Feathered Aspen


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10 mos/Lu

Lu is 10 months!

I kept expecting her to crawl.  Any day now!  I thought over and over again, and then I just sort of realized, this is it.  Lu doesn’t really crawl.  She scoots.  It’s pretty efficient, and it seems like she really only needs one hand and one foot to push herself around.  She’s been doing it for almost a month now, and she follows us around the house, gets into messes, and does what crawling babies do.

She pulls herself to her knees pretty regularly, and a few times, she’s even pulled herself to her feet, but otherwise, that’s the big news on the gross motor front.  She also does this thing where she kicks her legs and spins around, often making a little motor boat sound to accompany the motion.  It’s pretty funny.

Socially, she’s still a mama’s girl.  She’ll smile and flirt with just about anyone, but when they ask to hold her, she’s not amused.  I can’t say exactly when she started to reach for me, but certainly it’s been within the last two months.  She also loves her big sister, and Lily can often get her to laugh just by making a little growl or doing any number of goofy things.  She’s capable of a little peek-a-boo and “so big!” though will rarely perform these little tricks when asked.

As for teeth, three more have poked out in the past two weeks, and now she has five.  She loves to eat solids, and has begun demanding them whenever she sees any of us eating.  She loves apples and peas, especially, and I suppose you could say we’re “baby led weaning,” but mostly because we’re too lazy to whip up a second meal for her.  We rip things up into tiny pieces, and she methodically picks them up and gobbles them.

Lu’s not really saying anything yet.  She loves to babble and blow bubbles and make silly grunts, but she’s not really even saying mama.  We’ve also been terrible on the signing front, so she’s not doing that, either.  She does love listening to music, and whenever a good beat comes on, she’ll start rocking back in forth in time.

Well, hello!

Well, hello!

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Just COVERED in yogurt.

Just COVERED in yogurt.

Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles

These photos are such a perfect expression of Lu at this age.  I see these faces many times a day: silly, sweet, and focused.

These photos are such a perfect expression of Lu at this age. I see these faces many times a day: silly, sweet, and focused.

We’re so lucky to have our little Lu.  Kisses!


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29

I’m 29.  It happened when Joshua was at work, and while Lu was cutting new teeth.  Lily wondered why there wasn’t a party.  That sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m not.  I had a nice day.  My mom came over, and we went to the Botanic Gardens and had a picnic.  When Joshua came home, we went out to Duo.  It was a perfect meal.

I like to write a little reflection on here for each birthday, and while there have been years when I have keenly felt the passage of time or the accumulation of age, this year feels less momentous.  This year catches me in the middle of a rhythm and a routine.  There are no fireworks, but there is less pity, too.  This is my life.  It’s good.

  • Making: flower mandalas
  • Cooking: naan pizza
  • Baking: apple tarte
  • Drinking: french press coffee with cream
  • Planning:  our trip to Mexico
  • Reading: Maze Runner (and listening to First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen on audible)
  • Wanting: frankincense (no, really), a record player
  • Looking: at entryway vignettes
  • Playing: outside, in the river, with dandelions
  • Wasting: time on screens
  • Sewing: beach cover ups out of saaris
  • Wishing: for a village
  • Listening: to Milky Chance pandora radio
  • Enjoying: the Gladiolas on my kitchen island
  • Waiting: for our friends to move back
  • Liking: my new sunhat and days spent outside
  • Wondering: which path to take
  • Loving: my family and flowers!  They’re everywhere!
  • Hoping: we’ll find a way to get to Spain
  • Marveling: over ouropenroad.com
  • Needing: to study for my Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab Final
  • Smelling: Joshua cooking chana masala
  • Wearing: running clothes
  • Following: @kristenrickert @mamawatters
  • Noticing: freckles on Lily’s nose, three more teeth poking through Lu’s gums
  • Knowing: happiness is an action, not a thing
  • Thinking: about moving back to Edgewater
  • Feeling: a little lonely
  • Pinning: stripes, sea shells, poppies, and tiny houses
  • Opening: a new bottle of clover honey, purchased today
  • Laughing: when I tickle Lu and she grunts

There are other things I’d love to write about.  I want to write about my “adventures in minimalism” (as I call it), about being a stay at home mom, and about my search for a village.  But Lily just woke up.  So, love.  And see you soon.

