12.25.2009

My two favorites

These are my two new favorite pics...

MERRRRY CHRISTMAS

What a great first Christmas for Jo! I only have half the pics uploaded, more to come. I love Christmas, but I will say that in a sick, weird way, I prefer the way I feel now to the way I feel on Christmas morning. My house is in order, gifts put away, tree on the curb--- ahhh, feels perfect!

Oops- lights on the tree were off. That will probably haunt me forever about this picture!

Cousin Kevin was unexpectedly able to come home for Christmas- does it get better than that!?!

Aunt Patty wins the best dressed for Christmas 2009- hands down! Thanks to Kevin, we know her dress is PIEBALD (which means, "spotted")

Loving her mom




Thomas goes wild

Watch my nephew Thomas open his gift from matt & katie. It's a shirt. A shirt.

12.15.2009

Jo's first on camera laugh

Duds

Jo's got some hip clothes. Last week we did a little photo shoot trying on some of her faves:
Here she is in a smashing pink vest, courtesy of Aunt Laurie! (Jeans thanks to Sav, though they're a little long & tight yet!)

Cutest ever poncho from Holly & Skyler!

And just a mommy & me pic

12.10.2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Sooo overdue. But this is I think my favorite ever video of Jo. My DAD gave her this big old turkey leg to gnaw on. Watch her reaction when we take it away...

Babies babies babies

Lots of people I know are having BABIES! I was looking back at Jo's newborn pics & wanted to post this video Ash took of Jo, just minutes old. I love her little tiny newborn cry!!! Mike & Becky just had their first baby girl, Holly is due the end of this month, and Tera next month. Here's to baby girls!

12.08.2009

Perfect and Complete

There's some sort of gadget that lets you 'tag' a song you hear on the radio so that next time you're online you can be reminded to purchase the track. Clever and handy. I just wish desperately that someone would invent that for life moments. There's pictures and videos & stuff, but those rarely capture the intensity of how you feel in a given moment. All my life I've worried about forgetting these "little moments" of overwhelming emotion. So to keep forgetfulness at bay I write things down. In most cases, this has proven a precious gift to later rediscover. Now-- the poem I wrote about the boy I was "in love with" in 6th grade? well that is down right humiliating (fyi, it RHYMED. I've since abandoned poetry, which I generally think is super lame, over rated, and a bad excuse to list incomplete thoughts under the guise of "artistic and insightful prose." gag me.) But-- the young and exuberant love letters I wrote Luke in high school? They are from a time in our love where you feel this insane need to explain how and why you love him so much--- before love matures and you can rest in the sweet spot of just knowing he knows how much you love him. So my point is that for recording all these moments, you win some, and you lose some. Mostly I'm winning though.

At any given time I have a mental checklist of things to do- things I experience that would make a good blog (like the funny things my mom has said to me), or things I mean to do online later (like renew my overdue library books, google what road runners look like, and look for used freezers on craigslist). I also keep track of any of those "moments" I need to record. And here's one I've been thinking on lately: nursing and imperfect parenting. So here it goes. And if you're a boy, you may elect not to read further, because it centers around the general theme of lactation.

Jo, for whatever reason, refused to nurse when she was born. Well, she nursed, just not effectively. So after many trips to the lactation consultant (what a job- they are paid to grab boobs all day long, but they are the sweetest women and you feel like hugging them out of thankfulness when you leave!) I elected to start pumping & feeding it to her in a bottle. Aside from the minor sting of insult that comes when a baby prefers Dr. Brown's plastic colic-reducing patented air flow technology over your own breast, the biggest issue was the hassle of pumping. Every three hours because I was so worried my milk supply would deplete.

In the middle of the night it is a fretful inconvenience to try to pump and bottle feed a hungry, crying baby at the same time. Then you have to clean all the pump parts. You have to turn around and go back home if you leave for more than 4 or 5 hrs & forgot your pump. You envy all the other nursing mamas. You see your baby spread her palm on the bottle and feel sad that she's touching plastic and not your skin. You feel completely insufficient when you think about the bad circumstance of being caught without a pump & bottle, but with a hungry baby. It might all seem trivial, but compounded by high expectations of what motherhood would be like plus a tornado of hormones, this added up to disappointment.

