Posts Tagged: Family

Aug 13

Fiesta 2013

Santa Barbara’s Annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta is winding down and we are in recovery mode after many very full and busy days. The good camera didn’t make it out to every single event but here are some pictures of a little bit of what we were up to this past week. Adam’s mom and stepdad made it down to visit this week, adding to the fun. Both girls loved having their grandma and grandpa around to play with, eat with, and parade-watch with. Good food, good friends and family, and a good time had by all. It felt especially memorable to be introducing Lily to all the pleasures of the week (last year she was only a few days old and neither she nor I made it to any of the fun). Verdict? ¡¡¡VIVA LA FIESTA!!!

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Feb 13

Valentines….it’s all about the love

I spent my free time (very, very limited, Baby Girl has been boycotting long naps) these last three days working on making a very complicated, time intensive, amazing chocolate cake. Goal: valentine’s day dessert. Adam and I don’t go out for Valentine’s (too busy and crowded at restaurants, yuck); our tradition, instead, is for him to cook a special dinner and for me to bake a special dessert. So, I baked and baked and made special chocolate cake and chocolate cream and glaze and today, this afternoon, I was planning on putting it all together, assembling it into one piece. It was going to be amazing. It was going to knock Adam’s socks off. I put Lily down for her afternoon nap, started the glaze bubbling on the stovetop (it’s time sensitive so I wanted to have a good amount of time to do it and had fingers crossed that she would give me time) and then…..she woke up. After only 20 minutes. And I gave the glaze a quick stir and ran to her bedroom and patted her back and shushed her and ran back and she cried out again and I ran back and re-assessed and then…..I gave up. I put her in the Ergo and I kept making the cake but she was reaching and grabbing and I was holding the big heavy copper saucepan and no one got hurt but the cake? The cake is not perfect.

When Adam got home I cried, I stamped my foot. I was frustrated. I wanted to make one perfect and wonderful thing. I was angry. I was ticked that “the baby didn’t let me do it.” It’s part of that whole thing of having a baby, where some things have to go by the wayside. I miss having creative outlets, like baking and cooking and knitting and sewing and crafting. I have little bits of time, here and there, but those little bits of time are usually reserved for reading or taking a bath or sleeping or, I don’t know, sitting and staring into space because I don’t feel like I have the mental energy. Today, I wanted to create one purely wonderful, perfect thing.

My cake, it isn’t perfect.

But that’s ok.

Adam hugged me and told me that I already gave him TWO perfect things (any guesses?). I gulped. I remembered what was important. I hugged my baby and cried a little more and remembered that, someday, all too soon, my baby won’t be getting in the way of my baking. She won’t need me as much. Today, my cake is lumpy and lopsided but my baby is perfect.

I’m not a perfect baker. I’m not a perfect mother. But which one is it more important to put time into?

The cake, it isn’t perfect. But it is made with love (and chocolate) and the love is way more important than the perfection.

Counting my blessings today. I am surrounded by good and (nearly) perfect things. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jan 13


I feel bereft without Lucky here. I walk in the door and miss her greeting. I am constantly listening for the shake of her collar, looking for her in the corners of rooms, expecting to see her when I am cooking something delicious-smelling. I have a dog-shaped hole in my heart.

Is it too soon for another dog? I guess it isn’t. We started looking this weekend and I believe that we may have found our next family dog. Pictures and story to follow when we bring him home and get him settled in.

It just doesn’t feel right around here without a dog to love. This new guy isn’t her, but he will become a part of us the way that she always will be a part of us. It just takes time.

Missing my Lucky Girl, my first baby, so terribly.

Jan 13

Treading Water

Posting has been sparse here, I know. That’s partly because of all the holiday craziness, partly because of the illness that went around our family, and partly because I’m only just barely making it through my days. Postpartum depression? Simply exhaustion from round the clock (and I mean this literally, Baby Girl has been waking at all hours throughout the night for weeks now) parenting? Sleep deprivation is definitely making me grumpy, tired, and not feeling my best (UNDERSTATEMENT).

I try to do that thing that everyone tells you to do (sleep when baby sleeps) but during the day there are other things to do (like shower, eat food, go to the bathroom, take care of my other child) and in the evening I figure I should put in a little time with my spouse so that this marriage doesn’t fall apart. And, in the end, there is just so much fragmented sleep that in a way it doesn’t matter how many hours I’m getting when those hours are an hour here, an hour there. I crave solid stretches of sleep like I crave nothing else. It’s my holy grail.

