life-sized nugget

I've been meaning to take pics with this scale found in Jake's grandparents' basement since her birth day.  I saw the scale in our basement this evening and promptly shot a few pics.  Go ME!  Perhaps another day I'll really get serious and pose the pics, help her to be comfortable and happy, and arrange for a nice backdrop... probably the same day I finally start working on that pile of Thank You cards I've been staring at!

Guess I should stop telling people that she's "just over 6 pounds"!  WOW!

Heidi Rose ~ 1 month

One month. 4 weeks and 3 days to be exact.  It is SO much easier this time around.  I'm not sure if it's Heidi's temperament or simply my parenting skills/expectations.  I'm leaning towards the latter.

This time around, I'm not OBSESSED with parenting books which contradict each other.  I'm not concerned with the clock, ie writing down each feeding time so that I know precisely how long it's been since her last feeding.  I can feed her while laying down which makes nighttime feedings much less severe.  I don't feel the need to change her diaper multiple times throughout the night...and when I do change her, I still don't get out of bed.  I don't care which breast I started with last time... yeah, I try to alternate, but I simply start with the one that feels more full or is more convenient. 

I still can't stand to hear her cry, but there are times when I'm in the midst of a diaper change/ dinner prep/ bedtime routine/ life and she just has to wait.  I don't feel guilty when she is lying in her cradle as opposed to being held (one of the books I read last time preached the importance of holding the baby the majority of the time because, after all, they were held 24/7 before they were born.  However, I will never join the "leave the baby in the car seat" club!  Really, those things are not comfortable for baby nor for the mama who has to lug it around {though there are times when the convenience of this trumps all... like running into the store for a minute}.  SNUGGLE YOUR SWEET BABY!  stepping down from my pulpit now.).  I don't feel burdened when performing normal life duties while wearing the Sleepy Wrap or sling.  I'm not concerned whether she sleeps in her bassinet or on the bed next to me... no guilt is a freeing thing!  (btw:  Heidi is perfectly content to sleep on her own during all her day time naps, but at night... she insists on sleeping in the bed.  Opinionated young lady!)

At one month, Heidi can hold her head up and move it around like a champ.  During the few hours/minutes of awake time each day, her bright, deep blue eyes focus and still as soon as she hears my voice.  When she wants something she either cries or GRUNTS!  It's unlike anything I ever experienced with Hazel.  Heidi is the champ of communicating through growls. 

Jake and I are truly enraptured with this tiny nugget.  We make sure to take the time each day to snuggle her and appreciate her size and sweetness.  Hazel continues to be the adoring sister and kisses her everytime she can get her lips near.  She also mimics me and has been caught "shushing" her baby doll and holding her doll to her chest for a "feeding".  She also insists on holding Heidi, but after about 30 seconds, is ready to push her off her lap!

I tried to take a pic similar to Hazel's 1-month pic... of course this was her minute of awake time today.  And SOMEONE was being a camera hog/ helper and so this is the best picture I took!  (of course, as I'm finishing this blog, Heidi is sleeping peacefully curled up in a ball...the length of my forearm...with the pink scarf thrown over her for warmth.  figures!)


the non diet

In high school, I went through the "normal" body image struggles.  I solved that by starting a diet of animal crackers and tootsie rolls.  Brilliant, eh?  Ok, I have no idea why I thought that would help me lose weight.  Regardless, I was a stick, so the whole thing was truly stupid (and shamefully unhealthy).

I'm not someone that's obsessed with THE NUMBER.  In fact, I never know my weight.  I rely on my favorite jeans.  If they're snug, OOPS. 

When I was pregnant, my midwife kept track of my weight, though we're not completely sure what it was before I was pregnant.  Suffice to say, I gained over 40 pounds.

20 of those pounds are GONE BABY GONE!  That was easy :)  Err... wait, I had to give birth to lose that weight... guess that was NOT easy!

So, now I'm left with 20+ pounds of extra.  Yesterday I was filling out a medical form which had a tiny line for my current weight.  No fair!  I needed a paragraph-sized space so that I could EXPLAIN about just giving birth and needing a year to return to a healthier weight!  I refuse to buy new clothes (and am not so fond of my reflection), so the weight has to go.  Here's my new diet plan:  drink 2 cups of coffee in the morning which wakes me up AND suppresses my appetite.  BRILLIANT!?