Miraculously one day, she figured it out! She was 3.5 months old. I didn't want to get up & warm up milk so I made a half hearted attempt to nurse. She latched on like a pro. What in the world happened??? Who knows. But it was the most awesome gift ever. Not for her- she was FINE being bottle fed- the gift was for me. Here's the gift...

In the middle of the night, she cries. She's not a great sleeper. We've tried every sleeping arrangement in the book- crib in her own room, crib in our room, etc. This is where the imperfect parenting comes in. I am not very consistent. I am not good at doing things "for her own good." I lack in the will power department, and poor Jo will suffer some for that in her life I'm sure. So she sleeps with us. Yeah, there's the whole "co-sleeping" or "attachment parenting" movement. I'd like to say that my philosophy or subscription to these theories led to my behavior. But no, I just bring her to bed because it is easy and it feels right. Call it "Mother's Intuition," if you will. "Mother's Intuition" is a pretty kick-ass thing, by the way. It is more untouchable than your religion. You can't really argue when someone says, "well, this is what I believe." And you definitely cannot argue with a mother's intuition. So I'm going to capitalize on this mother's intuition stuff as much and as often as I can. If I can find a way to redeem it for cash or prizes I'll let you know. Anyhow- under the completely affirming notion of "mother's intuition," this little baby lands in bed with us every night. And here is the blessing I get:

Jo lets out a sad and pathetic little whimper. Silence. Then another. By now I'm up, hovering over her porta-crib to see if she's serious. Serious or not, I miss her, so I bring her in bed. I lay on my side, and she on her side, facing me. She is still mostly asleep, but frantically pawing and mewing like a little kitten looking for milk, which in fact, is exactly what she's doing. Off with my top. Scootch her in, set my head on the pillow. One arm on the bed, stretched out above her head. The other arm laying over her, usually palming her little toosh or softly rubbing her back. The best part is this: I pull my legs up and curl them towards my chest, around her little rear and legs. She is tucked into me, safe in a cocoon of my limbs and body. She may have long since outgrown my womb but she still fits well next to me, a perfect little puzzle piece. And then she nurses blissfully, a hungry little baby reveling in the goodness of milk, mommy warmth and the assurance of absolute safety. ALL of the needs she can express are being met, and perfectly. Not by coincidence, all of MY needs are also being met. What a perfect pairing God created, mommies and babies. She pushes and kneads at me with her hands and feet. Little toes dig into my soft tummy and her legs flex straight as nurses enthusiastically. In these times, late at night with my husband snoring beside me, I feel like THIS is my perfect and complete. And I don't ever, ever want to forget how it feels.

This is a statue my friend Kristen saw in Norway at the Vigeland Sculpture Garden. Click on it to see in more detail. I LOVE this for the completely un-self-aware look on the mom's face as she adores her child. The sculpture was one in a series of "circle of life" pieces, Kristen did a beautiful job captioning the photos in her blog post here: http://kpittyinthecity.blogspot.com/2009/10/oslo.html

12.03.2009

Man Love

My friend sarah was looking @ some pics I had. She said, "man- your brother likes to cuddle...guys." This set me off looking through my pictures to find TONS of pictures of jack giving bear hugs. If he's not trying to eat babies he's trying to hug boys, I guess.










My favorite ash & chris wedding pics


I love this picture.


This is also good. Very true to life.

Dad helping Ash w/her wedding shoes- for lots of fun, click on the pic & pay close attn to her pinky toe. Why does it not touch the ground??? We call it her kickstand toe...in case she gets off balance it catches her.

Hay pictures- are we good looking or what?

Well at least jo is thrilled.

mi familia

Did I already blog this pic? if so, too bad. worth posting twice. why is jack in the middle? it isn't his wedding day!? Oh! I remember- we picked the shortest person in the family & put him in the center.

So happy- this is chris' happy face

I like this one- this is EXACTLY how my dad looks when he is telling a story during the funny part. You can tell he's talking but the corners of his mouth are smiling too. I love my dad.

12 smacks

Not to brag...but I got all this for 12 bucks with coupons. the bogo (that's "buy one get one" for you non-couponers) lasagnas were excellent.

11.22.2009

I'd Put My Name On This...

