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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: LOOKING BACK (through the eyes of K)

This morning as I made a video of K singing happy birthday to her god father, I realized that we made a similar movie last year. It was so much fun looking back on the exact same activity one year ago. K has grown so much. Not only is she taller, but she her vocabulary and enunciation has expanded by leaps and bounds. I am so looking forward to making the happy birthday video again next year and looking back on this year's and last's videos. Having this little time capsule got me thinking... And I decided that I want to track a list of K's (and some year C's) favorites on an annual basis. I look forward to seeing how she changes, grows, and learns throughout the years.

At the end of 2011, here is a list of K's favorite things (in her own words):

Book: Share and Be Kind

Game: cards (specifically the CareBear card game at my mom's house)

Song: Hark the Herald Angel Sing (video performance forthcoming - love hearing a three year old sing "God and sinners reconciled")

Animal: Elephant

Food: "pasta. Actually pizza."

Color: green and orange

Outdoor activity: "go park"

Indoor activity: decorate trees and playing

iPhone app: doodle buddy

Favorite Christmas gift: crown (from my mom bought at the dollar store - pictures forthcoming)


Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: Looking Back

I just spent more than an hour trying to get my three year old to sleep. And by getting her to sleep, I am not including time spent brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, or reading books. I'm talking about her lying in bed and me begging her to be still/stay in bed/fall asleep. After what seemed like an endless motherly task, I am craving some me time. And so I am sitting here with my computer - in the room I am sharing with my infant son - reflecting on the past year. My friend, Jill, assembled/created the following list of questions to reflect on the past year.


What was one goal you accomplished in 2011?
I completed my PhD. And got a job where I get to put my degree to good use.


What is your favorite memory of 2011?
Hearing C cry and holding him for the first time.

What is your least favorite memory of 2011?
Saying good-bye to the family we shared a nanny with for two and a half years. Our nanny-share began in January 2009, when K was just three months old. Her buddy, A, was only five months old. Our families met through a web site for parents and we quickly became good friends. I came to love spending time with A's mom in the evenings. It was nice to have someone to talk with about parenting, work, and family. Our share ended when both the kids started preschool in the fall and our families' needs changed. I have so missed having the other family in our lives on a near-daily basis. I also know that K misses her buddy. And that makes me sad, too. I cried when the share ended in August.

What was the best trip you took in 2011?
Our long weekend trip to Colorado. We had a wonderful time there with friends - enjoying good food, good wine (I only had a sip), and warm weather. D was able to snowboard and I enjoyed a truly restful weekend.

What was your favorite purchase in 2011?
My iPhone. Hands.down.

What was the best book you read in 2011?
The best book I completed was Run Like a Mother. However, The Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Family is the best book I'm reading during 2011. I will not finish it before the year is over. So technically the running book wins for best book *read* during the year.

What was the best movie you saw in 2011?
I did not watch a single movie this year. I did, however, watch all of Mad Men and enjoyed every single minute. Looking forward to the new season...

What changed about you in 2011?
From a practical stand-point, my title changed. I'm still getting used to introducing myself as Dr. Physically, my hair got greyer and my stomach muscles got weaker. Nearly three months after having C, I'm just about back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but nothing is as it was. My core is shot and my incision is still sore and puffy (they say I'm healing well). Socially, I made some new friends and reconnected with some old ones. Emotionally, I was all over the place - I blame the hormones - but I realize that I tend to react (read: OVER-react) to most situations where there is tension or big decisions to be made. This behavior is not helpful or productive. (Recognizing this behavior is the change - I've done it all of my life :)

What made you cry in 2011?
*What didn't make me cry?*
-28 hours of labor.
-D and I had a huge fight before he left for a guys weekend over Labor Day. I cried most of the weekend.
-K's behavior and unwillingness to listen (especially at naptime) caused me to cry on more than one occasion.

What made you scream in 2011?
My dissertation. My adviser, my committee, the graduate school rules, requirements, and regulations - they nearly caused me to have a mental breakdown (or two).

What made you proud in 2011?
I was inducted into my high school athletic hall of fame.

What new skills did you learn in 2011?
Although I didn't learn it this year, I do believe I mastered the use of SAS (a statistical software package). While completing my dissertation, I put all my classroom knowledge to work and really SAS-ed the heck out of my data. I'm extremely proud of the pages and pages of code I wrote between January and September of this year.

Best meal of 2011?
For me, this is really about the best mealS of 2011... we have a family tradition of making pizza every Friday night. These were the best meals of the year. I love that we make dinner together as a family and eat together as a family (nearly) every Friday night. The food is fantastic (especially D's mushroom lovers pizza), but the time we spend together is precious. I love that K looks forward to and talks with anticipation about pizza night throughout the week.

Best drink of 2011?
This is a toss-up between the 4 oz of apple juice my night nurse slipped me in the middle of the night 10 hours before C was born and a burnt sugar old fashioned. I received the juice when I was starving, feverish, and desperate for anything to eat or drink hours before C was born. The little bit of fruit juice could not have tasted better. My old fashioned was actually D's... the burnt sugar old fashioned is actually his favorite drink at our favorite local wine bar; it is quickly becoming my favorite drink, too. I had sips of his on two occasions - once at his birthday dinner in January (didn't know I was pregnant) and again after C's birth when we went out on a date.

Favorite photo of 2011? (post it)



What was your source of comfort in 2011?
Talking to my mom on my drives home from Baltimore. She never failed to pick up the phone at 4:35pm Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

What was your verse of 2011 and why?
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." ~ I Thessalonians 5:16-18. Why? I needed the constant reminder (and still do) to rejoice, pray, and give thanks no matter what. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

HIGHS and LOWS

Highs:

-- Two great days of running (a 5 miler with D on Monday and another solo yesterday evening).

-- Jokes... on our Monday run, I said to D, "Look deer" (as there were a family of deer just a few miles off our running path). His response, "I'm looking at you, dear." Sounds stupid, but it was SO funny at the time.

-- K made a necklace out of pipe-cleaners with my mom. She walked into the living room wearing said necklace and proclaimed, "Look! I'm a fancy girl." Where does she get this stuff?

-- Two full nights of uninterrupted sleep (10-6ish).

