

We were out trick or treating on a friend's street until pretty late, and then were totally unprepared for the amount of kids in our neighborhood. We had a lot of candy and they completely cleaned us out! We had to hunker down with all the lights off because they just would. not. quit. I wanted to disconnect the doorbell.

And yes, I went to Target the next morning and stocked up on clearance candy. My stash lasted until last week, when the only thing left was Almond Joy (barf) and I gave those all to a weird friend who actually likes them. Overall, we had a great first Halloween as a family of five.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Sorry about the phone photos, I'll get some good pictures up on our flickr as soon as I dig the camera out of the hospital bag.

We went in to the hospital on Thursday afternoon, semi-frantically calling around to various friends on the north side of town, who might come babysit the kids in the waiting room. Our original plan, to drive them down south to hang with the Ruperts, was a total failure due to rush hour traffic. Ask me sometime how much fun it is to time contractions in stop and go traffic on Mopac. Will came through, and Chase passed off Wren and her coloring book, and a sound asleep Jane, and headed back to a room with me. Dave made a heroic drive across town and took the girls to Chick-fil-A, and he and Jessie kept them for the weekend. I have heard that wonderful robot costume parties were enjoyed by all.

I commented to Chase while we were walking up and down the halls, trying to keep my contractions regular, that it really was almost like a date night. We got to have whole uninterrupted conversations and a lot of time to ourselves. There were plentiful ice chips, and repeated offers of beef broth (um... no thanks). Of course, even with insurance, I am not a cheap date.

Things picked up once I got tired of walking around and we started pitocin, and then things really picked up when my doctor asked if I wanted her to break my water. I was in transition before I knew it, and Ben was born at 1:01, on the 22nd, after about 30 minutes of pushing. He was 9 lbs, 3 oz and was yelling right off the bat.

He only wants to sleep when someone's holding him, and he only wants to eat about every 27 minutes. None of the hats I knit for him fit at all- in fact they look like yarmulkes. He has spit up on me 8 times and not once on Chase.

But overall he's pretty great. I think we'll keep him.

We are all enormously grateful for the prayers and the hard work of our friends and family. You guys have loved us and cared for us and continue to do so and we are overwhelmed. Thank you all so much.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Today was my first morning off work with the girls in school.

This is my blanket, in the backyard. There were cookies, diet coke, library books and knitting. Really I could not ask for anything else. Except maybe a slobbery dog to come hover over me longingly with a tennis ball in her mouth every 5 minutes.

And this afternoon, AFTER school, this is what I paid for 10 minutes of this morning's peace. Unless Jane is unconscious, 10 minutes of silence might as well be a wailing alarm that something bad is happening.

In this case it wasn't really so bad. Just a good time with a canister full of flour, a bunch of utensils, and a bowl of rising bread dough. The bread survived, and will be eaten for dinner. Most of the flour, however, was either on Jane, on the dirty counter, or on the floor.

I always look on the bright side though- it could have been eggs.

And in other much more fun and exciting news- Wren's training wheels! They came off last night, after a long ride around the neighborhood with Chase. They were riding in the high school parking lot, which was empty after band practice, and Wren finally decided she was READY. No falls so far, and she's going to wear some jeans and try again tonight!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weekend Walk

Chase is really really good at getting us up and out of the house on weekend mornings. I generally want to hang out, putter in the kitchen, tackle some household chores, and stuff like that. Experience has shown us that my version of weekending is a VERY bad idea because it takes the kids approximately 45 minutes of watching me "putter" to get stir crazy, destructive, and as happy to play nicely together as wet cats in a bag.

Anyway, Saturday morning we went to the giant Walnut Creek park. I've never been, even though it's actually really close to our house. Chase has been mountain biking there before, and we were both kind of wondering how great an idea it is for the city to combine mountain biking, family hiking and off leash dog trails...

We only had one near miss- with Jane almost barreling into a biker, who had to swerve out of her way. Most of the time we could hear them coming and get the girls to the side of the trail. Ramona, of course, remains mysteriously terrified of all wheeled conveyances, and stayed well out of the bikers way.