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Just the two of us

Dear Lu,

Here you are.  What a love.  A cuddlebug.  You and I, we spent the day together.  Just the two of us.  We hadn’t planned it that way.  This morning when you were playing with your daddy and sister, you scuttled over to daddy’s cup of tea and upended it over your foot.  What ensued was not pretty.  It involved being dunked in last night’s bathwater with your jammies still on, nursing between screams, sitting naked with your foot in a mixing bowl of water, rocking through your sobs and breaking your blister, falling asleep at the opportune moment where your mommy had to cut off the skin of the blister and bandage your foot, and then taking a three hour nap on mommy’s lap.

Oh dear.  To see you pain is another kind of pain itself.  You were writhing, little one, and I was nearly crying with you.

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But, as your sister would say, you are “tough as nails.”  When you woke up from your nap, you were cuddly and wanting to be held, but calm and sweet.  The open blister larger than a quarter on the top of your foot couldn’t keep you from smiling.

So we went for a walk in the gulch.  We rode the train, we walked through campus.  I sang to you, and you sang with me.  Your sweet little voice made the flowers bloom as we walked by.  You made the apple blossoms smell sweeter.

You’re growing up so fast.  You lift up your arms when I declare “so big!” And you giggle when I play peek-a-boo.  Your sister makes you laugh, and you make us laugh too, scuttling over the floor.  You’re not crawling, but you may as well be.  While not quite as fast, you can get everywhere you want to go, leaning forward and sliding your dust-covered bottom behind you.

You love to eat.  Asparagus, peas, spinach, cheese, eggs, pear, apple…  You want a little bit of everything.  I spread little raisin-sized bits over the tray of your high chair and you pick them up and feed them to yourself.  I love watching your focus as you set your sights on a piece, reach for it, and then pick it up between your pudgy index finger and thumb.  You use such care and quiet with small things.

While we were out and about, daddy and sister went on a date.  They fed chickens, ate fro yo, and shopped for our groceries.  Before she left, she counseled me:  “mommy, nurse my baby, she’s sad.”

We talked on the phone when they were out, and she asked, “Lu ok?”

And then, when we were back, she kissed Lu.  “You happy, Lu?”

I love watching your relationship with your sister unfold.  Every morning, both of you are eager to smile at one another.  Lily says “good morning,” and you squeal with delight.

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Watching the two of you makes me think of Khalil Gibran’s poem On Children, specifically:

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

I know I can’t determine the type of relationship the two of you will have.  I can’t be certain that you will be close or that you’ll seek each other out for advice or comfort.  But I hope.

The poem reminds me of an artist and their canvas or bronze.  They have intent, they exact form and color, they hope.  And then, the art works independently of the artist, inspiring things or provoking thoughts the artists could not have predicted.

Dear Lu,

Thank you for spending the day with me.  You even spirit is better than meditation.

I love you,

Mom


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You make life sweet

Dear Lily,

Yesterday, we woke up slowly.  Lu alternately stirred and slumbered beside me while you kicked the covers off and stretched your arms up and over your head.  Often, you wake with tears or frustration, but yesterday, you looked at me and smiled.  I turned to snuggle you, and with my arms around you, I asked, “what do you want to do today?  Do you want to go to the Children’s Museum?”

You looked at me and said, “no.  I want to spend time with you.  Stay home.  Paint.”

After a week of visitors that moonlight as celebrities, holding your awe and attention, it was the sweetest thing you could possibly say.  So we did.  We stayed home.  We painted.  We spent time together.  I read you no less than eight books, and you sat on my lap, leaning into me.

Today, it was much the same.  We were a team.  Simpatico.

So even though Spring Break wasn’t really a break in the sense that we got to relax or go on vacation, it was a break in the sense that our routine was broken, and now as we go back to that routine, I can appreciate its rhythms and lulls.  Sharing you is good.  I got to go on a date, clean the house, throw a party, and run with Joshua.  I got to cuddle Lu and know that you felt adored and special too.  I see how people love you and how you shine with that love.  I see how you make people happy.  But it’s nice to have you all to myself, too.  It’s nice to be the one you turn to when you can’t or don’t want to do it “all by yourself.”  It’s nice to be the one with whom you share your observations.  Seriously, “it’s a little bit chilly today,” or silly, “Thibodeaux is a round head, mommy,” or frankly, “otherwise, we could go to the library.”

Actually (“actually” you say) it’s better than nice.  It’s right up there with watching you act like a monkey in front of Lu and having her belly laugh with appreciation.  It’s up there with your daddy struggling to put his sandals on because his arms are full and you leaning down to hold the strap for him, without anyone saying a word.  It’s up there.