Lows:

-- K wetting the bed last night and no clean sheets available. Nor were there clean pajamas. She ended up sleeping in a shirt on a stack of blankets in her bed (after much crying and protesting that sleeping without pants was wrong). Laundry is currently being washed.

-- A sore throat. I have been denying for days I may be sick, but I don't think I can blame my sore throat on dry air any longer. It hurts to swallow coffee. I'm going to tough it out one more day. Then I am going to hit up an urgent care clinic (since I don't have a PCP).

-- Our car. Many of your know I have owned my car since college graduation. She is nearly 12 years old and has 106,000 miles on her. Unfortunately, her remaining time here on earth is limited. In order to get her to pass inspection, we had to replace the rear right break and some major engine piece ($700). We are praying she will live through the winter and into the spring/early summer time. D and I are planning to begin new car shopping this morning. Any suggestions for a fuel-efficient family car?

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Holiday week plans:

Today: car shopping. We're looking to test drive several cars we've been thinking about and learn more about prices, options, and financing. Also hoping to get another run in - three consecutive days - and a trip to Target and the Post Office.

Friday: family friends are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. We are all going to share in the celebration!

Saturday and Sunday: observing our family Christmas Eve and Christmas traditions (more on this to come as I want to create a list of things we do from year to year to preserve and document our family traditions - old and new).

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Also of note: today is my birthday or Candy-cane Celebration as Jill likes to call it. My 33rd year of life was likely the most noteworthy, busy, exciting, and truly GREAT years of my life. I'm working on a highlights post. More to come...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2 MONTHS

Baby C --

This month has been full of smiles - literally. You started smiling about two weeks ago and you haven't stopped. I love it! You are also making lots of noises - often quite loudly, which I attribute to the fact that your sister is constantly talking and you just want in on the action or some attention for yourself.

You remain a calm go-with-the-flow baby. You continue to eat like a champ and your sleep schedule (about 9pm to 5 or 6am) is truly a blessing from God. Most nights you sleep better than your sister - you go down easier and stay asleep longer. I cannot thank you enough for this. Between K's school schedule and my needing to be back to work, I need some sleep and you are giving me the greatest gift (a full night of sleep) imaginable. I know that your super-power of sleeping so well will probably cause some problems when you are a teenager and you don't want to get out of bed for school in the morning, but I don't care. I love, love, love that you are sleeping so soundly at such a young age (shoot... your sister didn't sleep through the night until she was two YEARS old).

Aside from sleeping you are enjoying your evening baths and your little playmat. You also seem to enjoy time outdoors - both in the stroller and Bjorn.

Today you had your two month well check. Your stats:

Weight: 13 lbs 15 oz (95th percentile)

Height: 22 7/8 inches (50th percentile).

You are healthy and growing. And just cute as a button.

I'm still adjusting to having a boy baby. You pee on my quite often - usually I am showered. And I have been pooped on several times in the past 48 hours. But I don't mind. I am grateful that you are eating and that all your systems are functioning. It just means I have more laundry to do.

You are still sleeping in your bassinet in our room, but are quickly outgrowing it. After the holidays, I promise we will get you your crib and give you some space for sleeping. Your father and I are still trying to decide if we should move you into your shared room with K right away. Our other option is to set up your crib in the office. We don't want you and K to wake each other up during the night and I don't want her bad sleeping habits/powers to rub off on you. But we do want you to share a room and K is so looking forward to your company. Decisions will be made, and I promise you will have a crib in early 2012.

This month I returned to work for several events. You stayed home with our nanny during most of these times and with your dad during the others. I head back to work in January, which makes me a sad. I have and continue to enjoy spending time with you. But I love my job and I'm a better mama if I can get out of the house for a little bit and have some adult conversations. Not to mention, I just spent 4+ years of my life working on my PhD and I'd like to put it to good use. The upcoming spring semester is 15 weeks long (plus one week of spring break). After that I have the summer "off" and I promise we'll spend plenty of time together at the pool, spray park, and outside. I cannot wait...

It has been a wonderful two months with you in our lives. Thanks for being so chill and for bringing us such joy. I look forward to celebrating your first Christmas together in the coming weeks.


Love,
Mama

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FEELING MY RUN

Throughout my swimming career - which was 13 years long - I had several really great coaches. Each was great in his/her own way... my age group coach created some of the most unique and challenging workouts I have ever completed. He also knew a lot about stroke technique and really helped me improve my strokes, turns and starts. My two high school coaches were a complementary pair --- one was the greatest motivator and the other really challenged me with difficult sets each and every day. My college coach pushed me further than I thought possible and made me a stronger and faster swimmer.

Although each of my coaches were vastly different in terms of strengths, weaknesses, personality, and character, one commonality they shared was the belief that you cannot reach a goal time unless you know what it feels like to swim that fast. For instance, when I was trying to break the 1 minute mark in the 100 butterfly, I knew that I needed to swim the second 50 yards of the race in 30 seconds (give or take a tenth or two). So my coach would have me do 50 butterfly repeats (with tons of rest) where I had to hit 30 seconds on each one. Or he'd have me do 25s where I had to reach my goal time of 15 seconds on each.

I had to feel it.

I had to know what my goal pace felt like.

I had to be confident while swimming at that pace.

And, therefore, I had to swim at that pace again and again and again and AGAIN.

This belief/training technique is one of the many lessons from swimming I have applied to running. Although I do not need to run every long training run right at my goal pace, I do need to run intervals or shorter distances right at race pace to learn what it feels like and to be confident running at that speed.

My long-term, reach goal for the coming years is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The qualifying time for my sex and age group is 3:40. 

A 3:40 marathon basically boils down to running my qualifying race at an 8:23 per mile pace.

That is really stinking fast.

I don't know if my body can sustain that type of pace, but I want to give it a try. I want to give it my all. I want to run a marathon aiming for the stars and see how close I can come to grabbing one.

Photo taken while running at an 8:34 min/mile pace at 6:40am.

With that in mind, I have felt the need to feel my goal race pace. Therefore, I have been doing some interval training on Marta (my new treadmill). I have been running quarter and half miles at an 8:34 min/mile pace (yes, a little slower than an 8:23, but I'm just getting back into the swing of things). My plan is to build up to running a mile at this pace and then two and three, four, five, ... And then I can start doing multiple intervals at this pace and mid-distance runs at this pace. All the while building up to a full marathon at a hard-to-believe (for me) 8:23 pace.