I’m honestly just squeaking by. Some days are ok. Some days are not so great. A lot of days lately have been horrid. I’ve been irritable, I’ve been physically exhausted, I’ve been not the best spouse or parent or friend. I’ve been withdrawn, I’ve been grumpy, I’ve been weepy, I’ve been yelling at everyone.

I’m not sure that I’m doing any kind of good job at anything. I doubt myself. I doubt my methods. I fear that I am messing everything up and that my kids will hate me. I fear that someone/everyone will see through my facade. It is exceedingly important to me that I at least look good, even if I don’t feel good and yet…I shrug my shoulders and sigh at the sticky mess on the floor, for days on end.

I want someone to come along and rescue me. I want to run away. I want a spa day. I want my Mommy.

I sometimes resent everyone who needs me, my husband and kids included.

But, dammit. I also love them. I chose this life and I choose this life and I trudge forward. I try and find my joy. I don’t always find it at 2 am when I’m nodding off while holding a crying baby. I don’t always find it when my 6 year old is whining that she doesn’t want to pick up her room. But I’m on the lookout for the moments that matter: tiny hands slipped into mine, quiet snuffling sighs of contentment as I nurse my baby, a shared look of amusement or tender love over the heads of our offspring. I practice saying I’m sorry a lot. I practice forgiving others and myself. I acknowledge that this is hard. I acknowledge that there are women all over the world having a hard time, too. I imagine them, also, staring at the dirty floor and crying over the impossibility of doing it all.

I need some sleep.

Dec 12

It takes a village….or, at the very least, more than one damn person

Adam was away on business again this week (story of our lives) and I was doing the single parent thing again and I just….really, really needed my mom this week. I called her for help, I called her for conversation, I invited myself over just to have some company, I took her up on her offer to make us dinner. I just needed her. Thanks, Mom. I love you.

Oct 12


I was looking back over the pictures from Lilith’s birth this morning and I noticed something that I hadn’t really clued into before. In those first few pictures, the ones where I am holding my new baby and smiling in that ecstatic, joyous way, I see that we (both Adam and I) are bringing Anna into this first moment of new life in our family–we are reaching out to her, making eye contact. We are including our firstborn in the birth of our second born. This was one of my fears before Lily was born, that after the birth Anna would feel immediately slighted, that our joy over our “new baby” would make her feel unimportant and not a part of it. But instead of the triad of baby, Mama, Daddy, with Anna on the outside, I see in these pictures, instead, an inclusion. I see a family of four and I see my beloved reaching out to make sure that we are all a part of this most wondrous moment. What a special thing, that Anna could be there for the first moments of her sister’s life! I am full to bursting with love, then and now. How did I get so lucky?

Family of Four

Sep 12


My friend Adrea asked me how how I’ve been holding up lately. Answer: so much better than the Perfect Storm Week, the week which began with Adam leaving on his first post-Lily’s birth business trip, quickly snowballed into terrible colds for Lily and I, and ended with many tears and gnashing of teeth and feelings of being outnumbered and the impossibility of life.

This week? It’s been hard. But it has been better.

Now, I don’t say this lightly or blithely, but I think that some of the reason that I am able to hang in there like this, and only cry a little bit every once in a while, instead of every day, all day, is because of Lilith’s personality. What, you may ask, are you talking about, you crazy woman. Well, god or the universe or whatever knew that I just couldn’t handle a (dare I say “Another”???) high-needs child and Lily is just so….chill. So smiley and laid back and can I just whisper a hallelujah because this child actually sleeps. Sleeps, sleeps. For multiple hours in a row. I don’t want to compare my two kids–that can only lead to trouble–but suffice it to say that I didn’t experience this the first time around. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Anna girl, I hope that this blog has made that clear over the years, but my Bird has kicked my ass all over the place, so many times. She is wonderful and intelligent and funny and brilliant and sassy as hell and YES challenging. Lily is just different. And I love them both, I love them for who they are but THANK goodness I got a sleeping baby this time around. This could all change. I understand and acknowledge that, but, for the time being at least, I’m enjoying the hell out of this.

