An Update, Because I Have Nothing Better to Discuss

Why, hello there.

It’s been a while. Or at least, it feels like it has. I’ve been so busy lately and I just haven’t had the energy, ability, or desire to write something worthwhile. At least not here, in this venue. But I’m feeding Poppy right now while binge-watching Army Wives, and I thought it would be a good time to pop in for a quick update on all the happenings in the Dash home.

So, here we go…


  • My mom left on Monday after spending eleven days with us. It was a glorious visit filled with lots of fun and laughter and very little strife, but I was on the go every second she was here. There were days I was only at home to sleep. I am exhausted. And lonely once again now that she is gone. Getting back into our old routine is always a little hard.
  • Breastfeeding continues and I donate hundreds of ounces every month to a set of twins who were born just a week after Poppy. Have I mentioned that before? I’m glad my body does this one thing right. And thankful that is has helped me to reach my goal weight earlier than I ever have postpartum, despite the copious amounts of sugar I’ve been eating. Breastfeeding cravings are seriously no joke!
  • Another essay of mine will be published on Scary Mommy on June 15th. This one will be published under “Anonymous” (to protect my kids) and is a bit more controversial than the last. I’m nervous about some of the hate it will surely get, but plan to brush it off and embrace the moment.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. This is really another post for another day, but I’m getting the itch to start “trying” again. We’ll be waiting until next spring, but I feel hopeful and scared and anxious for it all at once. I’m ready for it. But I’m not. But I am. But I’m not. And on and on it goes and always, at the back of my mind, there’s the question of whether I’ll ever even have the chance to have a fourth, ready or not.


  • We should hear any day or minute about what kind of raise or promotion he will or will not be getting. He recently retained a mega-million-dollar account for his company and worked his ass off to do it, so we’re hopeful they will compensate him accordingly and we will be deeply disappointed if they decide not to.
  • He’s always and ever an incredible husband and father. Hard-working. Jovial. Steady. The rock of our family. I’m the one who stays at home and yet he does so much to help me. Every day, I am reminded how lucky I am.


  • She is about to graduate from preschool and I feel excited and a teensy sad to be staring kindergarten straight in the face. She looks forward to school every day, though, and I really, really hope that continues. It reminds me so much of myself.
  • That Scary Mommy essay I mentioned earlier? It’s about her. About how difficult it can be to be her mother, with the amount of attitude and grief that she throws at me on a daily basis. I really hope I don’t regret being so very honest in such a public format. Mom-guilt is real and constant and I’m already feeling it over this. Especially considering that, since writing this, she hasn’t given me many problems at all. I’m thankful for that, but it’s also very…curious. Could she be outgrowing it, after all? Or am I just immune to it after all these years?
  • The other day, she said to me out of the blue, “Mommy, I know you want another baby, but if you can’t have one, I’ll let you play with some of my dolls.” If only it were that easy, sweetheart. If only. And also…please don’t let this be some sign of what is — or is not — to come.


  • We just embarked on potty-training not long ago. We haven’t had many successes yet, but not many accidents either. Apparently, this kid has a bladder of steel.
  • She’s starting to talk, act, look, and walk more like a little girl than a baby. It breaks my heart, but I am enjoying every minute of this age with her. Everything she does is adorable. My favorite is when she dramatically throws herself onto the floor and says, “It’s no fair!” Any guesses where she learned that from?


  • Still no teeth. Still screaming in the middle of some nights and at random times during the day as if they will be arriving any moment. And he’s also taken to clamping down — hard — while nursing. This period of teething is so fun.
  • In the last week, he has gone from rolling around and getting stuck in odd places and then screaming for help to efficiently army crawling and getting to exactly what he wants. The dog food & water bowls now remain on the countertop during Poppy’s waking hours.
  • He had a prolonged cough and wheeze for months and there was talk of asthma, but the cough and wheeze are now almost entirely gone. Fingers crossed they stay that way!


  • We have started the home selling/buying process. At three bedrooms and 1500 square feet, we are maxed out on space here. I feel sentimental over leaving the only home our three children have ever known, a home that has seen me through some of my best and worst life moments, but we desperately need more space. I’m excited for what is to come, but I feel overwhelmed and stressed about the whole process. There’s so much to do! And how does anyone accomplish all of it with KIDS?!
  • Poppy and I will be flying to Idaho in a few weeks to visit my mom for a long weekend. And, later in the summer, we have two short beach getaways planned. We really should be spending our weekends and money getting our house ready to be put on the market, but quality family time is important. Or at least that’s what I tell myself every time I start to feel guilty about it.

So with all of that going on, I’m not really sure when I’ll be returning here. It may be in a week, or a month, or a year. I want this to be a place I can turn to, a release, a diary, but not an obligation. I’ll be back, maybe at the peak of craziness when I crave a shoulder to lean on, or maybe once the dust settles. This summer is going to be a whirlwind. And no matter what yours has in store for you, I hope you all are able to take a few minutes to enjoy a mojito and the sun on your face. Life is beautiful. Even when it’s hard, it’s beautiful.

Be well, friends. I’ll see you again soon. xo

Siblings Side-by-Side

Friends, I try to never let more than a week or two go by without checking in here, but I’m finding that’s getting harder and harder. I’m busier these days and also, apparently, I’m running out of things to say. Poppy did just turn six months, though, and as soon as I get his 6-month photos back, I’ll do a post to update you all about our insanely sweet, social, smiley, and silly baby boy.

Today, though, I wanted to share a comparison photo of our three little ones. I posted this on Facebook and thought it would be fun to do the same here:

That’s Cupcake on the left in 2011, Skittle in the middle in 2014, and Poppy on the right just a couple weeks ago, all of them taken around the age of six months. See the resemblance?? I’ve always thought Poppy looks more like Cupcake did as a babe, but in this side-by-side, I feel he looks more like Skittle. And, at the same time, has his own unique look.

What do you think? And for those of you who have more than one child, did your babies look alike in infancy? Do they resemble each other now?

#MicroblogMondays: Sister-Friends

On Saturday, our family of five drove three hours one way for my niece’s birthday party. Cah-razy. But it was a fun event at a cool pizza parlor that had bumper cars, a bouncy house, a ginormous play structure (I can’t even adequately describe to you how BIG it was or how HIGH those slides were) and a small corner filled with a bunch of toys for the littlest ones.

