Feathered Aspen



It’s Wednesday afternoon.  Lily is asleep in our bed and Lu is resting on my tummy as I write.  It’s hot outside.  Boiling, really.  As Lily and I walked back to the house from the rail station, we both worked up a sweat.  Lily, however, was practically drenched by the time we got home, because in addition to the temperature, the sun, and the uphill climb, she was throwing a serious tantrum (but still walking!).

Poor Lily.  That one was definitely my fault.  I told her she couldn’t walk on the wall because it was nap time.  She sobbed because it really was a bit past nap time, and we all know how little girls get when they’re tired and hot and they don’t get their way.  She commenced to walk the next two blocks sobbing and saying, “walk on wall, walk on wall, walk on wall.”

Back at the house, I led her by the hand to the bedroom, took off her sandals, and laid her in bed.  “Cuddle mommy, cuddle mommy, cuddle mommy,” had replaced her earlier mantra, and decided that while consistency is the key, a little compassion is the grease.  I laid next to her, propped up by my elbow, held her hand, and sang to her as she fell asleep.  It took all of about three minutes.


This girl is the cat’s meow.  We’ve been tramping all over this city, and I couldn’t ask for a better companion (except for maybe the addition of my husband – weekends are always better with all four of us).  Lily is curious and friendly, and her language unfolds day by day.  Probably twice a day I think to myself, I need to write that down so I can remember it, but I rarely have a pen and paper and sometimes I remember and sometimes I don’t.  I just generally have this sense that she says profound, observant, and funny things, and I wish I could remember all of them forever.  Every time she says something new, I get excited.  A couple of days ago, she brushed Lu’s leg carefully, looked up at me and said, “fragile leg.”

Now that we’ve been using RTD (more on that later), Lily asks, “train go? train go? train go?”  My new trick is to ask her all of the questions she asks me, and she always cracks me up with an answer.  “Lily, where do you think the train went?”  “Ummm…” (her thinking voice) “Home.”  And sure.  Why not?  “Kitty go? kitty go? kitty go?”  “Lily, where do you think the kitties went?”  “Ummm… Eating, napping.”  Probably.

My favorite, and one that I actually do remember, happened yesterday.  We were riding the train and Lily at a Larabar.  I stuffed the empty wrapper in the mesh pocket of the stroller and then forgot about it.  About half a mile from the train station, Lily and I were walking across a bridge, and Lily spots a trash can.  “Trash!” Lily says and then stops.  She walks behind the stroller, grabs the wrapper I had already forgotten about, and throws it in the trash can.  She looks ups at me.  “Garbage in trash can.  Garbage no in river.”  I was so proud of her.  Think of all the connections!

Another relatively classic Lily-ism is to see something broken and say, “Uh oh.  Broken.  Oh no!  Broken.  Broken.  Daddy fix it?”  A few times I’ve asked her if she thinks mommy could fix it instead.  She shakes her head gravely, “no mommy fix it.  Mommy break it.  Daddy fix it?”

Recently, we’ve been joking together more frequently.  Lily asked me to change her diaper and we were sitting in the bedroom.  “Change diaper in there?” Lily asked, referring to the living room.  I was feeling particularly lazy, so I said, “no, that’s silly!  Why would we change it in there?”  Lily thought for a second.  “Change diaper on porch?”  I laughed, “silly!”  Then I said, “Change diaper in sink?”  We both giggled, and then we listed off a dozen places that would be silly to change a diaper, laughing uproariously at each one and slapping our thighs dramatically.  My favorite suggestion from Lily was the swimming pool.  Silly, indeed.

Last Saturday, Lily and I went on a date, just the two of us.  We went to the library and then to Whole Foods for lunch.  Lily pushed the little kid cart all around the store, and when we got to the check out, she loaded it up.  She loves doing things by herself, but she also loves being held, carried, and cuddling.  “Uppy?” she says when we are walking.  “Carry you?”  (She hasn’t really figured out the proper pronoun quite yet.)

K’s sister has been visiting for the past week and a half, and her daughter is just shy of three.  Lily and Ari have had a blast playing together, and while it isn’t always sunshine and sharing, I love watching Lily figure out her social self.  She’s very affectionate and wants to give hugs, kisses, and hold hands.  She’s also an observer, and I often see her stepping back to watch what the others are doing before she decides to engage.

