July 30, 2014



This week he: went to a space themed birthday party with daddy and became obsessed with rockets and planets / ate lots of cucumbers and carrots and tomatoes, straight from the garden / got the cutest mini ice cream cone from Lizzie's in Harvard Square, he was thrilled (yes, we need an ice cream intervention!) / picked out a present for his sister's birthday all by himself / peed pretty much any and everywhere. we are really making big progress in that area... sigh.

This week she: cut her third tooth (top middle) with the fourth close behind / started to use sign language to say 'all done' when she wants out of her high chair / learned to stand with so much confidence that walking feels really close / started trying to put on her own shoes (she is so going to lap her brother on independence) / ate a mountain of the spiciest bread sticks and was totally unfazed, we were just amazed. hope the lack of pickiness carries through to toddlerhood. 

*These pictures are from my iPhone (and are also more like a week and a half ago, I cheated!). I continue to debate the trusty iPhone as camera, and really prefer not to use it for this series. On the other hand,  it is crazy hard to lug around a camera when you are also carrying beach gear, snacks, and a baby... and I loved this evening at Walden Pond so much that I decided to include these :)

Take-Out In the Park

We may never go out to eat again. Since baby Roo was born, restaurants have become our guilty pleasure. I used to be so good about cooking every single thing at home and staying in budget, and then the polar vortex hit and I had a baby and toddler to entertain in sub-zero temperatures. Getting out of the house for a meal once or twice a week just felt like a splurge worth making. Then that splurge became a habit.

The truth is, having good restaurants within reach is one of the big perks of living in a city. It's really fun to meet daddy in town on a Friday for dinner, and not having to make a meal (or clean up after it!) is big. For a while I felt guilty, yet justified with our habitual dining out. 

But things are starting to go south, and the last few restaurant experiences have been epically bad. Baby Roo is cutting her top two teeth, and they seem to interfere most dramatically with her eating and temperament when we are out in public. She is such a dream baby that she usually just sits there, munching scraps of our food for the entire meal... but now we are getting treated to screaming, back-bend fits that draw nasty looks from fellow diners and leave me in a flop sweat, desperately trying everything (including a few topless attempts) to calm her.

Little Smith senses our weakness, and seizes the opportunity to free himself from the confines of his chair and crawl under the table or press his face against the windows... all behaviors we would never tolerate if we weren't so busy trying to quiet a baby, scarf down our food, and chug our beers.

By the time our meal is over, I can barely remember what I ate and feel total remorse at having wasted fifty precious bucks... until amnesia sets in and I want to do it all over again a few days later. 

And then I had a brilliant idea, isn't there a way to enjoy all of the perks of eating out without the hassle and embarrassment of a crowded restaurant? And wouldn't you know there is, it's this miracle called take out! Of course that still means wiping down tables, floors and high chairs, and washing dishes, unless of course you bring that take-out to a beautiful park with a view of the Boston skyline and plenty of space for the kids to 'get lost' (or pummel daddy) while you finish your meal in peace. Victory!

Fun little footnote, James proposed to me in this very park, July 13, 2007. He was so nervous that he missed his target sunset and kept doing cartwheels (a skill he has never displayed before or after that day). All his tumbling knocked the ring loose, and when he finally cartwheeled into a kneeling pose and whipped open the box, the ring flew out into the dimly lit grass... we had to search for it on our hands and knees before I could actually say yes ;)

*take-out from Zaftigs enjoyed at Corey Hill Park, if you are local give both a try!

July 28, 2014

Prepping For One

At the end of this week, our baby will turn one. She has been busy in the last few days, steadying her standing skills, cutting new teeth, learning  the signs for 'all done' and 'more'. It's almost as though she senses a big milestone is on the horizon and is rushing to check off as many boxes as she can, just under the wire. 

Little Smith could not be more excited. We took him to the toy store and let him pick out any gift he wanted for his sister. He chose a doll (the kind with a rubber head and fluttering eyes that I find slightly unnerving, but I actually think she'll be fascinated by those moving lids). We have been practicing singing 'happy birthday to you' and thinking a lot about cakes and treats. A honey cake seems to be the winner, since we held off giving Roo honey in her first year and are excited to share all that sweetness with her.  