I believe that training my body to feel, know, and be confident at this pace will take a lot of time and effort. But I do believe that I am capable of running at this speed and qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

Here's to many more morning runs with Marta where my pace per mile is under 8:30 per mile...

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'M EXCITED!

Source

I love this time of year - Advent, celebrations, cookie making, time with friends and family, a new year. The past month has also been full of exciting times and events unrelated to the coming holiday. Here's a list of things (in no particular order) that have me excited...

1. Baby C's sleep schedule. I believe that God knew I could not handle another bad sleeper. Baby C is one heck of a sleeper. I put him down at night between 8:30-9 and don't hear from him until 4am. There have even been a few nights where he has slept until 5 or 6am. I am a fully functioning adult right now thanks to his sleeping powers (which he got from his father, whose super power is the ability to sleep any time any where as long as he is horizontal).

2. K's enjoyment of the holiday season. This evening my father asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she said, "a tree and twinkle lights." Done and done. She has so enjoyed coloring on the back of everyone's Christmas card and making and giving away cookies. She also enjoys sampling the goods! I am looking forward to seeing her face during the Christmas Eve candlelight service and on Christmas morning.

3. Going back to work. As hard as it is to balance mom duties and a full-time job, I am so grateful to have a job. Not to mention one that I love. I have been back to work for four days now. All is going well and I am quickly learning the ropes. I really like the people I work with and the university as a whole. I am really looking forward to the start of the spring semester.

4. A clean bill of health. I went for my post-partum check-up last week and was given a clean bill of health. Although I had started running prior to my doctor's visit, I can now go ahead with all activities.

5. Time with friends and family over the holidays.

6. Marta - my new-to-me treadmill. I made the decision months ago to not invest in a double jogging stroller (more on this to come). Instead I started researching gym memberships and/or buying a treadmill on Craigslist. Lucky for me my parents were willing to part with their old treadmill. So now I have my own little running machine in the basement. She's named after the second to youngest Von Trapp child (do you know what movie/soundtrack has been running non-stop in our house?). I'm still trying to determine if I'm a morning runner or nighttime runner, but I am enjoying having a treadmill in the house that I can use at any time.

7. Baby C's first smiles. The kid just melts my heart. I love seeing his double-chinned smiling face!

8. My iPhone. I can scarcely remember a time when I didn't have text messaging, face-time, a camera phone, email access, GPS, and access to the real-time temperature at my finger tips. Oh, iPhone, I you.

9. The Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Family. D has been encouraging me to read this book for years now. I finally started it and now I cannot put it down. I'm shocked by how much I am enjoying and learning from this book. It is revolutionizing my thinking and actions. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

10. What is to come in 2012... we have plans to run several half and one full marathon. We are also planning some fun family vacations - one very special one may include a day or two at the Magic Kingdom on the west coast! D has a two month work sabbatical beginning in March/April and I will be off during the months of July and August. I'm also looking forward to watching C learn to sit up, crawl and eventually walk (though if he is anything like K he may not be walking by the end of next year).

What are you all excited about at this time of year? What has you ready to fist pump?

Monday, November 28, 2011

TIS THE SEASON


This morning - cyber Monday - on the way to preschool we passed this. A house littered with Santa Clauses. It was/is obnoxious.

The scene brought a smile to K's face.

The whole situation - the obnoxious number of Santas and K's amusement - really got me thinking. With the craziness of Christmastime - Black Friday, Cyber Monday, sales, shopping, gifts, and the constant questioning "what do you want Santa to bring you?" - how do I keep the true spirit of the season? And more importantly how do I teach my three year old to embrace the true spirit of the season? Especially with scenes like this along our daily drive to school?

I don't know that I have the answer to this question, but I do have some ideas...

First, I am spending some time studying the true meaning of Christmas. I've signed up to do a 25 day Advent devotional. I figure keeping my focus on the true meaning of the season is a good place to start. Hopefully I can impart some of my learning on K - sharing stories and insights with her.

We also plan to act out the Christmas story with our Little People Nativity Set over and over and over again!

Second, I am trying to take the focus off of getting gifts by giving them... K and I made a list of people we'd like to get gifts for and people we'd like to take Christmas cookies to. We are going to spend our time during the coming weeks thinking about others, making cookies for them, and making homemade gifts.

We are also going to have a cookie decorating party at our house. This will be a time celebrate the gift of friendship.

Finally, we plan to stay as far away from Target and other department stores - avoiding temptation.

Any other suggestions to help keep Christ the focus of Christmas?


Saturday, November 26, 2011

CONQUERED

According to the online dictionary, conquered is defined as:

1. Overcome and take control of (a place or people) by use of military force
2. Successfully overcome (a problem or weakness).

Today I conquered the BIG hill on my regular running route. This is a huge success for me. This hill is a killer - always has been - and making it to the top without walking on my fifth run since having a baby is a big deal for me. Making to the top of the hill means I am back. Sure, I am not back in marathon running form; or half marathon form for that matter. But I am back - I am back to running; I am back to being physically fit; I am back in the game.


That hill is mine; as is a couple of sub-2 hour half marathons this spring, a sub-4 hour full in the fall, and a lot of great runs, workouts, and exercising.

When I reached the top of the hill, this is what my Garmin showed





I was so excited!

That is nearly three miles of non-stop running (no walking!!) -- including running the hill -- at a 9:44/mile pace. Yes, I have a l-o-n-g way to go before my first race in March and my attempt to BQ in the fall of 2013. But these are some great first, second, third, and so on steps.

THANKSGIVING IN DC

We spent our Thanksgiving holiday enjoying some quality time with my parents here in DC. Our day of thanks began with some yummy pumpkin cinnamon rolls. We decided to make them festive with ORANGE icing (leftovers yesterday morning had green icing). K enjoyed mixing the icing and drizzling it onto the rolls.