THis isn’t to say that I’m getting a full and entire night’s sleep every night. Oh no no no no. Just that I get a couple of good stretches of sleep. She is a baby, after all. Babies eat in the middle of the night. Sometimes they poop and they want to be changed. Sometimes they just want to make sure that someone, anyone but hopefully Mama, is still around to love them. I’m there for her in her needs. I have fragmented sleep and I feel tired during the day, but just a regular tired, not (usually) a oh-my-goodness-I’m-so-tired-I’m-hallucinating kind of a tired. Just your good old fashioned bone-weary Mama tired. The kind of tired that helps me fall asleep easily at night, not the kind of tired that makes me fall asleep when I’m driving.

Anna is sweet and helpful lately, when she isn’t busy threatening to run away from home. This happens multiple times a week, usually. I’ve taken to treating these threats in a concerned but not overly panicky way. As in, “oh, gee, honey, I’ll really miss you. I hope you change your mind and decide to stay here! This family just wouldn’t be the same without you.” Note: she has always, to this day, decided to stay home after all, after much deliberation and brief trips to the playhouse with backpacks filled with goodies. (Necessary goodies apparently include many pairs of pajamas and underpants but no socks or daytime clothing, Polly Pocket dolls, Maria the Lovey OF COURSE, a bottle or two of water, and snacks that almost always include an apple and some cookies or crackers. Oh, and blankets and pillows. Lots of blankets and pillows). My biggest complaint about Anna with Lily is that she almost smothers her little sister with kisses and hugs. Very very sweet.

Adam is here then gone then here then gone then here then gone (work trips). Story of our life, these last few years. It is what it is, and I’m learning to deal with it. I miss him when he’s gone. I am pretty sure he misses us, too. It feels like a luxury to have him around and we all compete for his attention when he is home.

We’re hanging in there.

I’m doing well enough that we are eating and sleeping and we have clean clothes and a (mostly) tidy home. There is a minimal amount of crying by anyone. We’re doing ok, I think.

Mostly I just love my girls. I can’t believe it when I fold Anna’s clothes and I hold up her looooong and skinny leggings. When did my girl get SO big? I sigh over the sweetness of holding a baby. It is so good. And when I have those moments, where I am snuggled in with both of them, Adam at my side? BLISS. Absolute bliss.

Aug 12

What makes it all worthwhile

Do you know what makes it all worthwhile? All the night wakenings, diaper changes, the crying, the temper tantrums, the constant mess and chaos?

It’s the little things. The peacefulness of my baby’s sleeping, the rise and fall of her little chest. Her soft coos and sighs when she nurses, her body perfectly cradled into my own.

It’s the big girl breaking into a big, wide grin as she exclaims, “You’re the best mommy EVER!” It’s the amazement I feel when I see how much she’s grown, and the anticipation I feel over how much more she will grow before she reaches adulthood. It’s watching her spell out words and get herself dressed and swim in circles around the pool.

It’s that moment when I’m bouncing a crying baby and my dear husband lays his hand on my shoulder, signaling his willingness to take over as he asks, “Have I ever told you what a wonderful Mama you are to our girls?”

It’s not perfect. There are times when things seem almost impossible, they are so hard. I can look around, though, and feel content and happy and right with the world because we are making it and because, most important of all, we are doing it all with love.

Jul 12

So this is what it feels like to be one day away from my due date

Happy Day Before My Due Date to Me!

Two nights of contractions that fizzle out when the sun rises have left me not so sure that this whole baby thing is such a good idea. I mean, the Baby will be pretty cool. It’s the whole getting-the-baby-out part that has me a little nervous. Although intermittent and with a good amount of rest between each contraction, I’m still reminded of what I had forgotten (gotta love the childbirth amnesia effect) directly after Anna was born, nearly 6 six years ago: this sh*t hurts.

I’m eager, anxious, and trying to remain calm. Yesterday evening I vacuumed the entire house and then mopped the kitchen and dining room, prompting Adam to exclaim, “Looks like you’re going to have the baby tonight!” (Note: this did not happen). Today I am changing the sheets on the bed. I’m flirting with the idea of cleaning the bathrooms but every time I double over in pain I think to myself, “self, maybe I should just rest,” so instead I am sitting in front of my computer pretending that “doing laundry” is active work, though the machine, truth be told, is actually the one doing the activity. I’m just listening in.

Maybe this Baby wants to share a birthday with his or her Daddy? Adam’s birthday is tomorrow. Tomorrow has a nice ring. Close enough that I can nearly touch it, but far enough away that I can rest for the moment.

I’m nervous. I think know I can do this, the birthing of a baby, because I’ve done it before and I will do it again, but it’s a daunting task. It’s hard work. It’s a game changer.