We're celebrating by heading up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire for a camping trip (so that adds an extra challenge to the cake logistics, but fingers crossed, I think I've got it covered!). It's one of our favorite areas in New England and seems like the perfect place for our baby to finish up her first trip around the sun. 

My own emotions are nearly as raw as they were one year ago. Maybe there is an extra surge of hormones, stored away and ready for release at baby's first birthday. Marking this milestone for our little girl is exciting. I'm trying to embrace that joy and not let myself get too consumed with the nostalgia of missing her new baby smell (it always seems to vanish when you are too tired to notice, doesn't it?!). She has  grown and changed so much this year, and I am incredibly proud of the sweet and silly little character she is becoming. I can't wait to watch her gobble up some cake, tear open a couple presents, and then give her some birthday snuggles by the campfire.

July 22, 2014

29/52 and After Dinner Treats


This week he: wanted to stay by my side as much as he could, 'because I like you, mama'... how can I argue with that!? / rode his scooter a lot and played at every park in town / built an amazing tower city with his blocks (that somehow we didn't photograph) / loved going deep in the pond with daddy, and getting tossed up high / told me he would take care of his sister's dolly. he's never shown any interest in dolls and I thought his nurturing side was coming out, until he finally added... 'I like her because her head smells delicious!'. and actually, it does ;)

This week she:  cried whenever daddy left, she is already such a daddy's girl / have I mentioned that she can stand without pulling up on anything? yeah, that's her thing, again and again with a beaming smile of pride / tried to crawl into the fireplace, got stuck in a million places, and generally looked for mischief / had daddy and I laughing as she played with her brother's train, complete with engine noises (I guess if you hear something all day every day, you are bound to imitate it!) / woke up very early. often.


Our days have been full with all the basics of summer; swimming, lots of ice cream, staying out too late, waking up too early, trying to squeeze in all the usual chores. I feel like so little is getting accomplished, but also like I'm running around constantly. Maybe that is just every mother, but it seems especially true as of late. 

As baby Roo is quickly approaching her first birthday, my mind is busy. I often find myself quiet and lost in thought. Some of it is about her, our family, and the speed of these years... but it's also more than that, and maybe one of these days I will find myself well enough rested and with the extra time to sift through the threads and write them down.

I keep promising myself to be more consistent with blogging, I string together a few days, and then fall back off the rhythm. I started this blog when Little Smith turned one, and it does feel as though that same creative energy that prompted me to create this space is swelling again. At least in my experience, the first year of a baby's life is really a blur. I thought that all of that would be different the second time around, but I have found myself equally disoriented and taken by surprise with our little girl. I love the baby phase, truly, and in some ways it is easier than toddler tantrums, but it is also all-consuming... and I am still consumed at the moment. I'm drained that my baby can't nap on her own, and yet so aware that I am going to desperately miss holding her in my arms and watching her sleep. As I sigh and wish to be needed less, I already miss being needed. Transitions are complicated, and I imagine never more so than in motherhood. 

So that's where we are; eating popsicles and dangling our toes in the water and completely given over to the care-free days of summer, well with the exception of my over-active brain that always seems to follow us around, uninvited. I'm grateful Roo's birthday is in August, imagine how wild my thoughts would be running with a good coating of snow and 5PM sunsets!

July 15, 2014

More Thoughts On Cloth

Since I've proven to be hopeless at potty training, I thought I would give a little update on how diapering is working in our house these days (I'm an ace at diapering, a dubious honor, for sure!). Last year I wrote a about our experience with cloth diapers. Long story short, it's a bit of of hard work. Still, I am compelled to try to use cloth as much as possible. It saves us money, it's significantly better for the environment (at least in my understanding of the numbers... and since Little Smith will be attending college in diapers, it seems only fair to do our part), and I prefer putting that soft fuzzy fabric against my baby's tushy over the disposable stuff. There's also just something nice about being self-sustaining, like making a meal with home-grown veggies... sure the market would have been just a nutritious, but it's somehow less satisfying than keeping it all in-house. 