After we indulged in our tasty breakfast, we loaded up into two cars and went down to the Mall to enjoy the day. Thanksgiving Day was unseasonably warm. We parked in East Potomac Park and walked all around the Mall. Our first stop was at the new MLK Jr. Memorial. It has been open for months, but we haven't had the time to visit it. It was much bigger than I expected it to be. It was a lot to take in - more than 12 quotes are engraved on the monument - and I am glad we were able to see it. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures while we were there.

Next we moved on to see the WWII Memorial. With the weather so warm, all of the fountains were on at the memorial. We had a wonderful time there - enjoying the water, people-watching, and taking in the other sights of DC -- Mr. Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson can all be seen from the WWII spot.

We then walked back to our car passing the FDR Memorial and some of East Potomac Park along the way. Baby C slept during the entire outing and K fell asleep in the Ergo on the walk back to the car.

After our little outing, we came home. The kids napped while the rest of us worked in the kitchen. We had a traditional non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner of gingered shrimp with eggplant, cornmeal stuffing, green beans with almonds, roasted eggplant, roast sweet potatoes with red onions, arugula salad with pumpkin dressing, and turkey (for the meat eaters among us). For dessert we enjoyed apple crisp with ice-cream.

It was a wonderful day. We have much to be thankful for...


Monday, November 21, 2011

THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS CARD PICTURE

One would think taking a Christmas card picture would be easy and fun -- the whole family together, enjoying some special place in the city/neighborhood, and a wonderful selection of snacks (read: bribes) prepared by mom. We even had my mom on hand to provide entertainment and encouragement during this year's photo shoot. I assumed we'd get a great picture the first time around and would be done with it. Instead it took us two trips over two weekends to two different locations to get a half decent shot of us.

Oh.for.goodness.sake.

Our first attempt at getting a picture started out wonderfully with our three year old angel being ever so cooperative and adorable.


But then she got an attitude.




And then she made her way into the bushes only to get covered in little hitchhikers.
We took about 100 pictures after this. None of which are worth sharing. 

After we were all tired and grumpy. And one of us (a stubborn not-to-be-named three year old) had to use the bathroom, but refused. We ended our first attempt at getting a Christmas card picture with some fun daddy-daughter time. 



And, sadly, made plans to go out the following weekend to get a family picture - this time at a different location at a different time of day. 

Thankfully we were successful in getting a decent family shot the second time around. Specifically, we were able to get a shot where C's eyes are open, K is not crying, and D and I look half-way normal and not completely sleep deprived.

I bet you cannot wait to get our card this year...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

SECOND STEPS

Today I went out for my second run since having a baby. It ended up being a run/walk, and it was not pretty. The proof is in the picture.


It wasn't pretty and I know I looked terrible out there - bad form, old pants that did not fit properly, a shirt that wouldn't stay in place, and one U-G-L-Y camouflage hat. But it felt so good. I was so excited to be out there RUNNING. After 1.5 miles I knew I needed a walk break and again I walked when I came to the big hill on my route. If I've learned anything from marathon training it is that seconds at the beginning can cost you minutes at the end (or trying to get back into shape too fast too soon could result in an injury or complication that could result in not being able to run). I want to get back into shape - and the quicker the better - but pushing myself too much now could result in an injury or some sort of complication (ripping my insides open). So I am taking it slow and being responsible. And that means 11 minute miles at this point in time.

As I was finishing my run (and completely enjoying my new running mix!!), I started to think about my goals and why I run. I started to think about races I want to run and places I would like to visit. What I concluded is this... I really enjoy running and I really like feeling physically fit and fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I also need some reach goals to get me off of my butt and back into shape (and then into better shape than I have ever been in). As I said yesterday, D and I are planning to run two half marathons this spring. I would like to complete both of them in under two hours. And in the fall, I want to run a marathon in under 4 hours.

There... I said it. I want to reach for the stars.

More than likely, D and I will not both get a spot in the 2012 NYC Marathon through the lottery. This means we will have to wait until 2013 to run the race together (which we SO want to do). My long term reach goal will be to qualify for the Boston Marathon in NYC in November 2013 (qualifying time for my age group is 3:40).

To do so would be EPIC.

With all of this in mind, I need to train well and remain injury-free. I also need to lose my remaining pregnancy weight and strengthen my core. None of this is going to happen over night, but I am confident that with time I can accomplish all of my goals.

Here's to a BQ in November 2013...

And in the meanwhile, here's to getting back into shape, loosing some weight, and enjoying every minute of if...!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

FIRST STEPS

Last night I went for my first run since forever. Seriously, I haven't run since March. And then it was not with much consistency. I was too tired, sick, and busy during my pregnancy with C to exercise much. I have missed my run. I didn't realize how much until I laced up my shoes last night.

I have been planning my running comeback for months now --- planning to run the DC Rock 'N Roll 1/2 Marathon and the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon in the spring and then a full in the fall (either NYC or Richmond). Getting back into shape is going to be no small task. My core is shot, my legs are weak, and I have little endurance. I am going to take my comeback one step at a time -- literally.

Last night's run was broken into two sessions. I ran to K's school for a meeting and then home again. Both runs were slow - even the second run, which was all down hill, was s-l-o-w (proof below). But I have my first run under my belt. My comeback has begun... I have run 2.51 miles.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ONE MONTH

Baby Colin ---

It is hard to believe that you are one month old. You have seamlessly fit into our lives and family. It is hard to remember life without you. You are content to just go with the flow --- we interrupt your sleep and meals to pick your big sister up at school or to make a trip to the park before the sun sets. You are constantly loved on by your big sister, who loves to give you hugs and kisses.

In the past month, you have grown 0.5 inches and gained 2.4 pounds (from your birth weight). At your one month doctor's appointment you weighed 11.9 pounds and were 22.0 inches long. This put you in the 95th percentile for both height and weight. You are still wearing your 0-3 month clothes, but I do not anticipate them fitting in the coming weeks. You started wearing your reusable diapers this past week and they fit well (and your blue and green diapers arrived just yesterday - so we can reserve K's old pink ones for emergency situations only). Unfortunately, you were diagnosed with a yeast infection on your legs (in the creases where your diaper rubs) yesterday. We now have to put medicated cream on you four times a day and this means you really shouldn't be wearing the reusables. Hopefully you'll be healthy and back in your diapers in the coming weeks...

