Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Be Present ...

I took this video of Beatrice Kate singing the Moravian Table Blessing last night before we ate dinner and then I died of cuteness overload:

This makes it pretty easy to know why Jesus loves the little children, huh?


Monday, January 28, 2013

We're still alive, though, just barely ...

Don't worry loyal blog readers (AKA: Dad), we're still kicking around over here. We've just been battling a cold that Will. Not. Die. and keeps getting passed between each of us. Currently, I have it and while I'm on the mend, I still don't have any creative-energy. Since I'm the main only blogger for this family, you'll have to wait until I can clear out a path from the bed and tissues and make my way to the computer for longer than 4 minutes at a time to think of something funny and interesting to say.

Also for just this once, and probably, hopefully not again until next cold and flu season, I'll be pulling out the heavy hitter cleaners, Clorox and it's toxic friends, later this week to kill all these creepy, zombie germs once and for all. We're not really keen on using anything that has ingredients which we can't pronounce in our home, so it should speak volumes for how sick and tired we are of being sick and tired, that we're even considering it.

So, until then dear ones... Blech. Cough. Hack. Sneeze. And well wishes to you.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Busy Weekend and Lost Photos ...

There is only one photo of my own from this crazy busy weekend. That's because I didn't take a lot AND I've resigned myself to accept that my iPhone photos from the past couple of weeks are lost. You see, I'm a technological idiot sometimes and when I went to upload photos from our weekend, I accidentally restored my phone settings to previous (before this phone) settings, losing our photos in the process.

So, instead, I'll just tell you about our weekend. With words. How the pioneers used to do it, right? Okay, so pioneer didn't have blogs or camera phones or electricity for that matter, but whatever.

Friday, we had a "snow" day. And Jessi, don't judge. We don't get feet of snow you guys get in Montana. Instead, we got a light dusting, less than 2 inches, and schools in this part of the state were called off for the day; including Bea's school. So we spent the day at the museum, splashing in puddles and stomping patches of ice. The rest of the week had been TERRIBLY sad, ice and rain and just general blah. So, on the first sunny day in 5 days, regardless of the temperatures out, we braved it.

Saturday, Casey and Bea hung out together while I attended a workshop on ways to use a rebozo. What's a rebozo? It's a large, woven piece of fabric used in Mexico by women for a variety of things, but in childbirth it's a handy tool for relaxation, strength and comfort during labor and delivery. It's like the Swiss-Army Knife of the doula world:
That's me with my fellow Bull City Doula, Betsy, helping her "relax" and relieve any neck tension with the rebozo.

On Sunday, I had yet another doula event and so Casey and Bea spent the afternoon outside having a picnic and puttering around. They're good at puttering. I think it's genetic.

And yesterday, Casey surprised me with the news that he had the day off, which he, himself, didn't know until Friday afternoon. So I spent the day making a series of meals for our freezer (remember my goal of preparing the family for easier times when I'm out working?). I think in the span of 3 hours, I made/prepped 5 different meals. Of course, Casey ate most of what I made on it's way out to the freezer, but it's done now. And I feel a little less guilty about leaving for long periods of time to be with clients.

Casey and Bea spent the day riding their bikes. Bea's gotten so good at her "new" balance bike that she was able to ride it down to our nearest park (there are three within walking distance of our house). She was a little tired on the ride back though, so Casey "engineered" Bea's bike to his with an elaborate system of bungee cords and balance. He's crafty like that.

Anyway, I hope later this week I'll figure out how to get back at least some of my photos. If not, I think I'll cry some more about it it is what it is.

How was your long/regular weekend?


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Explaining preemies to my preemie ...

We've had, what another friend recently described as a, "Bumper Crop of Babies" around these parts. Maybe it's something in the water, or maybe everyone decided to have Number 2 all at once, I don't know. But clearly, we didn't get the memo because at the moment, Beatrice Kate is one of three children we know who isn't expecting or recently gained a younger sibling.