Dear Lily,

You’re three.  You’re old and you’re young.  You’re complicated and you’re simple.  You’re more than I ever expected.

Dear Lily,

You make life sweet.

Love,

Mom

Threenager


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Lily is Three!

We’re all a bit burnt from a busy birthday/Easter weekend.  There was a strawberry themed party, three church services, two baptisms, and Easter Dinner.  We have Papa and Granny visiting, and Joshua is coming off a few intense days of housework with Grumpy, who’s also in town.  It’s been so good, but now we’re all exhausted.

Birthdays mean I get to buy flowers :)

Birthdays mean I get to buy flowers :)

I always forget how much it takes to throw a party, and much of Friday and Saturday were spent making snacks and treats, cleaning and decorating.  Luckily, we had a ton of help with Papa and Granny.

Pretty eggs pre egg salad.

Pretty eggs pre egg salad.

We dyed eggs at the party.  Last year, I blew out the eggs and used natural dye….  Needless to say, we just hardboiled these suckers and used cheap dye this year.

Lily got a bike for her birthday :)

Lily got a bike for her birthday :)

We bought Lily a balance bike for her birthday.  She’s a bit nervous, but I’m dreaming of a summer day when we go for a walk and she’s independently cruising along.  Helmet courtesy of Boobah and Zeydah (thanks!) and lovely Elephant dress courtesy of Catherine and Donal (this is seriously my favorite little dress ever).

She's a bit hesitant...

She’s a bit hesitant…

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Lily has been lovely all weekend.  Yesterday I was still asleep when she leaned over me and said, “Mommy, it’s my birthday!”  She was very excited.

Threenager

Threenager

Egg hunt

Egg hunt

Joshua and Lily both have birthdays that will sometimes land on Easter Sunday.  An egg hunt was good birthday fun :)

Tricksy bunny hid one in the chandelier.

Tricksy bunny hid one in the chandelier.

Birthday strawberry shortcake cupcake.

Birthday strawberry shortcake cupcake.

Egg dying at the party.

Egg dying at the party.

Lily had a couple other toddlers at her party.  I wish we knew more kids!  But I don’t think she noticed.  We had Grandma, Grumpy, Nana, Papa, Granny, Auntie RaRa, Uncle David, Melanie, and Auntie Val in attendance too.

Evrrrythang strawberry

Evrrrythang strawberry

Sooooooo close to crawling.  Scooting just about everywhere.

Sooooooo close to crawling. Scooting just about everywhere.

Threenager take two

Threenager take two

Prolly my only successful baking attempt.  Ever.

Prolly my only successful baking attempt. Ever.

And that’s a wrap!  Happy Birthday Lily!  You are a light in my life.  I love spending every day with you, and I am so lucky to be your mom.  I love you so much.

If you’re curious, here’s Lily’s first and second birthdays.


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Rat Dance Party

 

 

I’ve told Lily to get dressed half a dozen times this morning with mounting frustration, and then I realized:  she’s playing independently.

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It’s a bit of a complaint/worry of mine.  This playing independently thing.  I feel like Lily never does it, and sometimes, man, sometimes I just want a break.  So imagine my surprise when I realize that maybe the answer is letting her muck about in her PJs.

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When I last wrote, I may or may not have been crying from pure frustration and self-loathing.  And while Lily is still throwing quite a few tantrums, we’re all ok.  Sometimes she’s going to be sad and furious and sometimes she’s going to be happy and silly.  I’m trying to roll with it.  Most of the time she wants us to be going somewhere and she wants someone to be playing with her, but sometimes she just wants to chill out in her PJs.  So I write.

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I took these photos a couple of days ago.  Lily was saying, “Oh my god, Lu.  You are so silly.  Mom!  Look!  She is just too silly!”  Which is I guess how I must sound most of the time.  Like a teenager?!

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I was listening to the radio the other day, and there was this report about a gene they’ve isolated associated with anti-anxiety.  People with this gene aren’t worriers.  They’re laid back.  They’re fine.  They don’t wonder if they’re shitty parents (I digress).  We were just coming off a tear and sweat soaked tantrum, and I was feeling sorry for Lily and myself.  Sorry, girl.  That gene is not in your DNA, and I’m pretty sure you came by that honestly.  We’re the rats that huddle in a corner when bright lights are flashing.

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But Lu?  She just might be the rat that starts dancing when the lights flash.  Wouldn’t that be fabulous?  I hope so.  But if not, we’ll get through this, all of us, together.

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