I'm not a paid celebrity. I'm endorsing this stuff for FREE...
1. Jesus (how could I NOT start with him? Also because God doesn't like coming second to peanut butter). Jesus has changed my life for eternity. A simple truth introduced to me by my best friend: jesus died for you. he paid for your mistakes. acknowledge it, be thankful for it. ask for christ to live in you. in return? a spiritual sigh of relief, a joy that is light in your soul, and the assurance of eternity with jesus. It doesn't get better than this, friends.

2. Peanut butter. Not with jelly, and NEVER on bananas (that would be gross.) I endorse peanut butter mixed in with your evening bowl of rocky road ice cream. For best results, smear it on the bottom of the bowl so you can enjoy a little with each bite.


3. Sonicare toothbrushes. Well worth the $130. The comparison between sonicare & manual tooth brushes is like the difference between a long, hot shower and a sponge bath with dirty water. It tickles at first but you get over after a few brushes.


4. The Snot Sucker. Its less catchy technical name is "Graco Baby BebeSounds" and it costs $18. I bought this because Jo passionately protested the bulb syringe and I needed to be able to get her boogers out. Quite possibly the most frustrating thing as a parent is seeing a booger but not being able to get it out. The snot sucker makes it all possible- like a mini shop vac for your child's nostrils. It plays music (genius) which totally distracts Jo and has a clear booger receptacle which can be taken apart & cleaned.

5. Aveeda Phomollient, $12. This hair foam is super light, kind of like mousse but without the crunchiness. You put it on your hair before you dry it & it adds volume & helps hold curl better. I've never seen a product like this, nor have I ever used any mousse, gel or spray with as good of results. I can hear you naysayers naysaying, "Um, Michelle like never does her hair." True. But when I do it looks good and that is thanks to Aveeda Phomollient.

6. America's Funniest Home Videos, Sunday Evenings on ABC. No matter what is going on in my life, I can always count on AFV to make me laugh out loud. I delight in this show.

7. COUPONING. Oh my, couponing has changed my life. Besides saving ridiculous amounts of money, this has become a hobby...maybe an obsession. I have stockpiles of deoderant, shampoo, razors, toothpaste, hamburger helper, bacon, pillsbury crescent rolls, etc. I have hoards of things that will be donated to charities this winter, and today at Fred Meyer I gave two women coupons for items I saw in their cart. Is that weird? It sounds creepy when I type it out but I assure you it was a friendly thing done in passing- I wasn't stalking people and invading their personal cart space or anything.

8. Hanna Andersson Swedish Moccasins, $14. Jo's got really small feet, and I feel bad squishing her expressive little feetsies in stiff bottomed shoes. These moccasins were given to me as a gift and probably not something I would have bought otherwise. But they are a life saver! They STAY on her feet and fit before Robeez would have. I highly recommend them!

9. http://www.stephaniekleinphotography.com/ My photographer. I say that like I own her, but I don't. You can use her too. She is great- sweet, flexible, talented, inexpensive, and she gives you all the images on a CD for printing at your leisure. She has done my maternity pics, newborn pics, my sister's wedding, etc. All amazing.
10. Saint Andre Triple Creme Brie. This stuff is spendy ($10+/lb) but worth every penny. It is found at Whole Foods/New Seasons, and on occasion I see it at Albertson's/Safeway/etc. It is like eating cheese flavored butter. It is my favorite cheese of all time. I like it smeared at room temperature on crusty kalamata olive bread. yum.

11. Mrs. Neushin's Pickles, $5-6. I love pickles almost as much as I love cheese. All my life I have loved pickles, so imagine my surprise when upon meeting Luke's family, I'm introduced to these delicious treats. Sadly I couldn't find a pic of them on google & I am too lazy to go photograph the ones in my fridge, but they are a blue & red labeled jar in the pickle aisle, usually only a few jars at the bottom at Alberstons or Fred Meyer. They're not widely distributed, and they are expensive for pickles, but they have the best flavor ever. A distinct bite that is especially enhanced when paired with a chunk of tillamook cheddar. Mouthwatering.


Overheard at Starbucks...

Bringing his coffee back to the table, a man said to his friend:
"Our cats would like this music!"

11.17.2009

jack: please do not eat my baby.

For some reason Jack's go-to pose for photos is "I'm gonna eat the baby." I'm not sure how to interpret this, except to wonder if he is a cannibal. I hope not.
Gross jack.

Seriously?

Now she's out, but I would still rather you didn't eat her

Going in for the kill

Slightly more appetizing...

oops- now look who's getting nibbled on!