Naturally, Bea has questions about these babies and why her friends all have babies but she doesn't- specifically, she asks almost daily where her baby sister is. Um, 1: We are not expecting any form of a baby and 2: Unless something's changed recently, I don't know if you can get a money-back guarantee on gender these days.

We get asked ALL. THE. TIME. by everyone under the sun and their mamas when Casey and I will be thinking about Number 2. For the most part, we're pretty much in agreement that Bea will be our "One and Done" for a variety of reasons, but mostly because there's a really, really good chance we'll have another premature infant. And having a preemie the first time was hard, and having a preemie with a toddler waiting at home seems exhausting. But explaining that concept to Beatrice Kate is useless. All she knows is that a younger sibling seems to be the latest accessory and she wants in on the trend.

For the time being, we've been able to hold off her Sibling Demands by CONSTANTLY talking about the other babies we know. She loves to talk about their, "teeny tiny hands" and "teeny tiny feet" and their "tiny, tiny little shirts and hats". We talk about their tiny noses and whether her baby dolls are smaller than these babies.

And then the other day, she asked the questions I knew were coming at some point- "When I was a baby, were my hands tiny too?", "When I was a baby, were my hats tiny?"...

Oh. Um. Hmmm. How exactly do I explain to my three year old that her hands were smaller than a stamp when she was baby, her arm smaller than Daddy's ring finger?:
How do I tell her that the babies she sees? They are bigger than she was when she was nine months old, and they're all less than 3? Her hats? They were knitted on apples, and then oranges, to get the correct sizing for her baby head. Her first diaper was smaller than a pantyliner. Her first shirt was the size of my hand.
But how do I explain that to her? How do you explain the classifications of "micro" and subkilo to a toddler, who assumes that all babies come in one size- chubby. It's impossible, at least for me.

Prematurity is a funny thing isn't it? For the most part, I feel like Bea has almost none of her "preemie" qualities anymore. Most people who meet her for the first time are astounded to find out how she began life. Sometimes, just occasionally, I can let myself think that Bea is a "normal" kid, who had a normal birth and that's because it's so hard, even for me some days to believe that she started out like this:

But then something happens, in this case asking about her baby days, and BAM! I'm right back to the beginning, and all I can think about is just how very tiny she was. That the first few days of her life, we didn't know whether to cry from the excitement of being new parents or from sadness and overwhelming worry of having that new baby be so fragile. It's in these times that I remember, too vividly, how she fit into my hands like a newborn puppy:

Bea thinks that the new babies we've recently met are all just so "teeny tiny" but someday she'll understand what teeny tiny really means in this family. Until then, I'm happy to shield her from it all and to let her think that her baby dolls are as small as they get (many of whom are bigger than she was when she came home from the NICU).


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mid-Week Randoms ...

  • In an effort to make my life a little easier in the mornings, but still feed Beatrice Kate wholesome foods, I spent a good chunk of time today making whole grain pancakes and two breakfast casseroles, which I baked and cut, and then froze it all in individual portions. 
  • The pancakes turned out to be the fluffiest, most delicious pancakes I've ever had. And what's better is that they were 100% whole grain, made with coconut oil and were only sweetened with a tablespoon of honey in the entire batch of batter! This picture really doesn't do them justice, I swear, they were amazing:

  • I went to meet a new client last night a local coffee shop in Chapel Hill. The last time I was there, they had individual French presses, so I'm not sure why it was so funny to me that they also served tea in individual tea pots, and of course, tiny timers. I swear, sometimes this area is more like Portland than Portland:
  • The weather here in North Carolina has been Terrible (with a capital T). This weekend, it was in the mid-upper 70s and yesterday, it was 45 and rainy. NC has a lot of amazing qualities, but our winter weather is some of the strangest I've ever known. It's also causing my dogs to track in so much grit and grime, I'm having to sweep and/or mop almost daily. I'm going to start attaching little Swiffer pads to their feet if this keeps up.
  • I'm telling myself that this weather is the reason Beatrice Kate started in with a cough yesterday. After the Hell that was our Christmas Colds, I'm doing everything I know how to do to keep her healthy and to fight this off ASAP. I've been digging deep into my Natural Healing arsenal. Poor thing was choking down Apple Cider Vinegar-spiked juice and being Elderberry Syrup all day. By the time she was in bed, she was running a low-grade fever but not coughing or sneezing anymore. So, I'm hoping this cold is on an expedited course.
  • I'm really, really hoping Bea will kick this cold overnight, especially since she's scheduled to restart her most favorite activity to date- Dance Class at the American Dance Festival. Every night since we re-registered her two weeks ago she's been asking "can we go to Dance Class, tomorrow?". It's adorable. And I'm really hoping she's going to get to go. 
  • This weekend, I'm heading to Pittsboro for a training on the Art of the Rebozo with doula and Birth Guru, Gina Kirby. I hope I have lots of pictures to share and I'm really looking forward to going. Doulas are a weird group of people, we get excited about things like comfort measures and making mamas happy. Of course, we also get excited about mucus and cervical change, too; so I'm not sure what that says about us...


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Let's agree to disagree. And then, let's disagree some more ...

Two-almost-three is pretty freaking sassy. Beatrice Kate has entered into the "No, I know everything about everything" phase and it's intellectually exhausting. Yep, I just admitted to a group of strangers that my two-almost-three year old is sometimes smarter than me.

Mostly though, I just admit defeat during arguments with her because it's easier to surrender than to keep arguing.  I'm convinced that she often times picks fights just to see smoke come out of Mommy's ears. Casey is usually the one reminding me that she's not personally attacking me. At least, I hope not.

Me: Bea, are you ready to go to Simon's today?
Bea: No. I don't want to go to Simon's.
Me: Ok, we'll stay home.
Bea: No, I want to go to Simon's!

Me: What kind of cereal bar do you want? Red Maybe?
Bea: No, I don't want red.
Me: Ok, what color do you want?
Bea: Red. I love Red. It's my favorite.

Sometimes, she makes outrageous diva-like demands of Casey and I: "Don't sit there, Daddy. Sit in this seat.", "Mommy will drive the car and Daddy will not.", "Use the blue cup, Mommy" or my personal favorite, "Don't wear that, please. Wear leggings not jeans".

For the most part, we just sort of grin and bare the sassy-pants attitude that she radiates these days. It's just a phase, and arguing things like what clothes we all wear, or where we sit only causes more drama than it's worth. So, if she wants to wear pajama bottoms under a princess dress with a rain coat and a tiny straw hat on top, then we're okay with that.

It's all about picking our battles, folks. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Child-Free Anniversary Weekend ...

This weekend, Casey and I celebrated 6 years of marriage bliss. I know I've said it before, but seriously you guys... I'm so lucky to have this guy as my husband. He's pretty incredible. I knew from basically Minute One that he'd be the one I'd marry someday and I'm so happy I was right.

To mark the occasion, we did what any normal parents would do... we shipped the scamp off we sent Bea to Grandma's for some quality alone time.

We're very, very, very lucky that Casey's mom happens to be Beatrice Kate's best-est friend in the entire world. But really, we're even more blessed that Grandma volunteers to take Bea for TWO GLORIOUS DAYS a weekend every month or so, so that Case and I can have some um, alone time? (I'm not sure how to make that sound less skeezy, but Dad, if you're reading this... I'm sorry)