Finally, the most exciting development for Lily in the past week is our new RTD pass.  As a student at Metro, I have a free pass, and kids under five travel free with an adult.  The day that I got the pass, I took Lily to campus on the light rail.  The next day, we took it to campus again and walked the half mile or so to the Children’s Museum, and today, we took the bus to the library and a playground.  It’s been fun and an integral part of each outing.  Lily gets so excited, she does a little dance each time.  She loves tapping my pass on the validator, and she climbs up on the bench, presses her face against the window, and says, “ooooooo.”

I almost forgot!  The other big news for Lily is a new routine we’ve implemented.  In anticipation of Joshua staying home alone with the girls a couple nights a week as I take classes, we’ve decided that we need to have regular nap and bed times and we need to be able to lay her down and leave the room, instead of laying with her until she falls asleep.  It’s actually quite sad for me.  I love laying with the little munchkin.  She’s liberal with her cuddles just before bed, and I love having her arms wrapped around my neck as she falls asleep, but alas, I just don’t know how we can keep that up if there’s only one of us to put both of the girls to bed.  These days, Lily’s bedtime coincides with Lu’s fussiest time of day, and while little Lu really is one of the world’s easiest babies for 22 hours of every day, she can give as good as she’s good those other 2 hours.

Anyway.  The rule is:  nap at 1 PM, bedtime at 8:30 PM.  We sing a song and rub her back for a few minutes at nap, and at bedtime, we read a story and sing a song.  But then it’s lights out.  We leave while she’s still awake.  We’ve been leaving the door open and going back in every five minutes or so if she’s still crying to tell her that we love her and give her a little hug.  Saturday night, the first night we did this, was dreadful.  She cried for an hour, sobbing “daddy, daddy, daddy” (he was the one that put her down).  When she finally did fall asleep, it was with deep, shuddering gasps.  I cried too, and Joshua and I (between going back in to tell her that we loved her) sat on the couch trying to think of anything else we could do.  Anything at all, other than this.  We didn’t come up with much.  If I’m going to be gone a few nights a week, then Joshua needs to be able to put them to sleep by himself, and on top of that, this is really the only time of day that Joshua and I have any time together.  So…  This is it.  The compromise is that we are still co-sleeping, although I’m guessing that this shift would have made an easy transition to her own bedroom…  Oh well, one step at a time – for her and for me, really.

Sunday nap time there were tears, but far fewer, and on Sunday evening, she cried for about 20 minutes.  On Monday, she went down for nap with only a few tears, and on Monday night, she barely cried at all.  The same went for Tuesday, and now today, she cried out a few times, I went to the door and told her that everything was ok and we love her a lot and she’s doing a wonderful job going to sleep all by herself, and then she was fine.  Much like weaning, there was the initial heartbreak and then she was fine.  Both times, it was probably as hard for me to let go as it was for her.


At six and a half weeks, I’m just stunned by how quickly the time is flying by.  How did she get so big already?  How was she born six weeks ago already?

I feel like Lu has been waking up a little bit more the past few days, but she’s still a champion sleeper.  She sleeps all night long and for long stretches during the day.  Today though, she was awake for a couple of hours this morning, for a half hour when we were out, for another half hour when we got back, and then for a big chunk of the evening (from about 4 until 9 with just a little cat nap).

Lu is starting to fill in more.  Her pruny newborn face and body are plumping up and rounding out, and her eyes seem clearer and more focused.  On Monday, she locked eyes with me and smiled for the first time, clear as day.  Today again we looked at each other, cooing and me in singsong, celebrating each time a smile emerged.  I love looking into those dark blue eyes.

I’ve been wearing Lu in the pink wrap a lot.  I like it for the mornings when she’s sleepy because it hugs her in and she can rest.  The Baby Bjorn is good for her more awake parts of the day because she can see more and we can even nurse discreetly while she’s in the carrier.  I also prefer the Bjorn for getting her in and out more quickly.  I have to re-tie the wrap each time.

Nursing is still going well.  I’ve had a few painful, red lumps (plugged ducts), but they’ve all gone down in a couple of days.  Lu has thrush on her tongue, but luckily she hasn’t given it to me yet.  Otherwise, we nurse for short stints (never more than 10 minutes at a time) 8 to 10 times a day.  I think she’s starting to get a bit more down because when I pump in the mornings and evenings I had been getting about 12 extra ounces a day, and now I’m getting about 9, even though I think my supply is increasing.