Do you have any other brilliant weight loss techniques that you're willing to share?


April showers...

inspire fanciful outfits perfect for watching the garden grow. 
Hazel sits on this stoop and watches her dada plant the first seeds of the season.

prepare the ground for squishy walks through mud and moss.
guess which mama left the back door open and which little girl hurried out between storms today?

provide the perfect accompaniment for impromptu dance sessions.

inside and outside... what a lovely wet day!


What Doing?

I've blogged 2 days in a row!  So, I'm gonna make it 3 by sharing a simple topic:  WHAT I'm DOING!
  • 3 weeks.  That's the answer I'll have when a new mama asks me how long it takes for her baby to start having trouble sleeping.  3 weeks.  My perfect infant still sleeps ALL THE TIME, but she has an uncanny ability to know when I am about to nap and go to bed.  At those times, she becomes a suckling monster and absolutely refuses to sleep in her own space.
  • Yesterday hubby realized that I was bordering on exhaustion and perhaps post-baby-blues and INSISTED that we use some gift money to pay for a day of babysitting.  He'd been wanting me to do that and I kept refusing for financial reasons.  However, HE WAS RIGHT.  After staying in bed till 9:30, spending the morning snuggling Heidi, enjoying a brunch in which I didn't have to share, and then the freedom of housework without a "helper"... I felt like the monster that had been lurking just behind my shoulder was released.  I felt renewed and happy.  Yes, a day with just an infant was better than relying on copious amounts of coffee!  And Hazel was SO excited to spend the day with her friends!  A double win!
  • A little TV is... OK.  Can you feel my guilt?  I KNOW all the literature says NO TV before age 2, but a 1/2 hour show every now and again is such a treat!  Hazel will sit through quite a bit of it and since most of the show have music, she dances... so it's exercise, right!?
  • Meal planning and cooking continues to be my nemesis.  It's just not my favorite thing to do.  Then I have to deal with the guilt of being a bad stay-at-home-mom when 5:00 rolls around, everyone is hungry and everyone is grumpy.  So, I'm off to research "Freezer Meals" and http://www.thefresh20.com/ (something I stumbled upon recently.  For a small monthly fee, you get weekly menus that use 20 fresh ingredients).  Perhaps soon when hubby asks "What's for dinner?", I'll have an answer other than, "uhhh... perogies?"


40-year-old BFF and her sexy kindergartner

I love it when someone writes my thoughts/ feelings and they say it better than I ever could.  Here's a great article about the appropriate dress for young girls:  http://articles.cnn.com/2011-04-19/opinion/granderson.children.dress_1_elementary-school-girls-push-up-bra-plastic-surgeon?_s=PM:OPINION

Great, eh?  Fortunately, no one that knows me or my husband would ever DARE buy slutty clothes for my beauty queens.  Seriously, I'm lucky that all of the grandparents/ friends really consider our tastes when buying for my girls.  Recently I caught my smother-in-law googling "organic toddler training pants"... that cracks me up!  And now Hazel has some awesome pull-ups made by the talented crafters at www.etsy.com .  Awesome!  As for push-up bras... OVER MY DEAD BODY!  You should see their swim attire... long sleeve upf 50 shirts for Hazel and I'm on the verge of buying Heidi a long sleeve, long pant wetsuit.  I double dog DARE the sun to reach their perfect skin :)

So, my dear future teenage daughters, I'm sorry that you don't have a 40-year-old BFF, but you have a mom who would move mountains for you and if we're lucky.... you'll have a 50-year-old BFF once you reach adulthood :)


lyrical love

I love to sing... and that's kinda an understatement.  Even more than hearing myself sing, I love singing in a choir.  I love being surrounded by other voices perfectly blending and dancing with my own.  I love singing a note and hearing the power of that note drift around me.  I love the challenge of a complex melody... something I can't sight read... something that makes those rusty gears in my brain start to turn.

Moving back to Pennsylvania, my husband has generously taken over some household duties so that I can be in my church choir and in Venango Chorus, the local community choir.  I limit myself to one evening activity a week, so choosing a choir over yoga is a really tough decision.  However, I COULD do yoga on my own, I just really love a weekly class... still working on that self-motivation to have a better home yoga practice.