Sad or not, one of the first things we did to celebrate Child-Free Weekend was to move our television into the bedroom. See, we only have one t.v. and it lives in the living room. In fact, it was a choice that Casey and I made the first year we were married to not have a television in our bedroom. But all rules are off on Child-Free Weekend, and the TV was moved to its place of honor for two days:
Oh, please. Of course we watched West Wing. My man knows how to please his lady.
And Cooper, well, he also moved into his place of honor for two days:
I'm pretty sure he thought we gave Bea away it was back to the Olden Days of Childless Freedom!
On Saturday, I had to make a quick visit to meet a new doula couple and when I got back, it was clear that not a lot happened with The Boys Club, while I was out:
After Casey got up and moving we headed over to the Farmer's Market and stopped in for lunch at a food truck. I'm pretty sure we're basically at least tied with Portland as the Food Truck Capital in the nation:

Obviously there were a lot of choices, but eventually we settled on Chirba Chirba dumplings:

And delicious gourmet grilled cheese, of which I got exactly one-half of my sandwich:
Boy, that sure looks tasty. Was it Casey? Was it tasty?
When we got back home we snuggled did a whole. lot. of. nothing. Seriously. I think I took a nap and Casey watched Portlandia and SNL reruns for 3 hours straight.

Eventually, we got sick of ourselves and we got dressed and went on a Real! Live! Date! to one of our favorite local spots, Rue Cler. It's this fun, not-too-expensive French restaurant, and there are no photos because I ate my meal so quickly, it was that good. Also? I forgot my phone.

It's really no wonder that Durham is leading a contest with Southern Living magazine as one of the tastiest towns in the US. Our culinary scene is freaking amazing.

During the dinner Casey surprised me with tickets to see Jekyll and Hyde the musical at the Durham Performing Arts Center. He later explained that he had not, in fact, broken our "no gifts for our anniversary" rule because this was an activity, not a gift. I'm not sure I agree:
Lest you think this was some community theater rendition, please let me explain. We had Orchestra level tickets to see a Broadway-level production. My husband? He kinda rocks. I couldn't believe he pulled off that surprise, but I was so glad he did. It was a fun way to spend the evening with my love.

We were both a little pouty when we had to call the weekend to a close because we had such a fun time together, alone. But we were happy to go pick up our girl from Winston-Salem. When we got there, it was clear we weren't the only ones who had a great weekend. Bea didn't want to leave her BFF:

Though, there was at least one person there who was happy to see her go:
Meet Arnold's golden, female pouty twin, Athena.
Now it's back to real life... and we're already making plans for our next child-free weekend in a few months!

Oh, and wanna know something weird? On the day we got married, 6 years ago, it was almost 80F outside and beautiful. Again yesterday, it was 75 and so nice out. It was like nature was celebrating with us!

Hopefully your weekends were just as fun?!?


Friday, January 11, 2013

I don't how she does it ...

One of my unofficial-because-if-I-made-it-official-I'd-quit New Year's Resolutions has been to make a more conscious effort to better manage my time each day.

That means, instead of taking a nap, or watching 5 episodes of West Wing back-to-back, I've been trying to do a load of laundry (wash, dry, fold and put away, thankyouverymuch!), cook dinner each night, keep the kitchen clean and make our bed each morning. Plus, you know, actually plan and do entertaining and mind-stimulating activities with that rowdy toddler of ours.

So far, I think I've done a pretty awesome job. Each day, Beatrice Kate and I do something in the mornings to tire her out grow her little mind. We go to the library, visit friends, ride our bikes:
Then during naps, I've spent the time catching up on work or prepping dinner, cleaning the house or making extra freezer meals and breads. You know, just generally doing stuff that should be done, and makes life easier when it's done but doesn't HAVE to be done right that second.

It feels nice to feel so accomplished at the end of the day. Rewarding, even

But I've gotta tell you. It's EXHAUSTING. Seriously. Maybe I'm just not cut out for this Suzy Homemaker role, because I am so. freaking. tired.

If you're a single mother, or heck, even a working mother or a stay-at-home mom with more than one child... I am SO impressed with you. I honestly do not know how you do it. In fact, I feel guilty for even being less than perky at the end of the day because I don't really work (I mean I do, but it's not a 40 hour week every week, all day) and I only have one child but dang. I'm asleep each night about .0003 seconds after my head is on my pillow.