My two-year-old, however, wanted nothing to do with that corner and, instead, really, really wanted to play on that play structure that was “recommended” for four and up. And at the same time, there were so many big kids there and it was such a confusing maze inside, she was scared to go alone. So we asked her five-year-old sister if she might be willing to take Skittle along with her and wouldn’t you know it, she said yes with such gusto, that alone was shocking as she is the type of kid who typically says no to any request we make on principal alone, I think.

And then we watched as those two sisters spent the next two hours climbing up and sliding down that play structure together, working as a team to help little Skittle get from one tall platform to the next (Cupcake would go first and then slide her arms under Skittle’s armpits and pull her up), relying on one another to find their way through the maze of colorful steel pipes, trusting each other totally. It brought tears to my eyes to see and made every squabble over who would hold my left hand and which DVD we would watch on the drive home worth it. For those two hours, they were sisters, partners, and best friends. It was the most beautiful thing.

Update: 37 Weeks and Not Yet Ready

I’m 37 weeks now, which sounds and seems INSANE, and it’s time for another update. There’s so much happening around here! Let’s make this easy. Bullet-point easy:

  • I’m feeling really, really good so far. I think I look HUGE, but I feel fantastic. So far, no hemorrhoid flare-ups. The nausea is FINALLY gone. I’m tired, but not overly so. Still sleeping pretty well at night. No swelling. Sometimes achy, but it comes and goes. I’m good! And it’s amazing. Earlier in this pregnancy, I was miserable. Now? Not so much. And fingers are crossed that this continues right up until delivery day…
  • I had another prenatal appointment today. My blood pressure has been mostly really great (around 105/65). Until today. Today, it was 130/70. That’s not that high and my doctor seemed un-phased by it, but it’s got me feeling pretty down. I remember my last pregnancy and the high BP numbers and the multiple NSTs and twice weekly appointments and growth ultrasounds and tears and stress and worry… We’re in the home stretch of this pregnancy now, much later than I was when my BP first went in the crapper while pregnant with Skittle, so I’m feeling fairly confident that this won’t get out of control. But still. I really just want everything to go smoothly. Just this once. Guess we’ll just wait and see what next week brings.
  • I’m starting to worry that, after this baby comes and especially after my mom goes home (she’ll be with us for five weeks, starting on Sept 30), I’m going to feel very isolated and alone on a day-to-day basis. I don’t have a lot of local friends, and even less since my mother’s group kind of fell apart and Lillian ended our friendship. And it will be cold/flu season, which means even less opportunities to see the friends we do have because it seems someone is always sick. So I’ll be at home all day with three kids and no adult conversation and possibly trapped there for weeks on end because of all the germs…that sounds like a desperately lonely place to be in. And I’m not sure what to do about it. ūüė¶
  • I’m not quite ready for this boy to arrive yet! Hospital bags are packed and I’m making progress on the nursery, but it’s not DONE. And I really want it done before he gets here! And I want to make some truffles to put in the freezer, finish some party decorations for Cupcake’s 5th birthday (in November) so that I don’t have to complete them after Poppy’s arrival, stock up on a few more baby boy clothes, prep the diaper bag, crochet several more baby hats (I’m going a little crazy with that!), and fit in a few more nights out with friends. I’m planning for him to arrive a week or two after my due date, which of course means he’ll be coming early, right?! Really hoping that’s not so!
  • Because this pregnancy has seemed to drag, I’ve been expecting to feel very ready for it to be over. For this baby to be here. So far, that’s not the case. Instead, I’m feeling a little sad that this time is coming to an end. I’m excited to meet our son, but sad that this magical, mystical, mysterious, precious experience is nearly over. We plan to try for one more baby after this one, but my child-bearing years are drawing to a close. I don’t have many (or maybe any?) times that lay ahead where I will get to relive this. That’s a relief, on one hand, and very, very bittersweet on the other.
  • I’m also feeling that I’m still struggling a bit with the thought of having a boy. Remember this post? I thought most of those feelings had passed. And maybe they had, but now they are returning as we get closer and closer to delivery day. Does this make me an awful person and an awful mother? I fear it does. I’m ashamed and embarrassed to feel this way. It’s very hard to admit that I do, even on this blog. Or especially on this blog. I’m now clinging to the hope that, should we be so lucky to have a fourth child, it will be a girl. But if it’s not? I fear I’ll want to try for a 5th. Or a 6th. Or a 7th. Until I get just one more baby girl. Which is ridiculous, I know. And I hate feeling like that. Feeling like we HAVE to have another baby in order for me to be happy and our family to be complete. Even more, I hate feeling like any baby — this one or the next or the next — is not enough. Because he is! This baby is enough. More than enough. A miracle. A gift. A dream come true in a multitude of ways. I owe him better than my heart is giving right now, and I hate that. I hate me…and yet this is honest. Maybe more honest than I’ve ever been. This probably deserves its own post rather than a simple bullet point, but I just feel like I have to say this right now or maybe I never will. I love this baby — and that’s a plain and simple truth too — but I’m scared I don’t or won’t love him enough. I’m scared that this mixed bag of feelings will make the bonding more difficult, that I won’t bond as quickly, as deeply, or as fiercely. I’m scared that my ingrained, cultural, stereotypical ideas of what it means to be a man will keep me from giving this sweet child all my affection and the freedom to feel his emotions as he should. And I’m scared that this is just the perfect storm for some form of postpartum depression to find its way into my life after Poppy arrives, especially if he ends up being a difficult baby or I begin to feel as isolated and lonely as I fear I will. Please don’t think I’m a horrible person. Or maybe you should, because that’s what I deserve. But my great hope is that a natural birth and some prolonged skin-to-skin contact will make me more bonded to this baby boy than I ever imagined possible….that I will feel my undying love for him instantly in the very depths of my soul and all of these fears will be washed away with the tears I will surely cry. I pray for that every day.
  • On a much happier note, we spent our recent holiday weekend on a beach getaway on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. It was positively lovely. We spent time exploring the beach every day. I crocheted on the deck of our rental house while the girls napped. We drove into the mountains, took a little hike and met some wild deer. We also fed some domesticated deer, and smelled some yak breath, and got slobbered on by bison, and more. (That was all at a game farm — don’t think we have wild bison and yak roaming around here!) We relaxed, and ate too much, and laughed, and played, and snuggled, just the four of us. It felt like the grand finale to being a family of four…a sweet, happy ending. A perfect ending. I couldn’t have asked for much more.

