Thursday, July 30, 2015

What happens when you get to the pool only to discover that the regularly scheduled Mommy & Me time has been cancelled for the week? Why you walk the lazy river with a baby of course. First with the current, then, which is significantly harder, against it. When it's time for a break you sit and splash on the long shallow steps.

Like a lot of babies Amelia adores the water. Which means our swim bag has stayed permanently packed this summer, ready to go at a moment's notice. At the pool I can never decide which part is my favorite. Playing in the water together, or afterwards, when I take her swimsuit off and the back of her hair starts to curl, lounging and eating snacks under the giant umbrella as we air dry. It's summer in all her splendor. Needless to say we'll be so sad when the outdoor pool closes for the season.
A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.

The Perfect Potluck Trick

Monday, July 27, 2015

Although the New York Times proclaims the dinner party is dead, potlucks are alive and well. From office gatherings to backyard BBQs, people love ANY excuse to eat and socialize. I know I do! Especially during the summer. Over the weekend we went to a large picnic. Meat and drink were provided, while guests brought side dishes and dessert to share. I took this colorful salad which was gone in a matter of minutes. But you know what the #1 item is you need to take to a potluck?
A serving implement. Because no one likes dipping a spoon from the potato salad into the baked beans. Want a guarantee guests will eat what you brought? Take something to serve it with. Worried that it might get lost? From personal experience I have been to dozens of potlucks over the years and have never lost a serving implement (or dish). It's so easy to forget to take one, so try popping it on top of the dish until you're ready to go. Think about it, because using a plastic knife and spoon to dish up pie is just silly.

Top image via


Friday, July 24, 2015

At 11 months-old this girl is constantly on the move. As evidenced by our photo session this week. Clearly the outside world captivates her attention. She is still as aimiable as ever, waving not only at strangers we pass, but birds, trees, squirrels, cars, and dogs. Amelia is at that funny stage where she wants to stand up against things and can make it to a knee-knealing position but can't quite figure out the rest. Often I'll look down to find her grabbing at my skirt or legs as a possible assist in helping her get upright.

Nine times out of ten when I set her down in a room she races straight for her books; flipping through pages like a pro. When she reaches the end, she'll flip it right over and repeat the entire process. Sometimes 5-6 times per book. Which, as you might imagine, is beyond adorable.

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.


Friday, July 17, 2015

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.

A New(ish) Reality

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A couple months ago I went on a walk with one of my older-than-me-single-but-wants-to-be-married-with-children girlfriends. It was only 11:00am but already I was having the WORST day. All I wanted to do was hide my tears behind dark sunglasses, push the stroller, and moan about how rotten motherhood was. I needed one of those really good cries that shakes your soul but then somehow sets the world right the next morning. Instead I tried to explain my situation to my friend using vague terms, dancing around the fact that I didn't want to cause offense or sound condescending. But, as you might imagine, that's a tricky tightrope to navigate. And in the end I said far less than I wanted. Because complaining about something someone else wants or does not understand seems pointless.

As the oldest child of five children I thought I knew a great deal about taking care of kids. I was nine when my youngest siblings (twins) came along. I remember holding both babies on my hips, telling people they were mine. I spent most of my adolescent years making a few bucks caring for other kids in our neighborhood and I felt pretty confident in my abilities to tidy up the kitchen while keeping all children feed, occupied, and generally happy. Needless to say I felt ready for this whole motherhood gig.*

Then, as life goes, A LOT of years went by and I became comfortable at making my way in the world. On my own. Without kids.

Now I am a mother. Not an older sister and not a babysitter. A bonafide take-care-of-another-helpless-human-being-24-7 mother. And it's hard. SO HARD. The days she doesn't nap, or fakes me out by only napping 30 minutes, make me want to tear my hair out and smash something. The moments when I know she is hungry and I go to the trouble of making her a meal only to have her refuse it is infuriating. Sometimes I am startled by the roar of anger inside me, a fierceness I did not know I possessed. But instead of lashing out I grit my teeth, take a deep breath (or leave the room for five minutes), and take care of my daughter.