And here's my glamor shot- nearly 39 weeks pregnant. I was thinking a 10/10/10 baby might be kind of fun, but so far this weekend, the hiking has only yielded swollen ankles, not contractions. I'm not quite to the "jumping jacks" stage yet, and I am already completely filled with awe and wonder for those women who can submit to the crazy time game of pregnancy with their sanity and grace intact. These are not mythical creatures- I actually know real people who have managed to go significantly OVERDUE without killing or scarring loved ones.

I know. It baffles me too. Anyway, I'm not that crazy yet. But a word of warning- if you're not visibly pregnant, you definitely DON'T want to park in one of the two expectant mother spots at HEB when I'm around. I will harangue you like a fishwife, and I'm not afraid to work blue.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Some freezer paper onesies... That one on the left is supposed to be a phone, but I got lazy and didn't cut out the rotary dial. It's not like any kid born in 2010 would ever identify it either way.

Made two weekends ago at Crafternoon. I saved the star stencil, if anyone wants it.

Chase and Wren had fun getting the apples ready for apple sauce and apple butter with our new peeler/corer/slicer. I have wanted one of those for a ridiculously long time, and I'm signed up to make two pies for the Halloween bake sale at the girls school next weekend, so I'm definitely going to get my money's worth.

And of course we overfilled a few of our apple butter jars so they didn't seal.

WHAT A DRAG. Now we'll just have to eat it ourselves.

Possibly with spoons. But I made some bread just in case.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall is my favorite

even if I can't fit into any of my favorite sweaters. Or my favorite sweatpants, for that matter. I've officially reached the point at which I can no longer fit into even my maternity clothes.

I've also reached the mental point, inevitable in any pregnancy, at which the physical discomforts of being 9 months pregnant start to outweigh the terror of the pain of childbirth and the stress of the overwhelming life change a newborn brings. It's pretty miraculous really. I know lots of people say from the beginning "Oh I just can't wait to hold my little bundle in my arms!" and obviously I feel that way too, or I wouldn't be in this position.

But. But.

Is there really a day you could wake up and say "TODAY is the day I feel ready to be a mother of three"?

Or say "RIGHT NOW is when I went to experience that most intense pain again. Right this minute would be good. I finished hanging up all the pictures and there's really nothing else on my to do list today."

Or maybe "You know I feel pretty well rested. I'm ready to not sleep again for more than 3 hours at a stretch for a few months..."

Yeah. So for lots of ladies, me included, I think the abject miseries of congestion, pelvic separation, diminished lung capacity, intermittent (and always exciting!) jabs to the kidneys, tiny bladder, nausea, insomnia, and exhaustion are just a thoughtful gentle, necessary nudge toward embracing new parenthood.

I myself am longing to meet this new person. And not just because I am a victim of "turtle on its back" syndrome every time I try to turn over at night. I am so curious to know this baby, and so excited to welcome it into our family.

And also I love fall so much, and there's really only one thing (besides a fireplace in my house) that could make it better.

And that would be if someone else had to come finish potty training Jane while I was in the hospital.

Any day now, baby.

These Days

Long days at school make for very tired girls at home. Last week Jane fell asleep standing up. Leaning against the couch, right before dinner time.

They also make for some very mischievous girls. Girls who find the button box and scatter buttons all over the house without asking.

And girls who build a ladder, climb up on the counter, find the blueberry pancakes, and eat all the blueberries out.

At least they know what they like. I've started having to hide the cookie jar on top of the fridge, but who knows how long that will work. They are like velociraptors. Always learning.

Monday, October 4, 2010

defeating the curse

This quilt was cursed from the start, and I really thought I'd never finish it. I made all kinds of mistakes- messed up the tension while quilting, ripped it out, tied it, ripped it out, and on and on.

But I persevered, and ended up doing big fat fast embroidery quilting instead of my usual hand quilting, and I'm really happy with it. In spite of all its faults. Mostly I'm happy that it's done, and that I could give a good friend a gift that says "I'm so excited about your new baby!"

Because I am!

In non-quilting news, I bought a bunch of pumpkin puree today. And this morning Chase and I made apple butter. My house smells like fall!

I think I'm trying to trick our immune systems into stepping up- we're all feeling kind of gross and sick but hopefully will be on the mend soon. We absolutely cannot be sick when it's so incredibly beautiful outside!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wren's Present for Jane

This is about a month late, but I wanted to share the gift Wren gave Jane for her birthday.