So that’s it for me! For now. But I’ll be back with more updates soon (I’m sure?) and a letter to Poppy (I hope). Hoping the start of September is being good to all of you! And tell me, who is excited for fall? And who’s sad for summer to end?!?! It’s surely a mix of both here, though I do love me some pumpkin spice lattes, warm sweaters, candy corn, and changing leaves…

And now I’ll leave you with a few photos from our little weekend getaway:

So many deer in the mountains!

So many deer in the mountains!

Cupcake and Honey, stopping to enjoy the view on our mountain hike

Cupcake and Honey, stopping to enjoy the view on our mountain hike

Gorgeous view from the mountaintop!

Gorgeous view from the mountaintop!

Oooo, those eyelashes! I'm slightly obsessed with photographing them.

Oooo, those eyelashes! I’m slightly obsessed with photographing them.

Lady in Red...

Lady in Red…

Hello, Mr. Yak.

Hello, Mr. Yak.

The view from our back deck...see the lighthouse in the distance?

The view from our back deck…see the lighthouse in the distance?

Crocheting with a view

Crocheting with a view

One of Cupcake's favorite parts of the trip...finding and burying treasure on the beach.

One of Cupcake’s favorite parts of the trip…finding and burying treasure on the beach.

My sweet little family, our puppy Junebug included.

My sweet little family, our puppy Junebug included.

Cupcake adored her walk with Junebug on the beach.

Cupcake adored her walk with Junebug on the beach.

morning sunrise

morning sunrise

The view from our front porch...see the hot air balloon?

The view from our front porch…see the hot air balloon?

a crane, at low tide

a crane, at low tide

Honey...calf-deep at

Honey…calf-deep at “low tide”

One of many hand-in-hand walks Skittle and Honey took on the beach

One of many hand-in-hand walks Skittle and Honey took on the beach

Skittle: 26lbs of Sugar

Note: If you want to read my post about Skittle’s big sister Cupcake, go here.

Ah, Skittle.

She’s a glorious 22 months old (nearly) now, but it’s so hard to describe a young toddler. To really capture who they are. Because they are a little bit of everything at this age. Unlike with Cupcake, who is almost five and whose core personality is probably shaped by now (or so the experts say), Skittle is still in the malleable phase of development. Everything she encounters and everything she does, every person who walks in and out of her life, is impacting who she is right now. She’s ever-changing and, at this point, it’s hard to know if the things she does/says/enjoys/etc are going to last beyond tomorrow.¬† Is she like this because of her age or because this is who she truly is? I only have Cupcake to compare her to and, though they have proven to be complete opposites as one-year-olds, that’s still not much to go on.

But what I can tell you with great conviction is this: Skittle is the perfect moniker for her. Because she’s all sugar. So sweet, my teeth ache. Her favorite thing in the world are baby dolls, followed closely by babies (the real thing) and dogs (“Gog!” she will screech whenever she sees one, whether it be on TV or at the park or outside the car window or a stuffed animal at the toy store). And the tenderness with which she will wrap her dollies in a blanket and then rock them or feed them melts my heart every time. The other day, I loved watching as she tucked her “Toby” baby in with a pillow and a book and then gave him a kiss and hug before waving to him as she walked away and let him nap. She’s like that to just about everyone and everything. Everybody gets a kiss and hug before bedtime (or before saying good-bye, even if I’m just taking a shower or going out to get the mail), including the dog. It wasn’t long ago that Skittle went through a phase of not wanting many hugs or kisses, but that has since passed. She now loves to snuggle, especially when she gets hurt, or is sad (but never mad), and right before bedtime and right after naptime. When I’m putting her to bed, I will turn off the lights while rocking her in the chair and so sweetly she will say, “Mom mom” over and over again, looking into my eyes with all the trust and love and peace that her tender heart can hold. And lately, she’s been bringing me my Boppy pillow (which we haven’t used in eight months) and wanting to lie on that while I hold her in my lap like a baby. She’s absolutely full of cuddles right now (I wonder if she feels the changes happening in our home?) and I treasure it. And the love that she has for other people! At playgroups, I have seen her quite literally throw herself into the arms of mothers she has never met before. She will offer kisses when she hardly knows someone. And just a couple days ago, we had dinner with her nana (my Honey’s stepmom) and she was so full of hugs and smooches and giggles for her nana, even though we only see her about once each year and neither of my girls really know her at all. (Cupcake, on the other hand, made it very clear how much she did not like Nana that day.) Skittle’s lack of stranger anxiety is strange to me, but incredible as well. And if she sees someone cry, her first response is always, “Hug?” or even more, “Hug. Hug! Hug!” as she forces it upon the person in distress. Like I said, just pure sugar. So loving. So sweet.

And going hand-in-hand with all this sweetness…she’s a happy girl. Happy. Relaxed. Chill. Easy. Basically, the exact opposite of her sister. And while I do appreciate the unique brand of drama that Cupcake adds to my life, it’s nice to have a break from it too. Because for the most part, Skittle just goes with the flow and she always has, content to do just about anything as long as she has someone to do it with. She was the happiest, easiest baby in the world. An excellent sleeper and not giving me one bad day or night until well after her first birthday when she became very ill with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. She’s a breath of fresh air. And because she is so laid-back, it means that if we miss naptime or don’t get her to bed on time or can’t stick to our normal routine, it’s not the end of world. She just goes with it. It has made adding a second kid to our family so tremendously easy. I know…we’re lucky! (Please know that I really, really know this and am incredibly thankful for it and do not take it for granted.)¬† We have yet to experience an epic tantrum with her and it’s hard to imagine, but even as she was in the thick of her worst eczema flare-up ever at around 8 months old (it was truly awful, head-to-toe, oozing and weeping wounds…I didn’t even know it could get that bad until it did), she was still my smiley girl. The fact that she was having some mildly fussy periods is actually one thing that propelled me to seek help because it was just so unlike her. And anytime we take her to the doctor (between her allergies, eczema, and regular check-ups, she sees many, many doctors), she just lets them poke and prod her without saying a single boo. She opens her mouth when they ask, stands still on the scale upon request, and lies down on the table as directed. It’s truly amazing, especially for this age. Unless she’s badly teething or sleeping somewhere new at night (a weird, out-of-character thing that makes her really, really not happy!), she’s calm. She’s happy. She’s joyful. That’s just who she is.