When baby Roo was first born, we set aside our cloth for a few months. I really applaud people who go with cloth for a newborn, but personally there was no way I could have added a single extra laundry cycle to my sleep deprived plate. When she turned 5 months, we finally felt up to the extra challenge. I decided to give up on Little Smith and just switch him to disposable training pants (cloth on big kids who should really be out of diapers is just... unpleasant) and focus our efforts on the baby. 

We had used a combination of FuzziBunz and BumGenius brands the first time around, but the velcro on our BumGenius was all worn out and there was no way I was going to sew on replacements. I tossed the worn ones and ordered a package of 12 additional Fuzzi's 'One Size', figuring keeping everything consistent would help simplify the 'stuffing' process.

Of course nothing is ever that easy, and in the few years since we purchased our first diapers, FuzziBunz completely redesigned the 'One Size'. I won't go into too much detail, since there's no shortage of web reviews devoted to the subject with far more expertise than I can provide, but it's pretty obvious that the old version (on the left in the photo above) is a less pastel color and a trimmer shape. The trimness made 'stuffing' (working the absorbent part into the shell after each wash) more difficult, but it also made them fit much better under clothes. My kids are pretty lean, even Roo's rolls are deceptively slim, and the new style gives a very poofy booty. We make it work, but I did prefer the old style. Isn't that always the way?

^^^same 'one-size' diaper on Little Smith (top) at 2 years and baby Roo (bottom) at 11 months^^^

I do think this style of diaper, with the size adjustments on the inside, is so much nicer than seeing all the snaps on the front. I'm amazed by how those elastics can transform the same piece of fabric to fit a tiny baby all the way up to a toddler. Cloth diapers are a pricey purchase up front, but I definitely feel like we have gotten our money's worth. 

With all our good intentions, we still do use disposable diapers about 25 percent of the time. I always go with disposables for travel or long days out of the house when I know there will be lots of changes. There's also those times when the laundry just hasn't made it through, or when James is home alone (he is a sucker for convenience, that daddy!). I guess we are 'hybrid diaperers' (some cloth, some disposables), and I'm really fine with that.

I'm hoping that baby Roo doesn't share Little Smith's fondness for diapers and actually graduates from them in a couple years, but it is kind of fun seeing our cloth rainbow drying on the line. If you have to wipe tushies a dozen times a day, you might as well try and make it pretty, right?!

July 14, 2014

Almost Garden

Our garden is right on the edge of exploding. We are snatching only enough cucumbers for snacking, and patiently planning a big pickling day in the near future. We are thinning the carrots and waiting on them to grow (Little Smith just loves those tiny thinnings!). We are popping cherry tomatoes and watching the larger varieties start to blush. There's so much that should be done, the window of time is limited with baby people in tow, but our little plot is enjoyed, as full of weeds and pests as it may be. 

I love this time of anticipation, waiting for it all to take off. In a few weeks there will be giant heads on sunflowers and heavy red tomatoes, a baby celebrating her first birthday, and possibly taking some fledgling steps. I'm so looking forward to what is ahead, and truly relishing in the almost

^^^upon hearing the baby yelp, 'are you being nice to your sister?'... (long pause, then a barely audible) 'yesss' ^^^

July 13, 2014



This week he: discovered his evil villain voice (from where??)... lots of defiant talk, eg. 'I not doing dat, you silly girl'... say whaat?! / convinced me to agree to a spur of the moment trip to Walden Pond, and 'swam' in sagging shorts before polishing off an enormous ice cream cone / spotted his first monarch butterfly of the season, they are his favorite / convinced all of us to agree to a spur of the moment trip to the zoo, where he also launched down the tallest slide I've ever seen. he's very persuasive that kid!

This week she: drank pond water, bath water, spray park water... she'd lap up every puddle if we let her / stood up once without pulling up on anything, that's still her main project these days / loved the giraffes at the zoo, and desperately wanted to grab them / spent lots of time giggling with her cute scrunched up nose /  took many naps with daddy (still no napping on her own though, not that we've really tried).