Lu’s neck is getting a bit stronger, and she even holds it up on her own for short periods of time.  I also noticed this weekend that her baby acne had gotten pretty fierce, but that night I gently rubbed her face with a mild soap, water, and a baby washcloth, and it went way down.  Now she has a few spots but nothing near what it was on Sunday.  It was pretty remarkable, actually.


Once upon a time, the man had time to update y’all on his life on this here blog, but jeez, I can’t remember the last time he had a spare minute.  Between the house, running, his job, and our family, he’s one busy man.  The good news is that he likes his job, and he’s yet to take a day of his 6 week paternity leave, so we’ve got that to look forward to.  This weekend, he’ll be pacing our friend Will from mile 50 to 75 on the Leadville Trail 100.  This fall, he’s hoping to do a couple of marathons, but he’s taking a break from ultras for now.

Next up on the house is a driveway, fence, and some landscaping for the front and back yards.  After that, he’s planning on the craft and mudrooms and then the basement.  His goal for all of this is Thanksgiving…  We shall see 😉


Guys, these past few months have been interesting.  In those last few weeks before Lu was born, I was in a pretty dark place.  The house wasn’t ready, I wasn’t ready, and man, was I panicked.  But it all turned out.  The to-do lists got done, and Joshua got a little time off of work, and we we were able to spend time together – the three of us and even the two of us.

Lu’s birth was a dream come true, and the high hasn’t really worn off.  I’m not sleep deprived, nursing is easy, and I went back to running four weeks post-partum.  Hell, I went for a trail run five weeks after she was born.  I mean.  Last time, it took me almost three months to get my fitness back, and while I’m certainly no speed-demon on my runs these days, I’m not feeling like a buffalo.  Which is nice.  I credit running up until (past!) my due date and having a much easier, shorter, and medication-free labor.  Plus, no episiotomy or tear.  That was a huge plus.

At my midwife appointment, I was given a clean bill of health, and I was only four pounds over my original weight.  With my first pregnancy, I wondered at every turn how I would handle all of the changes to my body.  Having had an eating disorder in my early teens, I kept wondering when I would freak out, but happily, it never happened.  During pregnancy, I loved feeling Lily and Lu’s movements, and while I often felt huge, I also felt beautiful.  After pregnancy, I felt mostly in awe of my body’s ability to bounce back.  In that first week, my belly shrunk considerably and the water weight disappeared from my legs and face.  It was like this coat melting off of me, and I did nothing – besides nursing and taking care of my babies – to accelerate the process.  I eat a mostly whole foods diet, but I’m fairly voracious, going back for multiple helpings and piling high my plates and bowls with lots of goodness.  As for the running, while I started early, I started easy.  I have yet to run further than 4 miles, and I’m not pushing myself too far.  I feel good, and it helps me feel strong and good about my body.  It’s as much a mental health boost as it is a body boost.

Mentally, I am so much happier and stronger this time around.  With Lily, I was terrified.  Now, I’m still dealing with some feelings of self-doubt, but overall, I’m much, much more calm.

My other big news is that I’m enrolled at MSU Denver and I’m taking at least one class this fall! (I say one because I’m waitlisted for the other.)  The admissions process has been arduous to say the least, but I’m sooo excited to be a student again :):):)

Well, like last time, it was nap and now it’s past bedtime, so I’d better wrap up.  Hoping all is well with you and yours, love, E.


Author: Ellie

Wife, Mom, Adventurer...

2 thoughts on “August

  1. Great, wonderful post, Ellie. I so appreciate these updates. While it doesn’t substitute for being there, it is the next best thing. I am so happy that you are so happy. What joy. Let’s talk soon.

  2. SO good to read all your news, Ellie. That’s quite a lot for an August that is only 2 week’s old! So many people in England love and appreciate your posts–and the photos of course. Catherine and Donal are particularly pleased to see the little baby sunhat being used. With their fair Irish skin they are very aware of the dangers of too much sun and love that Lu’s head is covered when you’re out and about. Check out the pictures posted by David on Facebook for more on our trip to England. It sounds as though things are all well in your world and I’m very glad for you. I wonder if you even remember some of the tears when we were trying to get Hannah on a regular sleep schedule? I certainly remember how hard that process is on your heart. I think you guys are doing exactly the right thing to follow your hearts and listen hard to your lovely lovely daughter. Much love

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