Skittle is also incredibly fearless. She will climb on anything — our kitchen table, a bookshelf, the monkey bars. She was going down “big girl slides” before she could walk. She is constantly flinging herself from our coffee table onto the sofa and jumping from our sofa ottoman onto the floor. “Splash!” she loves to say afterwards. Which is sort of ironic because the one place she isn’t fearless is in the water. She’s not a fan. Bathtime is fun. Pooltime is okay if I hold her the entire time and she doesn’t go above her waist. Lakes are only good for toe-dipping. And she wants nothing to do with the ocean. She’s no water baby, but on land she is a physical child who uses her body in amazing ways. She’s been doing somersaults (like real, textbook somersaults!) for months now and is always surprising us with the places she gets herself in to and on to. Because of this, she’s had nasty cuts, goose eggs, a black eye, and a smashed finger (that lost it’s fingernail a month later!) already. It’s rather frightening to be the mother of a kid who has no fear (and exhausting trying to keep up with her!), but I mostly try to stay out of her way, because there is so little that stops her and so much she is capable of doing if I only allow her to do it.

And she’s smart. Not in the she’s-not-yet-two-and-knows-the-name-of-every-president kind of way, but just in how much she absorbs from the world around her without us even trying to teach it to her. She knows words (what they mean, not how to say them) that I had no idea she knew until I speak them aloud and she finds a way to express that she knows what I’m saying. In fact, though her verbal skills are probably just average, the amount of things she can understand blows me away. I can give almost any direction to her, whether it be one step or five steps and easy or complicated, and she will follow through. And she uses that clever little brain of hers for frequent problem solving too. She is constantly coming up with unique ways to do things that I never saw her sister do at this age. Only have two hands and need to carry four or five objects? No problem! She’ll use both hands and her mouth, and then tuck whatever else needs to be carried under her chin, under her armpit, and between her chubby thighs if needed. And it’s been months now since she began pushing a chair over to the kitchen counter so she can help with cooking…or so she can play in the sink when she gets bored. We never taught her to do that. She just figured it out on her own.

She’s a busy, task-oriented little bee too! She always has “projects” that she’s working on, whether it be setting out her toy plastic plates and then matching the cups, bowls, and silverware to them (and then filling them with plastic food for “Mom Mom” and “Dad dad”), or lining up all of her sister’s small plastic animals on the coffee table, or making sure each one of her Little People get a turn on the swing. The amount of careful concentration with which she does things is astounding.

But for all of Skittle’s sweetness, she does have an occasional fierce side. That’s to say, she has a bit of a temper. She easily grows frustrated when something doesn’t work as she intends for it to, like when she can’t get one of Cupcake’s Calico Critters to stand up, or when the block doesn’t fit into the hole as she thinks it should, or when she’s unable to open up a container that she really wants to break into. And when she gets mad, things go flying. As in, she throws them. My husband always says, “Just like her mama” because it’s possible that I have been known to throw things too. And also like her mama, when she’s mad, Skittle does not want to be touched, or hugged, or comforted. Just leave her alone and she snaps out of it quickly (maybe much more so than her mama, ahem!).

But this isn’t all that Skittle is. So much other “stuff” goes into making up her true essence. Things like:

  • She’s no delicate flower…more like a bulldozer. If you or anything else is in her way, she just plows on ahead with little regard to it. So watch your toes and computer and anything else in her path. Though I will say, it did amaze me just the other day with the quiet care that she spent sloooooowly walking to me as she carried a plate of toy food across the room. It never spilled and I was stunned.
  • The most commonly used word to describe Skittle is “mellow.”
  • She’s fascinated by her belly button and absentmindedly pulls at it
  • She loves to look at the photos on the back of my camera. Whenever I take one of her, she cocks her head like a pup who is trying to make sense of what you’re saying and says, “Ah! Ah! Ah!” until I show her the photo I just took.
  • Recently, she has become a terribly picky eater. She says “uck” to about 3/4 of what I offer her. Which is annoying enough on its own, but is even more troublesome for us because she already has a limited diet. Thanks to a multitude of food allergies, she has to avoid egg whites, dairy, and nuts (going to her allergist again soon and fingers are crossed that she has outgrown some of these!), so there’s already so much she can’t have! And now with the toddler pickiness setting in, foods that she once loved (grapes, toast, pureed fruits and veggies, rice and beans, and more) are now deemed as not worthy and it’s exhausting trying to find something she can and will eat.
  • The one food she loves and will consistently chow down is hot dogs. (Yuck. I can’t stand them and, though I buy the best quality ones that I can get my hands on, I still shudder a bit at the thought of my kids eating them. But oh, well. Sometimes you just gotta let things go.) She requests them at every meal: “Hot dog? Hot dog! Hot DOG! Dip! Dip? HOT DOG! DIP! Hot dog?”
  • This girl loves to eat. She’s constantly asking for food by pointing to her mouth and saying “Uh uh uh” (something new to me, since her sister really only started asking for food in the last year or so — I know, that’s weird too). Of course, once offered to her, half of it is rejected. BUT! If you can find that right thing — that “num num” thing — she will eat and eat and eat. I think, at a recent family reunion, she ate nearly a whole box of Wheat Thins on her own. I normally try to encourage healthier foods, but there are times (like around family, who are eating the same things) when you just have to say “Whatever.”
  • She randomly licks things. Like my foot. Or a library book. Or the dirty window. I know. My children are gross.
  • She loves to run from me at bedtime, giggling as she hides in a corner, behind a chair, or under a table, until I have to bend over and lift her 26lbs off the floor. Not easy for this mama with a big belly! I’ve tried waiting her out, but her patience and stamina extend waaaaaay beyond mine.
  • Everything her sister does, she wants and tries to do, too — from climbing to the top bunk bed, to doing handstands on the couch, to brushing her teeth and then spitting in the sink. Adorable, but not always practical.
  • One of her favorite ways to spend her time is coloring. For whatever reason, she calls it “lie” and will stand at the at gate to our craft room demanding, “lie lie lie liiiiiiiiiie” until we give her the box of crayons and a coloring book.
  • She may not like to be in the water, but she does love to drink it and play with it. We have an adult water bottle that we keep in the fridge for her and she will often call for her “wa” from across the house. And when she’s done drinking it for the moment, she’s been known to then squeeze the water into her toy cups, buckets, and all over the carpet. We find puddles of water throughout the house on a regular basis.
  • She loves to make people laugh. She will make a funny face or do a silly dance and then look at you out of the corner of her eye to see if you’re watching and how you’re reacting. The look alone is enough to crack me up.
  • She positively adores her daddy. (He’s, by far, the favorite in this house and I’m totally fine with that.) Before she could walk, she would crawl across the room saying, “Dada dada dada” when he came home from work. Now, she waves at him out the window and squeals his name as she runs full speed to him. She loves him to read to her, hold her, tickle her, snuggle her, dance with her…basically anything. She worships him.
  • She may not have much stranger anxiety or any qualms about loving on someone whom she doesn’t know, but she does seem to be a bit socially cautious, mostly in group settings. Unlike her sister, who will confidently walk into a room and “own” it without a second glance at me or her dad, Skittle stays close (or often, in my arms) until she feels very comfortable. She observes quietly, solemnly, taking it all in. And only once she has done that, will she let me go and wander away, often returning every now and then to touch base and “check in.”
  • She likes to set up place settings for us on the coffee table with her toy dishes. And yes, there’s always one for Daddy, even when he’s at work.
  • She’s weirdly intrigued by my nipples and by the moles that I have scattered across my body. She loves for me to lift up my shirt so that she can pinch them or try to pull them off.
  • When she gets excited about something, she pants like a dog.
  • She loves wearing necklaces. We took a trip to Hawaii earlier this year and brought along a bag full of beaded necklaces. They entertained her for 30 minutes or more — putting them on one-by-one, then taking them off, then putting them on again, and on and on it went…
  • When she falls down (which happens a lot as she races from one place to another), she always points to her knee and says “Boo boo.” There’s usually no booboo in sight.
  • She smacks her lips together to indicate she wants a kiss since she hasn’t learned how to say the word yes. This is one of my favorite little Skittle-isms because it is so unbearably sweet the way she does it. And sometimes, she will look at me across the room and blow me a kiss or smack the air. I love that she is compelled to give random kisses even when she’s in the middle of playing hard.
  • When driving in the car, if we stop at a red light, from the backseat Skittle will say, “Goooo. Go. Go. Go. Gooooo.” And over and over it goes until the light changes green. Apparently she inherited my sense of impatience as well.
  • I am seeing a bit of the “terrible two’s” awakening in her. She’s still happy and calm and agreeable nearly all of the time, but there are moments when she has a strong opinion that I (and not her father) am the one who is to give her water cup to her, or that she needs both the box and the bag of crayons to color with not just one or the other, or that her sister really cannot touch her or be near her or even look at her. So far, it’s really not terrible at all. Just amusing to watch this side of toddlerhood come alive in such a docile child.

So that’s Skittle. She’s a wonder to me, always so sweet and a unique mix of caution and throwing caution to the wind. She is bold and brave in places where her sister is not, and yet unexpectedly reserved and unsure in other situations. She is always impressing me, surprising me, and making me laugh. She adds so much to the dynamic of our family, unbridled joy and a quiet peace, and I sometimes wonder who would we be, each of us, if things had never worked out for us those two or three years ago, when it felt like we may never bring another child into existence.

Thankfully, we’ll never know. She’s here and she’s wonderful in all the ways a child can be and I’m glad it’s her, precisely her, whom God gave to us. She’s just what we needed in our lives.

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Oh, My Heart….

Just had to share this sweet photo of my two girls. In my last post, I mentioned wanting to share with all of you something meaningful, something that matters. Well if ever a post like that exists for me, this is it. These two matter. More than anything. They are my reason for everything.


Hope all of you reading this in the U.S. had a happy and safe 4th of July! xo

Sticky and Stuck

I’m feeling stuck. I can’t decide what to write here, or if I should write nothing or everything. Should I give pregnancy updates? Talk about my day-to-day with Cupcake and Skittle? Get philosophical on what it means to be a mother, or infertile? Get sentimental and remember the baby I lost, but haven’t forgotten? I sometimes think I should participate in Microblog Mondays, but I usually don’t even think of it until Monday night and then it just seems like too much work.

I think part of the problem is that I want to write something meaningful — something that matters — and I’m not sure this is the right place for that, or if what matters to me matters to anyone else. And honestly, I don’t even know what matters to me right now. I have two kids and another on the way, and I’m just tired and rushed and a bit overwhelmed, and writing anything coherent seems like a daunting task. And it’s really hot here in the Pacific NW, where A/C is not really the norm inside homes (including ours), so I’m not just stuck, I’m sticky. With sweat. And unmotivated to do much of anything because of it.

See, I have a lot of excuses for my lack of content, but none of them really mean anything, do they? So just please bear with me as I try to figure this out. I’m not sure if I’ll be writing more or less in the coming weeks, but I promise you I will continue writing as I feel inspired to do so. And many thanks to all of you who have stuck around. Whether you lurk in the shadows or comment on every post, I feel your love and appreciate your support.

