8 months.

On Monday, my little blue-eyed baby turned 8 months old. Hard to believe that we are SO close to her first birthday. She sits up tall and reaches for things to pull herself up to standing. She throws toys off of her highchair and looks for them on the ground. When her sister can be heard in the other room, she looks for her around the corner. She scoots, army crawls, and wiggles to get herself where she wants to be...in addition to her rolling. She only has two teeth, but is working on the top two. Her hair is thick and can now hold a clip for a little while. She naps twice a day (usually), takes one bottle at night (but is still mostly breastfed), eats three square meals (fruit/cereal, fruit/veg, meat/veg/fruit), and enjoys a baby Mum-Mum once or twice a day. She weighs around 18 pounds (still a little bean). She can say "ma-ma" and prefers to say "da-da." She gives "kisses" on demand and laughs hysterically when tickled or teased. I love spending my days with her and her sister, and am feeling especially lucky to live in this moment that is "her first year."

Tanzania Glenn sends us songs from Africa

Yesterday morning, we woke up to a wonderful message from Glenn (my father-in-law, who's a Peace Corps Volunteer living in Tanzania, Africa). He'd been telling us over the Christmas break that he'd been spending some time writing songs while he's away. He uploaded some of them, and I have to say, they've been stuck in my head since listening to them. Specifically this really, really, really lovely song about his grandkids. There's so much love in my kid's lives. They are some of the luckiest people on the planet.

Write something

So I have this file in my computer called "Write Something." It's where I go when I want to write fearlessly. It's where my most personal thoughts go and become something that isn't mine anymore; that is, they become relatable.

I'm writing today because I need to write. It reminds me that I'm able to be my own person. That I can share something with you guys and maybe it becomes relatable to you. I feel relevant. I feel like I have a place in this crazy word world. 

 I've been in such a great routine. The girls are sleeping well. Behaviors are predictable. Most things come with ease (as much as can be granted with an 8 month old and a five year old). But inside, I've got this sense of urgency to live. To be uber-present. I take pictures so that I'll remember every little life moment. My instagram feed blows up with 11 pictures a day, but that's nothing compared to what's stored on my phone/computer/camera. I want to go outside and lay in the grass and connect with the earth...to get "grounded" literally...to chase my oldest and carry my youngest everywhere we go. 

I feel like a butterfly coming out of the cocoon. Maybe it's because Spring has sprung here in SoCal. Maybe it's because I'm finally coming out of the fog of Sloane's newborn-ness. Maybe it's because we are on the verge of BIG new things with Scout. Maybe it's because I'm at the beginning of a new decade and a new stage in my (parenting) life. 

Whatever it is, I'm embracing it, hoping for the best, and working towards that goal. What's new with you? 


Five years.

Seriously? One day, your birthday will maybe not come as a complete and utter shock to me. Okay, maybe not. This year, you've grown in so many ways.

We moved into a new house a few months after your 4th birthday. Here, in this house that we call home, you've learned to ride a bike (with training wheels). You've learned to put yourself to sleep. You've learned to ride a scooter. You're learning to roller skate. You helped your dad build a video game console in the garage. You love to play like you are riding your bike to Whole Foods to get snacks for us. You helped us decorate for Christmas this year. You wrote a "welcome home sister" sign to hang in our hallway.

You started preschool this year. You have flourished in your time there. You are such a sweet friend and I've never heard anything but praise about your interactions with other kiddos there. You're readying yourself for Kindergarten. You can write almost anything. You're starting to read...sounding out words and recognizing simple ones. It blows our minds when you read words to us.

You are able to do simple life-skill tasks for yourself. You are pretty self-reliable in the bathroom, though you still need help with washing your hair. You can brush your teeth, go potty, and wash your body without much help. You can put a clip or headband in your hair, though you still prefer to have wild, crazy and free hair.

You're quite the fashionista. You know how to put outfits together, and sometimes it's difficult to talk you into a more practical choice so we let you get away with pairing mismatched patterns, fancy dresses with cowgirl boots, and sometimes weather-defying outfits. We love your style. Sometimes, you pick our outfits...and help us become "stylish." You are the first to point out someone's fashion. 

You love to swim....you're in your fifth month of swim lessons. You took your first "survival test" this summer. I was eight or nine months pregnant when you tested. It was slightly terrifying for me. I couldn't believe your ear-to-ear grin after your coach picked you up and threw you in the deep end (!) of the Olympic-size pool...in your clothes and shoes. You went under, and came up and immediately went into your "back-float"....with the biggest smile on your face. Your teacher and all the other coaches in the pool started cheering for you. Your coach jumped in and together, you guys swam to the edge of the pool and had a good time jumping off of the diving platforms. Now you are working on your streamline, and your favorite move is "monkey-airplane-rocket." 

You started ballet (again). We tried last year, but you were SO painfully shy. However, since we moved to Mar Vista, we drive past a dance school every day on our way home from Preschool. At first, I asked if you'd like to try again. You quickly answered with a "no!" But then, as time went by, you started talking about it more and more. Finally, a few weeks ago, you asked us to take you there for a dance class. We tried it and you LOVED it. You stayed in the classroom for the whole hour. You loved everything about it. You played, but you paid attention and learned a lot during the first class. You can't wait to go back. 