You are a wonderful eater and sleeper. We do not have any sort of routine yet - you pretty much just eat, sleep, and lay around making funny noises. Your squeals and squeaks are a constant source of joy in our house. You are such a delight!

I am finally healed after your long delivery (at least I feel like I am). And am proud to be back wearing most of my pre-pregnancy clothes. This Saturday I am going to start running again. I'm hoping that exercise will make me feel better and get me back to my pregnancy weight. Your father and I are planning to run a couple of half marathons this spring a a full in the fall. Running and exercise are a way of life in our family --- get used to it. Even your big sister has taken to lots of running and is known for her sprints from the alley at the far end of our street to our house. I am looking forward to the day when the two of you race down the sidewalk together.

It has truly been a great month with you. I look forward to the days, weeks, and months ahead.





Love, Mama-bear

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY


My boys... love that there is a little bit of K in the picture (note: the yellow barrette in D's hair).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

ENTERTAINING A TODDLER

With a new baby in our house, I spend a lot of time feeding, changing, and rocking. This has forced K to change her every day routines. We've had to come up with quiet activities for K to keep the noise level to a minimum and her entertained while Baby C is getting my attention.

This is what a typical post-toddler nap afternoon looks like...


The iPhone Doodle Buddy app is a god-send.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

PREVIEW: HALLOWEEN 2011


D has been hard at work on his and K's costume. K is really excited. They are going to be too cute together!

Monday, October 24, 2011

WELCOME TO OUR WORLD

This is the story of Baby C's birth.

As many of you know, I was scheduled to have be induced on Wednesday, October 12th. Deciding to be induced after my induction with K that ended in a c-section was a difficult one. It was Sarah who convinced me that I needed to at least try to VBAC. It wasn't until I talked with her that I realized how lucky I was to have a doctor who was willing and encouraging to let me try to be induced after delivering a baby via c-section.

The Monday before my induction, I met with my doctor and mid-wife to discuss my plans for labor. We agreed that I'd let the pitocin do it's magic for four hours. If after that amount of time nothing was happening, we'd opt for a repeat c-section. With a plan in place, I stopped eating and drinking at midnight on the 11th. At 5:40am, D and I were standing on the corner of our street by the metro station trying to hail a cab to get to the hospital by 6am. We arrived on time only to be told we were too early... it wasn't until I talked with the charge nurse about my plans to attempt a VBAC that were escorted into our labor and delivery room. It was the same room I had when I was induced with K. (This is just the first of many similarities between my two labor stories.)

I met with my doctor and several residents during my first hour in the hospital and was quickly hooked up to the IVs and monitors. They bumped my pitocin up slowly - didn't want to make my contractions too strong and rip my uterus. As soon as I started feeling some discomfort, I opted for an epidural. Managing my pain this go around was at the top of my priority list. If the epidural failed to take, I wanted to make the decision to have a repeat c-section with a clear mind; not in the throws of transition without my pain under control.

The anestheiologist was fantastic. Aside from the initial pain of the needle, the insertion of the epidural was painless - a pleasant surprise from my experience three years ago. About half an hour after its insertion, I started to feel some pain relief and the epidural continued to work until it fell out in my recovery room. Four hours into the induction came and went quickly. When we assessed the situation around lunchtime, I was making good progress and we decided to continue on. I was having contractions every 2.5 to 3 minutes and was around 5cm. Nice!

My doctor went off duty at dinner time. When we last talked she felt I was on track to have the baby before midnight. I was introduced to my night nurse and new attending on-call and sadly said good-bye to my favorite resident who would not be back until 7am. As evening wore on and nighttime set in, it was obvious to me that my baby would not be born on the 12th. Around midnight they examined me and I was about 7 cm. Not bad, but still a long way to go...

As the early morning hours set in, things got a little complicated... my legs went completely numb from the epidural and I constantly felt like I was falling out of bed, my blood pressure started to increase, the swelling in my hands and feet was getting a little out of control, and I started to run a fever. By 3am my fever was hovering at 103*. They started me on IV antibiotics - the assumption was that I had a uterine infection - and I completed my hat-trick of insertions --- I was lucky enough to have 1) a urinary catheter; 2) an internal uterine contraction monitor; and 3) rectal insertion of tylenol.

Thankfully the tylenol brought my fever down quickly and I felt much better. At 7am, my new nurse arrived and it was the same nurse that was with me through K's delivery (yeah!). Also, my favorite resident was back on duty and I was SO excited! We determined in the early morning hours that my baby was posterior. Since my pain was under control, I allowed one of the doctors to try to flip him internally. It was slightly uncomfortable (ok... it hurt) and the baby did flip over. But only to flip right back into the posterior position moments later. We decided (read: I was advised) to try to start pushing to see if I could get the baby to flip on its own.

And push I did... we pushed in this position and in that position - sitting up, lying down, on my right side. Unfortunately even at 10 cm dilation I still had a stubborn sliver of cervix that wasn't going away. During all my pushing my favor resident had to hold this little sliver of cervical tissue back - hoping the baby could slide around it. At 9am, we decided that I would try pushing for two hours. If during that time, the baby descended and flipped I was going to VBAC. About 45 minutes into pushing, my favorite resident told me to take a break. She left to consult with the attending OB. I was forced to sit up and pray for the baby to magically drop.

At 10am, my favorite resident and the attending came into the room to talk. Things were starting to get complicated... every time I pushed my baby's heart rate dropped, there was evidence of meconium in my amniotic fluid, my fever was increasing, and it had been 22 hours since my water was broken. While holding my hand, my favorite resident advised me to opt for a c-section. It didn't take much convincing. I knew the likelihood of a VBAC was slim to none. Plus I was tired, hungry, and feverish. After 28 hours of labor, it was time to return to the OR.

Since the baby would need to be immediately seen by the pediatric team due to the meconium, I called my mom and asked her to join us at the hospital. This would allow D to go with the baby and me to have my own care-giver in the recovery room.

At 10:30am on Thursday the 13th, exactly 24 hours AFTER my scheduled c-section from the day before, I was wheeled into the OR for my repeat c-section. Thankfully, due to a working epidural, I did not need a spinal block. All my medications were administered through the epidural. I was numb in 15 minutes and ready to go. My favorite resident was on my right side giving me encouragement and updates throughout the operation.