While I’m here, let me give a brief(-ish) pregnancy update in an easy-peasy bullet point format:

  • I just began my third trimester (depending on who you ask). I’m 27 weeks as of yesterday.
  • I’m still struggling with “morning sickness.” It’s better than it was in the first trimester, but I suffer through periods of nausea several times a week still. I vomited just tonight, right after dinner, per my usual once-a-week meet and greet with the porcelain throne. It kind of blows my mind since it was never like this in my last pregnancies. I hardly had any sickness with Skittle and, though I often felt very nauseous with Cupcake, it was gone by 13 weeks. And yet here I am, at 27 weeks, with vivid memories of what the inside of our toilet looks like. Crazy.
  • Besides the nausea AND my severe seasonal allergies, I’m feeling pretty good. Tired, but not terribly so. The headaches that I was having for a good few weeks are gone now. I don’t have the same shortness of breath or leaky bladder that I did in my last pregnancy, and no blood pressure spikes or hemorrhoid flare-ups yet (though I am fully expecting both of those to come knocking at my door down the road).
  • Emotionally, I’m feeling pretty strong and serene. I have my moments certainly, and I can feel my anxiety creep from my stomach to my chest to my throat when this baby has been too quiet for too long, but I’m managing to keep it mostly under control. Hourly kick counts help. And by “hourly,” I mean every hour that I’m awake of every day, I keep a tally sheet of how many times Poppy kicks, and I have been for the last seven weeks. I know it’s a bit insane — proof that I’m by no means “normal” when it comes to pregnancy — but it really does help to keep the crazies under wraps.
  • We’ve chosen a name! Just tonight. We had it narrowed to two and I told Honey to make the final decision because I just couldn’t. I love them both too much. The name we’ve chosen is a bit unusual and, though used exclusively for boys in the U.K. (where it originates), it’s become trendy to use it for girls here in the U.S. That worries me some, as well as the fact that his initials sort of allude to a swear word, but all in all, I adore the name we’ll be giving this little boy and am excited to reveal it to our friends and family (and on this blog!) after his birth.
  • I’m whittling away at my pregnancy “to do” list. So far, I have asked my friend Leigh to be my doula again, hired a birth photographer (sooooo excited for this one!), hired a maternity and newborn photographer, started stocking our deep freeze with freezer meals, and done lots and lots of shopping for our little man. But I still have more shopping to do, plus preparing the nursery, making more freezer meals, and moving Skittle into Cupcake’s room (which I am beyond terrified for).

And an update on the rest of my life:

  • I’ve been feeling a bit isolated and lonely these days. With Cupcake out of preschool for the summer and me having so much I want to accomplish at home, I’m finding that we don’t get out of the house as much as we should. We’ve had a few playdates and I’ve gone out with Leigh several times, but most of my days are primarily spent with a 1- and 4-year-old. They make me laugh, but it’s not the same as having the company of an adult. It’s times like this when I really miss Lillian and the rest of my mom’s group (which has essentially fallen apart over the last two years). So I’m painfully aware that my social life is in the crapper right now. But I’m thankful for my one good local friend, Leigh, and the support and comedy that she adds to my life. We spent all of this past Saturday making homemade strawberry jam and we have other fun things planned for this summer, too.
  • Though Honey is gone most of the day, working hard on a project at work that is finally nearing its end (thank GOD!), he comes home and somehow finds it in himself to have a good chunk of quality time with his girls and to help me around the house. Right now, I’m typing this post up and he’s sweeping the kitchen floor (after having already done the dishes and going to fill my car up with gas), that’s how amazing he is. I hope to write a blog post on him soon, but suffice it to say, I am so, so, so lucky this man is mine.
  • Cupcake is four-and-a-half now and still has one year of preschool ahead of her before entering “big kid school.” She’s about to have her very first haircut and I’m nervous but ready for the change. This girl continues to challenge me with her strong-willed ways, but we are now past the worst of the toddler power battles and every day with her is becoming more and more fun. She’s thrilled to bits to have a baby brother on the way.
  • Skittle is 20 months and every day with her is a joy. Her two-year molars are considering their entrance and so there’s a lot of drool in our house and a few difficult nights here and there, but overall, this girl just amazes me with her fearless, determined, playful, and loving spirit. I don’t want this stage to end! But more on that later. I hope to write a post on each of my girls sometime over the summer.

So that’s where we’re at in a nutshell. Up next for us:

  • Getting the results to my one-hour glucose test. I’m really, really nervous for this since I failed last time (but then passed the the 3-hour test). I just want to be able to eat, you know? It’s hot here!
  • A road trip to Idaho to visit family. Not sure how it will go being trapped in a car for four or five hours, but I’ve done it before in pregnancy. I can do it again!
  • Massages and attending a painting party with my friend Leigh. I’ll also be taking boudoir photos for her later this summer since the last time we made an attempt, she came down with strep throat.
  • My maternity photos at the end of this month. I’m paying an obscene amount of money for this photographer, but having her take my maternity photos has been my dream for a while. She’s a-mazing!
  • My 32nd birthday in just a few more weeks.
  • A visit to my sister in August. She’s going through a divorce and is really in need of the extra support these days.
  • A final litttle hurrah as a family of four over Labor Day weekend, when we go stay at a rented house on Puget Sound. Sounds relaxing…I really hope it is!

There’s a lot on the horizon for us and, as summer turns to fall, the crowning glory will be this baby’s birth. It’s crazy, and incredible, to imagine.

On Breastfeeding

** Please note: I am pro-breastfeeding, but I understand there are multiple reasons why a woman is unable to or chooses not to breastfeed. All thoughts and opinions in this post are in regards to me and my child only. They are NOT a comment on you, your baby, or your situation. **

Growing up, my mother would often reminisce about breastfeeding me as an infant. She loved it and seemed to have a romantic view of how beautiful the experience was. It inspired something inside of me and I knew from a young age that I, too, would breastfeed my children. Of course, I didn’t know then that 1) having children was not a given and 2) neither is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is hard. Let me acknowledge that. It is hard, hard, hard, especially in the beginning. It is not always, sometimes not often, the beautiful picture my mom painted. It can be messy. It can be frustrating. And it can be HARD.

And yet, I knew I had to try. I wholeheartedly believe that breastfeeding is the right thing for my babies. For most babies. It has benefits for both Baby and Mom that formula cannot provide. (Side note: I do not believe formula is the devil. I recently read a book that seemed to make that argument and I couldn’t finish it, it upset me so much. If you want or need to give your baby formula, do it! Don’t feel guilty about it. I know not a single formula-fed baby who is any worse the wear for it.) I feared failure when it came to breastfeeding. I feared having one more reason to hate my body (which I surely would, if it failed me and my child in yet another way). But I was determined and committed too. Partly for financial reasons and partly because I did believe in the importance of breastfeeding, I vowed to stop at (almost) nothing to make the breastfeeding thing successful.

Thankfully, it all worked out and I breastfed Cupcake until she was a year old. I would have breastfed longer, except we were ready to start trying to make another baby and my periods had not yet returned. (No surprise there. Go figure.) I am now breastfeeding Skittle and, as far as I can tell, things are going just as well — better, really — for us.