Happy birthday, baby girl. (You hate when I call you "Baby." But I do it, regardless...because I kind of love when you say "Mooooom. I'm not a BABY!") 




6 months.

Sitting practice on the morning of your 1/2 birthday

Peas- you love them, despite the silly face

Waving goodbye to Texas (1/3/13)


5 things about babies that are the best

that thing where they smear cereal/food in their eyebrows or hair

that thing where they are so sleepy, and lay their head on your shoulder

that thing where they look at you and you can tell they are trying to say something, but they can't speak yet, and all that comes out is "nananananananana...nana?"

thumb sucking (it's still gross to me, but whatevs...it's pretty stinkin' adorable)

the look they give you when you give them a new food...like "seriously, with this?"




in response

My child is five months old. But I can't write about that because I feel the need to say something else. 

If you bring up the massacre of children in front of my child, I will ask you to stop talking. I want my child to be nervous on her first day of Kindergarten because she's nervous about Kindergarten...NOT because she's worried someone might come into her school and shoot her (I can't believe that is a possibility and I even have to type/say that). Please don't talk about this in front of small children. PLEASE. 

If you have guns in your home, I'll ask you to lock them up or remove them before I'm comfortable bringing my children there. Sorry, that's my way of adjusting to the new normal.  

If you think the answer to violence with guns is MORE guns, I'm making more than mental notes this time. 

If you feel the need to post thoughtless videos/pictures/comments on "ways to stop massacres"....I will remove traces of our friendship (online, in person, whatever...wherever). 

If you think that your right to guns is more important than my child's right to live, I've got a problem with you. 

If you think that it was God's will that led to children being murdered, you're delusional. 

If you think that prayer in school would stop murderers from busting in and killing people, sadly, you're wrong. On that note, also, if you think there isn't prayer in school, you're wrong and need to look at the REAL issues in our schools: EDUCATION. 

In a perfect world, there would be no need for guns. But since we live in a world where they do exist and bad people exist and bad things happen to good people who need to be defended....there is a need for guns. There needs to be laws and regulations and rules for those guns to exist in our society. Take a class. Do a practical exam. Give character statements. Meet certain health requirements. Do it all again in five years. Have a criminal record? No gun for you. Meet all the requirements? Own a gun? LOCK IT UP. 

In the words of my GENIUS husband: "I really, really, REALLY love soccer. But if people started using soccer balls to kill people? I'd be the first to start advocating regulation or banning of soccer balls. Nobody's life is less important than my right to own a gun." 

I've heard several people say that "Guns aren't the issue. If he hadn't used guns, he would've used bombs." If guns aren't the issue...then mental health is. Let's all agree that there is a discussion that needs to happen there. Over the decades, there have been improvements in the ethical treatment of those with mental illness...let's not overlook those, but let's do better. If a person is struggling with a psychotic disorder, say something. Let's get systems in place to protect sick people as well as their potential victims. Let's get a treatment plan together that works. But also, for the record, I'm anti-bomb as well. 

If I seem angry, you're right. I am. I'm angry because I know there will come a day in my child's life when she asks me "why?" And I'm angry that I'll have to EXPLAIN school shootings. I'm angry that on my child's first day of public school...I'm going to be worried about her safety. I'm ANGRY that this isn't the first time a person used a gun to kill children in a school and there's nothing being done about it. 

Friday, I was sad. So sad that I curled up in a ball and wept until I fell asleep. I couldn't look at an adult without wanting to hug and sob on their shoulder. Saturday I was in shock. I didn't want to believe that Friday happened. I ignored the television, the internet, and the newspapers...until I tucked in my kids. Then I read the children's names. I felt sadness again. Today, I woke up angry. I signed petitions. I type with fervor, urgency, and the need to see things done. My hope lies in Monday. 


Scoutings

Oh, my Scout. You're my little laugh-a-minute. 

Last week, we were visiting Texas. I took you and your aunt Allie and cousin Maddie, and of course Sloane to eat at the Salt Lick. Some good 'ol fashioned BBQ before we returned to the land of Baja. We enjoyed a nice meal and then piled back in the car, full of smokey and savory meat, cobbler, cole slaw, and sweet tea. 

Sloane sat in the middle carseat, while you were behind the driver, and Maddie was on the other side. Your sister was having a rare moment where she felt like screaming in the car...the entire way home. So, you went about your Big Sister duties. You tried singing (because it usually works). You tried laughing (hoping that she'd catch on and laugh, too). You tried crying (hoping to "outcry" the baby). You tried giving her a lovey. You tried a pacifier. I think at one point you even offered your own hand for her to chew on (her very favorite thing ever). 

When none of these things worked, you gave up and decided that she was just going to cry for a minute. I turned back and saw you holding her pacifier. You said "it's not working!" I told you that it was fine, that sometimes babies just cry for no reason other than to cry or that we couldn't fix the problem right then. 

The next thing I know, you were laughing...and a in a mischievous voice I heard: "I'm using her slobber to paint her face like an Indian!" 

I'm not sure your sister appreciated it at the moment...but this story will make her smile in years to come. Like, a lot of years.