At 10:52am, we received word that it was a BOY!

I don't remember much - fighting back the urge to puke, trying to keep my shivering under control, and worrying about my little guy - but I do remember tears of joy and the sound of a baby crying. I also remember hearing someone say that he was a BIG little fellow.

D went to be with him as the pediatric team did there thing. I got word that he was healthy and weighed in at 9 lbs 4 oz; nearly three pounds heavier than K.

How on earth did that happen?!?!

D left the OR to go with the baby. I was left in the OR while the doctors finished putting my insides back together. At one point I remember telling the doctors I was going to sleep and that is exactly what I did. My favorite resident woke me up some time later to tell me that they were going to move me onto a different bed and back to my recovery room. When I arrived my mom was there along with D. We were joined soon thereafter by baby C.

He was perfect.


I spent four more days in the hospital recovering and fighting a UTI and uterine infection. My daily doses of three different IV antibiotics wiped out each of the infections and by Saturday my fever was gone for good. We received word on Saturday that I would be discharged on Sunday.

So at noon on Sunday, October 16th we left GW Hospital as a family of four.

And now we begin the next chapter of our lives...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SIMILARITIES

The jury is still out on whether K and C look alike. There are some similarities, but also many differences. What do you think?

Monday, October 17, 2011

TWO

My two. I am the proud mother of TWO children.

On Thursday, October 13th we became a family of four. We had a L-O-N-G stay at the hospital, but in the end we returned home. All four of us - my wonderful husband and my two children.


Yes, K is an amazing big sister. And, yes, baby boy CR is supplementing with formula. My little chub-ster (9 lbs 4 oz) cannot wait for my milk to come in.

We are feeling blessed beyond belief...

Monday, October 10, 2011

EVICTION NOTICE

Baby Joel ---

The time has come. Your welcome, medically speaking, is over. You have about 38 hours to leave your current home or you will be removed (forcefully).

You have made my belly your home for 41 weeks and several days. According to my doctor, my placenta is growing weaker, my blood pressure is increasing, and the risks of delivering are also increasing. You need to come out. My mid-wife thinks you weigh about seven pounds and based on your kicking skills I'm sure you are ready for a little more room. Last night while sitting around willing you to come out and reading The Atlantic I was able to confirm you have five toes on your left foot. You kicked so hard I actually saw your footprint in my belly.

If you would like to please your mother on your first day of life, please start kicking in a downward direction. In order to attempt a VBAC on Wednesday, I need three things to occur: 1) I need my cervix to soften; 2) I need my cervix to dialate; and 3) I need you to drop. Currently your little head is about three-fingers length below my belly button - a little too far up. As much as it will hurt me now, start pushing downward (on whatever you can get your feet on) NOW. If one of these three things fail to happen before 6am on Wednesday, I'll be forced to undergo a repeat c-section, which means we'll miss Thai take-out on Friday evening for dinner and I will be forced to live on the second floor of our house for a week or so (no stairs post-c-section). I will also have to refrain from driving for a couple of weeks, which just complicates things.

So push downward, Joel. Push hard.

Love,
Mama-Bear

All things considered, I am doing fairly well for being nearly 2 weeks overdue. I'm tired and not sleeping well, but that is to be expected. My BP is a little high, but nothing to worry about 36 hours before eviction day. We have an OR reserved for 10:30am on Wednesday, but I'm hoping to go on further than the L&D room.

Here's hoping...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FYI... based on my tummy shape, most strangers believe I am having a boy. My mother and K's nanny, who will also be taking care of Joel, both feel strongly that I am having a boy. My father and grandmother both believe I am having a girl. The Y in my left eye suggests that I am having a girl.

Only (a short) time will tell...

I believe we have agreed on both a boy and girl name. Final agreements will be reached in the moments prior to birth.

Friday, October 7, 2011

THREE

Hard to believe, but my baby is three years old today.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

DANCE PARTY

D was delighted to learn that DJ Shadow's new album is being featured on the NPR web site. We listened to it this morning. This is a glimpse of K enjoying the music while eating lunch at the kitchen counter and helping to make applesauce. My baby easily found the beat.



Untitled from becky d on Vimeo.

I especially love D's closing comment: It's hip hop with a great sense of humor and a great sense of history.

Obviously.

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

We caught our third mouse last night.

Snap trap. No bait. Little sucker got into the pantry and did not get out.

The trap snapped so hard it flipped over and I couldn't see it this morning. I thought I smelled something funky, but when I didn't see the trap I assumed D had removed it last night. He found it about an hour later all tucked away in the corner of the pantry. Mouse dead.

Score: Us: 3 Mice: 0.

Well, maybe not zero... they ate a lot of our food.

I believe the war might might be over.

Friday, September 30, 2011

DEFCON 1

We are at WAR in our house.

WAR.

DEFCON 1.

Our enemy: a little legion of mice. This little legion is comprised of three mice - that we know of... Two of these little buggers have been caught. The first we caught last week using a humane trap stuffed with blue cheese (yes, we went with the really good stuff to catch this little bugger). Last night we caught one of the remaining two mice using a snap trap; no bait. This little sucker was messing around in our pantry (where he and his little buddy ate through several wrapped granola bars) and David went all postal on him.

He set up a second snap trap in our pantry and loaded it with granola bar as bait.

We are at war.

These little buggers have made their home in our home long enough. They have eaten enough of our granola bars and eaten into more than their fair share of chocolate chips and sprinkles. Their eating habits have forced us to buy more plastic storage containers that I'd like to admit. Everything - flour, sugar, crackers, granola bars, nuts, sprinkles, pasta, all wheat products, oatmeal - is now in plastic storage containers. And yet the remaining little bugger was in our pantry last night.

We are at war.

Defcon 1.

Updates forthcoming.

----------------------------------------------------------------

To my father: we promise to end the war (having won it) before you visit.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

Hard to believe she is almost three and that in the coming days she'll be a big sister...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

THE BEGINNING & THE END

During the past two weeks, we've seen the beginning and the end in our house...