Somewhat embarrassingly, I talk about breastfeeding a lot. My mom hears about it. My friends hear about it. My cousin hears about it. My husband certainly hears me complain about it. I discuss it so much not only because I’m passionate about it, but because right now, I spend five to seven hours¬† (or more?) of my day with a baby at the boob. So I guess it’s only natural. A lot of my day, every day, is devoted to it. Monitoring intake. Monitoring output. Isn’t that the mark of a having a new baby in your home? Even when it’s not your first?

I am often asked if breastfeeding is easier the second time. I can’t speak for others, but it has been for me. A bit like riding a bike, or so the cliche goes. You worry you won’t remember how to do it, but low and behold, you do. It’s been some time since I last did this (about two years since I weaned Cupcake) and yet, holding a baby in the crossover or cradle hold, helping her to find the nipple, positioning Skittle on the Boppy to allow me to simultaneously eat dinner and check my e-mail…it’s all come naturally. Sigh. Of. Relief.

I suppose some of the ease of this is because I have more confidence this second time. I am able to do it because I know I can. I did it once before, after all. This time, I was less stressed in trying to get Skittle to latch that on that first day in the hospital.¬† Less concerned when she would sometimes only eat for a few minutes. I didn’t fumble in trying to hold her in the right position. I didn’t need the help of a nurse or lactation consultant. I just figured it out on my own and didn’t question my ability to do so.

That’s part of why it was so easy. I think the rest of it can be contributed to having a baby who just knows what to do and has from the beginning. I don’t know if it was the natural birth or the luck of the draw, but Skittle has been a champion nurser from the very start. She latched on within the first couple hours after birth within minutes of me trying and has been eating well (and pooping and peeing well, too) ever since.

And yet, every baby and every situation is different and there still have been a few surprises this time. Such as:

  • With Cupcake, I did not find breastfeeding very fun in the beginning. In fact, I detested it. It was unbearably painful (I had thrush, which really did threaten my resolve to breastfeed for the long haul). It took too much time. I always felt unsure of myself. It was just not very enjoyable at all and, indeed, it was a long time before it became that way. But with Skittle, I have enjoyed it from the beginning. With the exception of a few long days of sore nipples (which could be contributed to my large nips and Skittle’s tiny mouth), it has been nothing short of wonderful and relaxing and easy. Which was unexpected and lovely. I’m so thankful for that.
  • I have successfully learned how to breastfeed in public without using a nursing cover. I have never hesitated to nurse my babies in public places, but now I can do it without the burden of covering up. Some people figure this out with their first babies, but not me. I tried to hide myself as much as possible with Cupcake. But not with Skittle. No, she has dined on Mama’s booby everywhere from a friend’s house during a party to a restaurant to the airport to the movie theater so I could watch About Time to Starbucks during a meet ‘n’ greet with a blogging friend (you know who you are! xoxo!), and never once have I gotten a funny or nasty look from those around me, as I always feared I would. What a nice surprise.
  • I have worried about my milk supply much more than I ever did with Cupcake. I think this is the result, once again, of knowing too much. Since Cupcake’s birth, I have been diagnosed with PCOS (by default) and I know now that women with PCOS often suffer from low milk supply. I had no problems with supply while breastfeeding Cupcake, but that hasn’t stopped me from obsessing over it now. I am a stay-at-home mom, but I pump every day in order to maintain my supply — even though I probably don’t need to. Skittle will be eight weeks old tomorrow and I already have over 100 bags of milk (5-8 ounces each) in our freezer. Now that I’ve typed that out, I realize how ridiculous I sound. I’ve gone overboard, haven’t I? Way, way overboard. Imagine that. Me, going overboard. Shocking, isn’t it?

So clearly, regardless of how “easy” it has been so far, I am always able to find something to worry about. I’m good at that. But right now, I know that regardless of my supply (which is probably perfectly adequate), it is enough for Skittle. Cupcake’s pediatrician used to joke that I must make cream instead of milk because Cupcake grew so fast. By the time she was two months old, she had gained five pounds. Babies should double their birth weight by the time they turn six months. Cupcake did it in half that time.

And so it seems that Skittle is on track to do the same. At two weeks old, she was already a pound above her birth weight. She lost 10 ounces after birth (as every baby does, give or take a few ounces) and, so in the span of ten days, she actually gained a pound and a half. Amazing! I don’t know how much she has gained since then (her 2-month appointment is scheduled for next week), but I do know that she’s a different baby now. She doesn’t look like a newborn anymore. She is all chub and smiles. In just three weeks, she went from this:


To this:


So she’s growing. Obviously. She’s growing and thriving and that’s all that matters. Proof that my boobs are enough. That I’m enough. I guess.

I guess.

No matter what, there’s always that bit of doubt, isn’t there?

One kid or two or ten, there’s always that doubt.

But doubt or no doubt, I will go on breastfeeding. I’m proud that I’ve been able to do it. Do it when it’s easy and do it when it’s hard and do it when it felt impossible. And I’m thankful that I have a baby who can do it and boobs that can do it and a situation that allows it.

Finally, my body has done something right.

And here again, I have another reason to love it.

The Transition

I am often asked what it’s been like for us going from one child to two. It’s a relief to say the transition has been so much easier than I thought it would be. I was prepared for all hell to break loose. It has not. I was expecting meltdowns from Skittle, Cupcake and I, all at once, on a regular basis. But, with the exception of one day in which Honey was away on business, the only meltdowns have been from Cupcake and I can handle that. Usually.

We did work very hard while I was pregnant to make the transition as smooth as possible. I stocked the freezer with meals and baked goods so I wouldn’t need to do much cooking for a while. (And even though we’ve eaten several of the things we made, our freezer is still so full that we can hardly fit anything else into it.) I stocked our pantry with the basics like peanut butter and pasta and with snacks like dried fruit and crackers so that I wouldn’t need to do much grocery shopping, either. I got ahead on my ‘to do’ list and started shopping for Christmas and my daughter’s birthday early. I made a commitment not to do anything that would overwhelm me in these early months and to be willing to let things like housework go if I was just too tired or stressed. And we talked with Cupcake a lot about what she could expect from a baby (lots of crying, pooping, and eating) and gave her a baby doll to take care of while Mommy cares for Skittle. It has worked like a charm.