Maybe I need to get one of those "house organizer" binders or a checklist or something because even when I'm trying to be proactive and plan my time... I still can't keep my head above water.

You mamas who have you stuff together much more than me, please give me your secrets.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

A little request on behalf of this little ol' blog ...

Hi Guys... I can't tell you how much it means to me that our little ol' blog has become so popular over the last year. I think our readership has grown from well, just my dad, to over 300+ page views a day.

That's a lot. I can't even name 300+ so I know it's not just my dad sending the link to our family members (which he's possibly doing as well).

Except, only I know that information. That's because I obsessively check my blog stats to see which posts are a hit and which ones are a miss. I'm the only one who sees the sweet emails I get from readers about how our NICU story was helpful or encouraging to them.

But otherwise, to the outside, it looks a bit like our blog is well... not very popular.

How do you figure into this? Well, if you like this blog, like our stories about our life with our kiddo... could you possibly, maybe, just might you consider commenting on a few posts? And if you're already commenting, maybe you could encourage others to do so as well?

Why you're asking? Because people who might someday consider advertising on this blog like to know that their hardwork would actually be seen. They're insecure like that. And I am too. Plus, it's just fun to hear from people who read our blog.

Good or bad or good, leave some feedback would ya? Comments, "likes", retweets; they're all little bits of Blogger Crack and it encourages us to keep writing. It makes it feel exciting to keep telling you all crazy-but-true tales of our life with a bossy, sassy, little girl.

I'm needy, so indulge me, k?


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Midweek Randoms

  • We're attempting to follow the 100 Days of Real Food guidelines for well, the next 100 days. So far, it's been really great and while our digestive tracks may have needed a bit of adjustment time for the overload of whole grains, it's been a pretty easy switch. For the most part, we eat really, really healthy and clean. It's just the sweets and refined sugars that Casey nor I can turn down. But over a week into it, I can say we don't really miss anything all that much. I've been finding and making "healthier" versions of our favorite snack foods and some muffins and breads with honey and apple juice.
  • To make sure we can stick to this when I start getting busy again with doula clients, I've been making 1 or 2 extra meals each weekend and freezing them. This way, on days I'm out or on days neither of us feel like cooking... voila! Meal made! I'm sure this will fall by the way side on the first bit of busy-ness I get, but for now it's working out fine.
  • You guys, I am seriously addicted to The West Wing. It was added to the Netflix cue over Christmas and I can't. stop. watching. What started out as a "Oh, okay, there's nothing else to do, so I guess I'll watch just one to see what the hype is about" has turned into a full-fledged jonesing for a show that's teaching me more about politics than I learned in a 9th grade Civics class. I feel like this crazy episode of Portlandia when Fred and Carrie spend a week watching Battlestar Galactica and not doing anything else and they go crazy from the lack of sleep and lose their jobs. It's that bad. 
  • Please excuse the fact that I just referenced my addiction to a television show with an example from another television show. That's just sad, isn't it? Just ignore me. 
  • Bea spent an entire two weeks over the Holidays complaining about how she "Doesn't like to wear jeans, Mommy. They don't feel good" and I may or may not have spent a small fortune at H&M on some cotton leggings for her. Of course now, that means that this week... she's all "Oh, I love jeans Mommy. They keep me nice and warm". (I swear to you she says it just like that)
  • I got a few comments and an email or two about the dress I was wearing in our family photos. I got it here. If you haven't been ordering clothes from ModCloth, what is wrong with you? My addiction to ModCloth is only second to my addiction to West Wing. Their stuff is so fun and unique and it's really, really reasonably priced. Get. On. It.
  • Bea and Casey spent nearly 30 minutes last night building pyramids out of rolls of toilet paper. Toilet Paper. She prefers that, you see, to the 4,000 toys and dolls she received over Christmas. Santa could have saved a few bucks had he known this information beforehand. 
  • And I think I'll leave you today with two of the funniest (to me, at least) and sweetest videos of Bea we have to date. To go along with yesterday's post and her Princess Preferences right now, she's really into doing "Princess Dancing", which is otherwise known around here as "Dancing Ballet". Next week, she'll start back in her Developmental Movement class (again, what she calls Ballet Class, even though there is absolutely no ballet taught or practiced during it) and I can honestly say that even if the class was $1,000, we'd find a way to pay for it. Bea's gross motor skills have grown so much since she started taking it last fall. Just look at this kid's balance. She's on track to be a Prima ballerina someday (or at least a Prima Diva, with that bossy attitude):