In mid-September, K started her first year of preschool. It was her beginning. She's enrolled in a wonderful little Montessori school about a mile from our house. She is loving it. It cracks me up to see her leave the house each morning with her little backpack.


A few days after K started school, I finished. After four L-O-N-G years of a PhD program, I finally finished YESTERDAY. At 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant, I defended my dissertation. I did not look as cute as K. In fact, I ripped two pairs of tights before leaving the house - because I was sweating so hard (nerves and high humidity; not to mention being 22 pounds heavier). I left the house sweating like a pig in a pair of pants and a nice shirt. I planned to change into my dress and buy new tights while in Baltimore, but I never did. I defended in my pants, which actually made me really happy because I was able to hide my swollen legs, ankles and feet. No pictures were taken.

In fact, I am so big pictures of me today are few and far between. This is one of the few taken in the last week. This is my view these days...


My tummy is as large as she is cute.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

THE BIG EVENTS

Over the past few weeks, we've lived through/experienced several BIG events.

First, on July 5th, my trusty little car - a gift from my parents after college graduation - crossed the 100,000 mile threshold. It was a big moment in my life - watching her odometer go from 5 digits to 6. Thankfully, I was in the passenger seat during the big event and was able to capture it on film (I'll spare you the video).

In early August, I discovered that I do in fact have a Y in my left eye. For those of you who don't remember, my aunt in Texas has a client who claims to have a no-fail way of determining the sex of an unborn child. In short if the blood vessels of the mother's left eye form a Y, then the baby will be girl. Back in September 2008, I had a distinct Y in my left eye. As you can see from the picture below, I do AT THIS VERY MOMENT have a Y in my eye. What do others think?!?! Is "Joel" in fact a girl?




August was also full of natural disasters. On the 23rd, DC was rocked by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. I was at home with K at the time - trying to get her to sleep. We felt two distinct movements during the quake. First, it really did feel like the house was shaking. It also felt like the floors were rolling - like we were standing on top of water. The noise from the earthquake was loud. K was laying on her bed with her hands over her ears S-C-R-E-A-M-I-N-G.

After the shaking stopped, K and I went outside to talk to our neighbors and did a walk through of our house to see if there was any damage. Pictures fell off of the wall in our bathroom and our shoe cubby in our sunroom moved away from the wall. In our front bedroom, the wall/ceiling cracked. You can see from the picture below that it does look like there were waves/rolls. The crack moves/rolls from wall to ceiling back to wall again. It is pretty magnificent to see the strength of plate tectonics in our bedroom.












Also during the earthquake, we heard a terrible crashing noise on our roof. Turns out our neighbor's chimney crumbled and crashed onto our roof. As you can see the quake did a number on the 100 year old chimney.

Prior to the hurricane, Irene, that rocked DC five days after the earthquake, D went up on the roof, took some pictures and removed/stacked all the loose bricks. We didn't want the hurricane strength winds to cause damage to our roof or our neighbors. Thankfully there was no damage.

SIX WEEK REWIND

Ferris Bueller once said:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around 
once in a while, you could miss it.
 
The past six weeks of my life have flown by -- quite possibly the busiest weeks of my life. And it is not just business. They have been full of changes - physical, mental, emotional, hormonal, and behavioral. I have been trying to take time to enjoy all the special, never-going-to-be-the-same-again moments that have come my way.
 
In short, since we traveled to Pennsylvania for the Fourth of July, I/we have:
 
1. hosted our friends from France for two weeks;
2. painted K's bedroom (well, technically my dad gets credit for this) and made room for a new crib and dresser;
3. spent a week at the beach with friends;
4. completed my duties as a graduate research assistant;
5. submitted a complete draft of my written dissertation;
6. received approval to defend my dissertation;
7. began my full-time, grown-up job as an Assistant Professor;
8. gained approximately 15 pounds;
9. become the mother to a preschooler; 
10. planned my come-back races for 2012 (National RnR and Pittsburgh 1/2 marathons); and
11. spent more time trying to stay on top of things than ever before in my life.

As of today, we are officially ready for baby #2. I am currently 35 weeks and 5 days along. I'm feeling fine - minus the persistent heartburn and swelling in my hands, feet, and ankles. Our new carseat was delivered today. This is the ONE thing we needed to have before the baby arrives. It is here. Part of me wants this baby to be born today; another part of me knows I have several BIG events scheduled for the next four weeks that I really want to happen --- including my dissertation defense. 

As long as I do not go into labor before my due date, I plan to defend my dissertation at 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I believe this will elevate me to ROCK STAR status among all PhD students and mothers-to-be! I also am planning to be inducted into my high school athletic hall of fame at 37 weeks/1 day pregnant. Again, I think attending this event, rocking a great black dress, and announcing my plans to be in 1/2 marathon running shape by March will also elevate me to some sort of ROCK STAR status! 

Regardless of when this new baby comes, my current baby will be starting preschool in two weeks. I can hardly believe it. She's enrolled in a wonderful Montessori School about 1 mile from our house. Her teacher is a gem and the school is beautiful - while playing at the school playground today, we noticed you can see the National Cathedral in the background. What a wonderful spot to attend school!
 
Just shy of three years old, K has become her own little lady. She talks constantly - often narrating the events of the day, making up stories, and asking WHY. She has her own sense of style and is very opinionated with it comes to clothing, shoes, and hair. She loves to read, paint and play with play-dough. She also loves music, dancing, jumping, gymnastics, riding her bike, and being outside. She also loves to help out in the kitchen and is becoming quite the little baker. 
 
The hour between 6:30 and 7:30 each evening is our most challenging time - she's tired, wants constant attention, and can often be found yelling, "NO!" without ceasing. She continues to be a great napper, but cannot sleep through the night for anything. We're currently trying to bride her to stay in bed all night long - until the sun comes up - with frozen yogurt. It has yet to work.

Our vacation to the beach a few weeks ago, was definitely a highlight of the summer for all of us. We had a wonderful and restful week away with friends. K completely enjoyed herself.


My goal for the next five weeks of this pregnancy is to enjoy each moment. In spite of heartburn and the awkwardness of my big belly, I want to enjoy being pregnant (as much as I can), I want to enjoy having just one child, I want to cherish all my firsts at my new job, I want to prepare for my dissertation defense, and I really want get as much sleep as humanly possible.