But really? I think most of the ease of this transition is due to luck. Skittle is a happy baby. She cries when hungry. That’s it. She eats for 15-45 minutes and then she’s done, usually for another two or three hours. She sleeps, coos, observes, and kicks around in between. We’ve had a couple difficult nights, but I usually am able to get to bed by midnight and never later than 2 a.m. I only ever have to awake once to breastfeed and, on those rare nights when Skittle doesn’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning, she will then sleep until 7 or 8 a.m. Like I said…luck. It seems too good to be true, I know. And I expect that it is. It won’t always be this easy, will it now? At some point, a growth spurt, or sleep regression, or teething is going to hit and I’m going to be in for a rude awakening. But right this minute, I feel like I could practically handle this with a blindfold on and my hands tied around my back. It’s been wonderful.

It also helps that Cupcake is great at independent play (and therefore doesn’t need me to play with her constantly) and adores her little sister. She’s had a few extra tantrums over the last few weeks and I imagine that is her way of adjusting and expressing her discomfort. But she never takes it out on Skittle. She hugs her, holds her, kisses her and, when Skittle fusses, she says, “Ohhhh, what’s wrong, baby? Why you upset? Don’t cry. It’s okay.” And the other day, I asked her what makes her happy. Her response: “Daddy and Baby Sister.” So sweet. And that makes my job so much easier.

In the end, the hardest part of the transition has been managing my exhaustion. I may not get up as often as many parents with new babies, but I’m still tired. I don’t get to always sleep when the baby does because I have a toddler who needs me. And though I’m usually successful at it, I can’t always coordinate Skittle’s naps with Cupcake’s afternoon nap. And I could go to bed early, but I usually don’t because I want to spend the evenings with my husband. So there are days when I get a total of four or five hours of sleep. It’s hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. I still have more energy now than I ever did while pregnant.

Like I said, I know it won’t always be like this. I remember Cupcake’s first year very well. Getting her into a nap routine was one of the most difficult parenting tasks I’ve encountered. So was getting through the teething. I remember days and days of feeling like I was treading water, barely able to get anything done (including resting!) because Cupcake would just fuss and cry all day long. For weeks. I expect those times are just around the corner for Skittle.

But right now? I’m enjoying this. I love my girls. I love being their mother. I love being a mother. The last six weeks have been easy peasy. A piece of delicious cake.

Which, coincidentally, I’ve had way too much of lately. Cake, that is.

Oh, how sweet life is!

The Nursery: Complete

I had a few requests to see photographs of the nursery before Skittle was born. I wasn’t ready to post the photos then, but the nursery is now, officially and finally and wonderfully, complete and so here is that post that was in-waiting.

Before I ever conceived Cupcake, when she was not yet even a mere possibility, I knew that I wanted my baby to have a nursery with a teddy bear theme. I have always loved teddy bears and had a small collection that I wanted to display. Also, teddies are childish and sweet without screaming “BABY!”…lend themselves well to colors other than pastel pink, blue, yellow, and green (we went with shades of brown and dark red)…and are not a theme you will find in every baby’s nursery around the country. So teddy bears it was for Cupcake and we recycled the theme for Skittle, but for¬† a few, personal changes…


a view from the doorway, complete with our little “mother hen” (our small family dog Junebug, who likes to check on Skittle on a regular basis)

a view from the crib

a view from the crib

One of my favorite parts of the room is the collage above the crib:

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Every part of this collage was selected with care. Maternity photos. Newborn photos. A crown because Skittle was born the same year as a royal baby (and if you know me, you know how cool I think this is). A small British flag because one of Skittle’s middle names was inspired by our trip to London exactly one year before her birth. The words Hope and Faith because, without these things, I would not have made it through the last two years. An owl because we had an owl theme for our gender reveal party. A quote from Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years:”

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid. I have loved you
For a thousand years.
I’ll love you for a thousand more.
And all along, I believed I would find you.
Time has brought your heart to me.

A rainbow, because Skittle is my rainbow baby, and butterflies, in memory of Teddy Graham. And also, a few things I made by hand:

Notice the little butterfly and owl added to the letters...

Notice the little butterfly and owl added to the letters…

The owl, teddy, butterfly, and maple leaf (because she was born in the autumn) buttons all have a special meaning....

The owls, teddy, butterflies, and maple leaf (because she was born in the autumn) buttons all have a special meaning….

I had to add a teddy somewhere in the collage!

I had to add a teddy somewhere in the collage!

And those weren’t the only things I made for the nursery. When Cupcake was still in utero, we bought a house just two months before she came along. I hardly had time to prepare a nursery, not to mention actually do craft projects to decorate it. For Skittle, I wanted as many homemade things as I had time for. And it was the perfect way to pass the time (all those long days of worry) and build excitement and anticipation for all that lay on the horizon. So, I created this:

a toy box, that will most likely be damaged beyond repair within a few short months

a toy box, that will most likely be damaged beyond repair within a few short months

and this:

name blocks (they have photos and her birthdate on the other sides)

name blocks (they have photos and her birthdate on the other sides)

and this:

a box to hold burp rags

a box to hold burp rags

And finally, a few of my other favorite details:

a wooden pull toy purchased at F.A.O Schwartz in NYC on one of Cupcake's first vacations

a wooden pull toy purchased at F.A.O Schwartz in NYC while on one of Cupcake’s first vacations

a glass teddy that was given to me as a gift when I was very small

a glass teddy that was given to me as a gift when I was very small

a replica of the calla lily that was in the bouquet at our gender reveal party...also, the inspiration for one of Skittle's middle names

a replica of the calla lily that was in the bouquet at our gender reveal party…also, the inspiration for one of Skittle’s middle names

a teddy made for me by a high school friend and given to me while pregnant with Cupcake

a teddy made for me by a high school friend and given to me while pregnant with Cupcake

All in all, the nursery was a labor of love. It was a lot of work and cost more money than planned, but the effort, time, and expense was small compared to the joy it brought me to pull it all together and imagine the day when I could rock Skittle to sleep in that comfy, cozy chair.

I am so happy with the end result. I love that room. Cupcake spent the first two years of her life there. And Skittle probably will too. It will be a sad day when we move on and have to leave this house, and that precious baby room, behind. What happiness that room has seen.

What wonder.

What love.