When we started talking about what Wren might want to make Jane for her birthday, we tried to think about the things the girls love to do together, what games they like playing together the most. Any version of 'hide and seek' came out way on top, in Wren's opinion.

By my kids interpretation, hide and seek encompasses the hiding and subsequent seeking of pretty much anything. It could be each other, but it's just as often ponies, dinosaurs, my knitting needles, etc. It's really great that they love to play with each other, and it also means I can generally figure out -why- there's a lego house in the silverware drawer.

It doesn't mean I can find my knitting needles, but oh well.

Wren and I settled on an egg hunt game as a good present for Jane, and that meant we needed to find some eggs. My grandmother Alley has a little wire chicken in her house that is full of straw and a collection of the most beautiful marble eggs. They are a rainbow of colors, so cool and heavy to hold. I have so many sensory memories of those eggs- hiding them all over the house when we needed a rainy day game.

Somehow I don't really happen upon rainbowed marble eggs that often in my daily life, so that was pretty much out. Also, we have tile floors. But Wren and I did find some nice heavy wooden eggs in the craft store.

She went to town- stripes, polka dots, rainbows. The eggs are perfect. And when my mom was in town for the party she helped me put a coat of Mod Podge on top and we were done.

I got the chicken from an etsy shop that I now cannot find. That's what I get for waiting a month to document it. And when I finally went to take a picture of the finished product, most of the eggs we painted were, of course, hiding. But you get the idea.

Jane loved it, and they do in fact play with it all the time.

In other news, yes. I am still very pregnant. Thanks for asking.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Catalina Whine Mixer

We've been visiting whine country lately. Basically our whole family, me included, has been a whinefest.

And I don't want to name names (JANE JANE JANE) but one of us in particular (JANE) has been especially challenging. This is her first year with three mornings in school, and although she LOVES school, she is also very very tired by the time it's over. And fractious. And loud.

Obviously life is a bit overwhelming and confusing for her right now- new sibling any minute, new house, new school routine. She's seeing a lot less of Wren than she's used to, and when she does see her, Wren is tired too from spending a long day in Kindergarten.

So in the interests of not waddling off and leaving her at the circulation desk the next time she throws 'Good Dog Carl' across the library, let's remember some charming things about Janey.

She calls ambulances "Alien Trucks' for some completely mysterious reason.
She still calls clouds "Clowns" and talks worriedly about "Thunderclowns" when it looks rainy.
She LOVES her twinkle toes, and she LOVES her monkey boots. She really just loves shoes in general, although she will not keep them on her damn feet when we're out and about.
She is really afraid of 'piders' and anything that might potentially be a 'pider.' She's always on the lookout for them, and the face she makes when she tells you about a spider sighting is indescribably hilarious.
She is also still not a fan of heights. At all. And she's stubborn, of course, so no one can convince her to try something out once she's decided she won't like it. I respect that, and I'm also pretty glad that my little daredevil at least has ONE thing she won't do.

She is the most openly affectionate kid I've ever known. She regularly hugs strangers, usually taking them off guard by grabbing them around their legs and kissing them. When people she loves leave our house, we have to peel her off of them, while they dash for the door.
Out of nowhere she will grab your arm or hand and hug as tight as she can, and kiss whatever she can reach. She just loves so INTENSELY.
She does everything intensely, including talking, eating, singing, helping in the kitchen, and of course potty training.
Every single time she goes to the bathroom, she YELLS about the outcome. I'm sure our housemate appreciates the updates.
She eats raw dough of any kind whenever she can get it. She would rather eat bread dough off the counter than eat pizza later that night.
Although she will still eat the hell out of that pizza. Pizzas, like most other foods, are strictly 'top down' consumption for Jane. She starts at the top and works her way down, so with a pizza she eats cheese and toppings first, then she smears the sauce on her face, then she eats the crust.
It's sort of a cupcake approach to life.

She is a LOT of person for a little body sometimes. And she's a lot of three year old for 8 months pregnant me. This next month is going to be a challenging one, no matter what, but I know Jane will bring us so much joy (in addition to the crazy) and I am so grateful for it. And at least I can look forward to a nice vacation at the hospital in another few weeks.