Back to the choir... Perhaps it's because the choir director is extremely talented.  Seriously, the energy she expends during each rehearsal, her ability to hear all parts of the music simultaneously and know just how to tweak the sound, her rapport with the people (I seriously don't know how she can be kind to some of the "morons" and/or "tone deaf" members).  Perhaps it's because the choir director is my mom (confession:  I get my "tolerance of other people" gene from my father... and we find most people to be morons! HA!) Perhaps it's because both of these choirs are full of my favorite people (despite what I said in the last parentheses, there are truly a lot of fun, talented and awesome people I enjoy rubbing elbows with...and whispering to... sorry mom!).  Perhaps it's because it's my "gift" (Mr. Rogers would like that reason).  Anyway, being a member of a choir is such a fulfilling release for me.

Here are a few of the lyrics we're singing in the "Broadway and Beyond" Venango Chorus concert on May 2nd (let me know if you'd like the details to attend the free concert) that really STRIKE A CHORD with this mama:

from My Fair Lady medley:  "All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air, with one enormous chair; Oh, wouldn't it be loverly!  Lots of chocolate for me to eat; Lots of coal makin' lots of heat; Warm face, warm hands, warm feet, Oh, wouldn't it be loverly!"

from Porgy and Bess medley:  "I got no lock on de door (dat's no way to be).  Dey kin steal de rug from de floor, dat's okeh wid me 'cause de things dat I prize, like de stars in de skies, all are free."

from Good Morning Vietnam:  "I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do!"  They're really sayin' "I love you."  I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, they'll learn much more than I'll ever know and I think to myself, what a wonderful world."

All I have left to say to my dear bloggy friends (ie everyone who takes the time to read my ramblings), "HOW DO YOU DO!"


newborn photo shoot preview

For those of you keeping track... yes, this is the 3rd professional photo shoot we've had since Christmas.  What can I say, my kids are cute and my favorite photographer (Jamie Wilson) is a willing, generous friend!

Here's a few shots from Heidi's newborn photo shoot... I'm so lucky that I get to stare at these adorable photos and then promptly kiss her little head as it's snuggled on my chest.

*Jamie has a huge prop bag of hats and headbands... I think they're adorable, but hubs wishes we had taken a few without them.  Oh well, can't win 'em all :)



It's not big surprise that I've been thinking a lot about being a mother lately.  Once I was part of a group building exercise (MUC Preview Guides 2001) in which the group answered dozens of questions with one word answers.  The one that I remember most clearly was "What word do you want on your tombstone?".  Now in reality, I'm not sure I want a tombstone.  How about a tree with a small plaque or a garden with a pretty bench?  But I digress...  my answer was "mother".  It's the thing I've wanted most in this world for as long as I can remember.

When I had baby #1, I took comfort in knowing that I'd have another newborn someday... I loved it so much and worried that I would be sad this time around knowing it's my last time.  However, just as other mother's told me, every age is my favorite.  I love the newborn phase, but I also love the toddler phase.  So though there will be things that I miss as Heidi grows (I can't believe I had forgotten about the newborn smell... oh it is truly intoxicating!), I'll be too enamored with her current phase to grieve.  For example, overall, I loved pregnancy.  It's a miracle and today I can vividly remember how it felt to feel flutters in my belly.  Someday soon my memories will begin to fade... but I'll be busy making new memories and enjoying my children's ever growing skills, humor, cuddles, etc.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a lovely mother who departed much too swiftly and much too young.  Last month, I grieved for another friend who died suddenly and again, much too young.  Both of these women were lucky enough to raise their children through their younger years, but they left behind 20-somethings who still need their mothers.  Oh God, I hope I'm lucky enough to raise my daughters through their childhoods and beyond. 

I look around and so many people have lost one or more parent.  Though death is always hard, I have no "beef" with God when he calls an elderly person to him.  But so many people are taken when they are young and have work left to do.  This is so hard to accept.

However, in the case of the two women I've lost this winter, I also see that they didn't leave their children alone.  Instead, both of these women had cultivated relationships with countless other women... so though it's not the same, their "kids" are left with teams of women who love them, knew their mother and will be carefully watching over their friend's child(ren).  That is truly a gift to the grieving!  Perhaps God's hand is in that gift?  :)

My mother and grandmother are particularly social and my tribe of "mothers" is huge.  The other day Jake and I were watching a movie in which two new parents each had to go to work and couldn't find anyone to watch their baby.  I said to Jake "that would never happen to us".  True, I am guilty of not using my resources often, but if I was in a crisis, all I would have to do is open my church directory or grab my mom's address book... and easily could call on 15 or 20 ... dare I say 30... women who would joyfully help. 