Here's to you baby #2, Joel... please make plans to remain where you are for at least four more weeks. Love, Mommy


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th OF JULY

We spent this past weekend in Pittsburgh visiting my parents and enjoying the simple things in life. Such things included sleeping past 6am, enjoying an evening out without a toddler, playing in the water, making cookies, making new friends, and spending time with family.

Our weekend began with a few days at my parents house where K baked with United States Grandma.


And then she ran through the sprinkler with Grandpa.


We went for a walk/bike ride on Sunday morning. Our time ended with more water play (thank you, Hyatt Regency Hotel for your wonderful waterfall).


We spent more time in the water on Monday. This time taking in the waterslides at the pool by Grandma and Grandpa's house.

We ended our day on Monday at a petting zoo where K fell in love with some little piggies and goats.


It was a wonderful and restful weekend for all of us.

We left with our hearts full and smiles on our faces.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

THEN AND NOW

I'm nearly 25 weeks pregnant. I haven't taken a single picture of my pregnant belly.

Until today.

Here is a look back at what I was like at 20 weeks in 2008 and at (nearly) 25 weeks in 2011. I don't think I'm much bigger today than I was three years ago. I have gained exactly 8 pounds (about the same as in 2008) since my first doctor's appointment. Thanks to some cooler temperatures and lower humidity, I am not as puffy as I was two weeks ago (picture below).


I think my current picture (right) makes it look like I am carrying higher this time around. However, I believe this is due to the timing of the pictures. I was only 20 weeks along in the picture to the left. Ultimately, I carried K really high (so high she never dropped; thus resulting in a c-section in 2008); much like the picture on the right.

Prior to looking at these pictures side-by-side, I thought I was really huge for 25 weeks along. But in reality I look about the same.

And, just for the record, I have no swelling in my ankles.


We'll compare this picture to one of my ankles when I'm 35 weeks along. My guess is there will be a considerable/puffy difference.

Monday, June 6, 2011

138/90

This morning I had a normal check-up with my OB. I got to the office 10 minutes early and ended up waiting 30 minutes before being seen. Typical.

I was weighed (gained 5 pounds in the past month); peed in a cup; and went to get my blood pressure checked.

They put the cuff on my arm, and BAM...

138/90.

That is super high.

According to the NIH, prehypertension of systolic blood pressure is 120-139; higher is greater than 140. Diastolic hypertension (stage 1) is anything greater than 90.

Nuts.

I spent considerable time talking with my doctor about my diet, stress level, and activities. Then I was left to hang out on my left side for awhile.

After a short while, my blood pressure was back to normal.

And they let me go home.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

My last blood pressure reading was 97/68. I'm on the lookout for a host of symptoms indicating my BP is too high. If I have any of the said symptoms, I will head to the ER immediately. Other than the BP-issue, I'm healthy and so is Joel.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

HOT, HOT, HOT

It is not even June and temperatures in DC reached 95* today.

It was bloody hot.

Highlights of our day included visits to the library and grocery store, which were icebox cold. It was so refreshing. When we weren't soaking in the AC, we were playing in water. Nothing beats a sprinkler, kiddie pool, or a bucket of water on a hazy, hot, and humid day in MAY.




*Note: if the weather does not cool off in the coming weeks - at least for a little while - this pregnant mama is going to be one swollen mess. I'm placing bets that my wedding ring will not fit by July; my watch won't fit by the end of August and my ankles will disappear sometime in the middle of it all.

Monday, May 30, 2011

INTRODUCING...

Baby "Joel".

On Friday, at 21 weeks 6 days pregnant, we got our first view of Baby #2. K has proudly named this little one "Joel". We're not sure where the name came from (possibly a shortening of her friend Nigel's name), but the baby has been Joel since before Easter.

There is a bit of pressure to name the baby Joel, if the baby is a boy. We'll have to wait and see... Joel is healthy and is weighing in at approximately 1 pound. He/she looks much the same as K did when she was born. His/her resemblance to D is remarkable!

In response to the most common questions we've been getting...

1. We do not know if it is a boy or girl and we do not plan to find out. Note: I believe we're having a girl; my dad feels the same way.

2. I am due October 2.

3. Yes, that is basically K's birthday. I am already praying against a shared birthday for our kids and a hospital stay that overlaps K's birthday.

4. I want to VBAC; Carla is my inspiration!

5. We have not chosen names yet, and we do not plan to share our name(s) until the baby is here and officially named.

6. Like last time, I plan to take the metro to the hospital to deliver.

7. We still need: an infant car seat (our first was destroyed in a fit of cat envy/anger after K's birth), a crib, a double stroller, and a new pump.

8. We are looking to sell a double jogging stroller, a single jogging stroller, a changing table, and some other odds and ends we don't need this time around.

9. We need to paint K's room and make the room ready for two kids. Yes, our kids are going to share a room. It is a giant space and we like the idea of our kids sharing it for a couple of years. We're planning to make our office a little more kid-friendly --- maybe with a new bookshelf for kids books and some seats/lighting for family reading time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MOTHER'S DAY

We spent most of Sunday afternoon doing this...


We were looking up at these...

Our Mother's Day afternoon picnic took place at Gravelly Point. It has been years since I've spent an extended amount of time there. In fact, during the past two years the only time I've been at Gravelly Point was during a 20+ mile run. It is amazing how much more I enjoyed the park this time around compared to last October when I ran through twice (during a 22 mile out and back from our house).  I had forgotten how much fun it is to watch airplanes fly over head and land. The noise of the engines and the subsequent echo is magnificent.

The park was extremely crowded. In addition to watching airplanes land, we played many games of where is K? She seamlessly slipped into the crowd and was comfortable among the bikers, runners, and walkers.


We tossed a ball around and snacked on cheese crackers and apples. D even grabbed a 15 minute nap under the sun. We left minutes before the rain started to fall. It was such a delightful afternoon. The perfect way to spend Mother's Day together as a little family.

Monday, May 9, 2011

MY BABY GIRL

Yesterday was wonderful - complete with tulips, a framed picture, and an afternoon out with my two favorite people. Looking at this picture, I see that my baby really isn't a baby anymore. *sniff, sniff*