Then there's the monotony. Which I hope is of limited duration. The longest shortest time, or so I'm told.

I am not a young mother and sometimes my geriatric age makes me feel like I am running a marathon with tires chained to my ankles. And I know I'm lucky. People go to all kinds of lengths to have children. Many people want children and can't have them. The list of people that would make good and descent parents is endless. However that does not make my experience on the hardest days less difficult. Or less real.

If I could go back and talk to my single-self I would tell her to spend less time grooming and more time enjoying hobbies. I would tell her to store a lifetime of weekends and relish sleeping in. I would tell her to stop being so selfish. And yes, I would even encourage her to watch her friend's children every once in a while, because I am now convinced that giving a stay-at-home-parent a morning, afternoon, or evening off is basically winning the lottery.

*Although I have never been among the women that say Being a mother is all I've ever wanted. For me, that is simply not true.


Friday, July 10, 2015

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.

Documenting Amelia's First Year

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What child doesn't love their own baby book?  Little footprints and official documents mingled with major baby milestones. A record of all the firsts, interspersed with birthday pictures, funny stories, and other cherished memories. Over the years my mom carefully added to my baby book. As a slightly older child I turned the pages of my personal story, trying to connect my (short) past to my current self. Every few years I'd sign my name in the book and it was fun to see the progression from massive backwards letters, to loopy cursive, to something more refined. Today I cherish this keepsake and think it's one of the few objects I would save if we ever had a fire.

Right after Amelia was born I realized I didn't have a baby book for her. Oh no! Luckily one of my friends had given me a "mommy journal" to record things I wanted to remember or funny things Amelia said when she was older. Another friend of mine, my former sixth grade teacher actually, sent me a beautiful letter after Amelia was born, reminding me "You think you will remember all of the funny and sweet things your children say and do—but you won't—so write it down." She did and when her girls were married she was able to present them with a leather bound book of their life from her perspective. What a lovely idea.
In addition to keeping a journal I also wanted a fill-in-the-blank book for jotting down little things and keeping her monthly photos. After a little research I found this funny (and affordable) baby book that's been exactly what I wanted. The thing I love about it is that you can include things like major news headlines from the day you were born or the current supreme court justices or where you traveled as a baby (with a U.S. and world map). While I still have some blank spaces and a few pictures to add (like her first home), overall I'm really happy that her baby book is something I've kept current throughout the year. With the little free time I have gone are the days of major scrapbooking marathons, which is why I also got this album to keep all of her printed Instagram photos. Which makes a total of three different books all documenting Amelia's first year! Clearly she's a first and (so far) only child.

Do you have a baby book? Or if you have children do you keep a record of their life?


Friday, July 3, 2015

Wow, we made it—the halfway point of my 52 Project. It's been a fun way to document Amelia's growth over the last half a year.

Ps. Happy Birthday, America! I hope your weekend is full of watermelon, parades, and time outdoors.
A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2015.

Currently | 7.2.2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

WATCHING: Another Netflix original series. Have you see it? Titus kills me.

EATING: Grilled chicken legs in this super easy and delicious marinade and sampling local small batch ice cream shops.

READING: Looking forward to starting Judy Blume's latest novel.

ENJOYING: Afternoons at our neighborhood pool. Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons and I'm trying to make the most of it.

SAVING FOR: Patio furniture. Seriously. I NEED to host a summer soiree.

MAKING: This ridiculously adorable baby romper. Luckily my friend is helping me on this project.

LISTENING: NPR songs we love 2015.

THINKING ABOUT: Birthday season. Leo birthdays arrive en masse next month! Can I make ALL the smash cakes?

REMEMBERING: Tornado sirens earlier this week. We hunkered down in our basement for nearly an hour and decided that we need to have some type of family "tornado" game.

EXCITED FOR: The next phase of motherhood. Seriously. Run, mama, run!

Mural located in St. Louis, MO. 

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