I may be a mother myself, but I still need my mother... and if there's every a time that she's not available... I'm thankful for all the amazing women she has brought into my life.


Look what I made!

A quick photo shoot.  Timing seemed perfect, but wasn't.  The sun has refused to shine.  Hazel was a little too "helpful".  Heidi isn't used to being unswaddled and therefore these pics aren't an accurate representation of her disposition (ie, she rarely cries, but cried throughout the entire photo shoot).

Shannon promptly sent her pseudo-niece some roses in honor of Heidi Rose's birth.

The best "face" shot with the lighting problems of today.  This pic accentuates her slight bruising and discolorations from birth...

Sweetest little Heidi, everybody knows.  Don't know what to call  you, but your mighty like a rose.  Lookin at your mama, eyes so shiny blue.  Makes you think that Heaven is comin' close to you.  (favorite Orris family lullaby)

LOVE this shot.  the feet.  the scrunched face.  snuggles are immediately in order!

OK... here's a mind bender:  Which one is Bitty Baby and which one is Itty Bitty Heidi? 

Though I'm completely used to her size, when I see the baby doll, I truly don't believe that my baby is as tiny... until they're right next to each other!  WOW!

Take 1 (both of these clothing pieces belong to the baby doll)

Take 2 (the footie pjs don't fit!  SCORE for Heidi!)
Pure sibling LOVE!  (p.s. Hazel wanted both the pony tail AND barrette... wonder if she's gonna be a fashion diva?  YIKES!)


A week ago, I was on modified bed rest and a little terrified.  All I could think was how great I'd feel once I was on the OTHER side of this pregnancy.  I would NEVER have believed what the rest of the week held in store for me.  Seldom do things turn out as good as or BETTER than you hope.  However, that's exactly how my week went. 

This morning, I retrieved Hazel from her bed around 7, she crawled into bed with me, grabbing a few of her books and cuddling into mama's covers (who doesn't remember the wonderful warmth and security of their parents' bed?  I love that Hazel feels that way about my bed!).  As I read to her, with her head cradled in the nook of my arm, I fed my sweet Heidi Rose.  Two simultaneous cuddles!

Hazel is as charmed with her "baby" as we expected.  She is constantly maneuvering to get her lips pressed onto any part of "baby".  We have to be careful because often her maneuvering would crush "baby".  Also, we had to do some furniture rearranging as the pack-n-play bassinet we had in the living room is low enough that Hazel can "share" her toys (ie throw stuff in while Heidi is sleeping.  I panicked when I found a flashlight within inches of Heidi!).  Fortunately, we're borrowing a GORGEOUS wooden cradle from my friend, Jamie, and it's too high for Hazel to do anything but reach through the slots into.  It looks much better in the living room and the few times I've forced myself to put Heidi down, she sleeps happily and safely.

Heidi is so easy so far (I know... I know... knocking on wood/my head).  I'm kinda perplexed why I remember being so tired and overwhelmed when Hazel first arrived (ok, it's because I was not used to my life being completely scheduled around someone else and I had a lot of post-birth pain... which I have none of now!).  Heidi's still in the newborn phase of sleeping 23.5 hours a day.  She barely wakes up while she eats.  My milk came in on day 2 and my itty bitty baby is not able to relieve me one bit.  Even after she finishes a full feeding, I'm engorged and uncomfortable.  Oh well, my body will figure out her appetite soon enough.  In the meantime, I look very (ahem) perky!  At least with my overabundance problem, she is thriving.  She only lost 3 ounces her first 3 days, which is really really impressive!

All through this pregnancy, I felt like this baby was arriving too soon.  I felt like I needed more time to be the mother of one.  More time to get organized.  More time to enjoy the relative freedom that comes with each milestone Hazel reached.  I was truly worried about not bonding with #2 (p.s. to future Heidi, don't hold this over my head!).  Case in point:  Little Miss Just-shy-of-21-months just interrupted me with a request to use the potty... which she used successfully.

However, just like everyone told me, my heart grew the instant I first held Heidi.  I had forgotten about the newborn smell, the way they stay in their fetal position, the joy of holding a sleeping baby skin to skin, the funny faces they make...

Yes, I am perfectly content (joyous really) to be the mama to two!