Anna has been a bit angry lately–she can’t verbalize why but I am pretty sure that it is Baby related. Her world is about to change, to fall apart and then be rebuilt. Alternating with this anger, though, is a sweet joy, an excited cheerfulness. “I can’t wait for the baby to be born!” she says.

We are ready (well, ready as we’ll ever be).

I’m trying to keep this mindset: relax, calm, open. Embrace and ride the waves. Focus on sweet baby toes and nose and chin and curled up baby body. We can’t wait to meet you, Baby.

Jul 12

36+ weeks pregnant

Adam claims that my morning sickness is getting better but I just think that I am getting smarter about what I attempt to eat. I am eating the blandest diet ever, but at least my weight is holding steady at this point. My usual foods: white french bread (NO whole wheat or whole grains or anything like that), white cheeses (Monterey Jack and I am having a love affair with those round Babybel cheeses that come wrapped in red wax–NOM NOM MUST EAT), glasses of MILK (?!??! haven’t done that since I was a kid), SOME fruits (cherries = ok; dried fruits = mostly ok; apples, raspberries and blueberries = from the DEVIL), baked russet potatoes, plain cornbread, Trader Joe’s plain tart frozen yogurt (but only specifically this brand), and homemade shortbread cookies (NO vanilla, just the plain ol’ recipe made with butter, sugar, salt, and flour). That’s pretty much it.

My sister had her beautiful baby girl, Marley, last week…..and her due date was only 10 days before mine so that has really given me a kick in the pants. I’m only about 3 weeks and a couple of days away from my due date and, if this baby comes a little early like Anna did, I’m only really a matter of days away from the Big Day. The day that Marley was born found me frantically ordering stuff from Amazon (crib, crib mattress, carseat, burp cloths, etc). Must. Nest. Now. !!!!

My 36th birthday is this Friday (I’ll be 37 weeks that day–full term!). I don’t feel down at all about getting older. I love it, actually. Bring it on! This is going to be a good month and a good year all ’round. I am starting to get more and more anxious (in a good way….mostly….) about meeting Baby–who is he or she? Boy or girl? What will his/her personality be like? Who will s/he look like? I’m having lots of dreams. My favorite recurring dream is about a peaceful and beautiful birth. I don’t know if this is wishful thinking or a manifestation of all the meditation I’ve been doing throughout this pregnancy but I love it and I don’t believe it can hurt to put positive energy into envisioning things in that way. The moment of Anna’s birth is seared into my mind as the very most powerful single moment in my life and I cannot wait for the absolute wonder of the moment that a baby (a BABY! A PERSON!) comes out of my body and into the world. It’s a miracle.

I’m obsessing a little bit about minor things (window coverings for all the bedrooms as we took them down after painting and couldn’t bear to put them back up–they were all so old and decrepit!–and now we need new ones and AAAAHHHH!!!) but, on the whole, I know that things will fall into place. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat (as repulsive as I find eating at the moment I don’t believe that Baby or I am going to be permanently nutritionally deprived in the long run), love in our hearts, and all manner of unnecessary luxuries as well. I feel especially lucky to have a swimming pool right outside my bedroom. We’ve been swimming Every Single Day and I love it. Nothing like floating weightless when one is carrying a big ol’ baby belly around.

As much as the food thing sucks, I’m also lucky enough to have been able to walk 3-5 miles a day for the entirety of this pregnancy. I may not be able to make it to prenatal yoga class (the class timing sucks for us–it’s right at dinner time) but at least I can get out there and breathe the fresh air and move my legs. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Anna’s behavior has been extra super challenging this last week or more. I’m worried that at least some of it has to do with the ways in which our family is getting ready to change. I’v been trying to give her extra attention, but this is wearying as she is not in school (and doesn’t have camp until next week) and I am really with her 24/7. Not much downtime for me. I love the little lady but am hoping that these temper tantrums cease, and soon. We’re trying to ensure that she gets the sleep she needs but our little night owl is often up late (regardless of what time we put her in bed) and up with the birds (hence my haste to put up window coverings in HER room as I think that the early sunrise isn’t helping this). But, as challenging as she has been, she also has had many, many moments lately of being purely delightful, of being helpful and smart and amazing. She swims like a fish (can dive ALL the way down to the bottom of our 9 foot deep swimming pool!), can sound out and spell many words, draws pictures and writes books and puts on plays and dresses up like a princess and tells me many times a day how much she loves me.

July. Here we are!