*Just please ignore the fact that no, we still have not fully put away our Christmas crap and yes, our house is tiny and usually untidy. I just accept it and you probably should too.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I'm waving the white flag of surrender when it comes to the battle over all things Pink and Sparkly in this house. Despite being brought up in color-wheel equality in her short 3 years, the girl simply loves Pink:

I'm tired of fighting it. And slowly but surely, Cinderella ate my daughter:

One of the biggest reasons for not finding out whether we were expecting a boy or girl when I was pregnant was because we were afraid of the onslaught of pink, frilly, crap that comes with having a female child. I guess Bea decided to show us who's boss because girlfriend will pick out, and demand to wear the most girly-girl outfits she can find.

And? We're okay with it, because it was her choice. We're pretty open as parents and have always said that whatever path Bea takes in life, we'll support it. If she had chosen her favorite colors to be green and blue and she loved trucks, we'd totally buy into it as well. But she didn't. She chose all things Pink and the more glitter or shimmer something has, the better. So for right now, we're allowing this:
And this:
The temporary radio tattoo probably isn't very princessy, but like I said- we're equal opportunity supporters.
And okay, even this:
And at night, before Beatrice Kate goes to bed, we'll even support her strange demands to "Brush and pull out my hair like Cinderella". :
I refuse to allow birds and mice to help the child get dressed in the mornings. I'm drawing the line somewhere, folks.
For the time being at least.

And it's all because it's important to us that Beatrice Kate knows that we'll stand behind her in anything she chooses to do in her life. Now, it's princess and pink. Tomorrow it could be a History or a Psychology major, and someday it'll be a major life crisis. We'll start small.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Perfectly Ordinary Weekend...

I'll be the first to admit it- we're homebodies. We crave our "normal routines" and being within our comfort zones. And this past weekend, we finally were able to return to normal, to ordinary. And it was just what the doctor ordered.

On Saturday, we biked over to the Durham Farmer's Market (in the same area as our family photoshoot). This week, there was a guy there with this incredible bubble-maker-thingy (that's the scientific term, I'm sure):
I don't care what you say about Durham. Things like this are why we live here.
Through overhearing some of his conversations with others, I found out that this guy lost his job last week and wanted do something that made him feel happy. In doing so, he also made about 60 random kiddos manically happy as well. One of those kiddos was our girl:
My little shy girl. Ran into the crowds to get those bubbles. I was so proud. But also terrified she would mobbed down.

All that bubble chasing zapped her energy, because about 3/4 of a mile into the bike trip home, we looked back and saw this:
And yes, before I get hate mail about safety, I know. I know this isn't very safe. But we literally stopped every block or so to check on her breathing. She was NOT happy about being woken up so much and each time would grumble under her breath and fall back into this position. No matter what we tried, no matter how we repositioned her, she wound up like this eventually:
There are some battles I'll fight. Napping, in whatever form it comes in these days, is not one of them.
Moving on. After her brief rest, she was powered for the rest of the day and we took advantage of the beautiful weather and did a little swinging:
I can't remember what I've told you about our swing in the backyard, but well, it was rigged up by my husband, the engineer (read from that what you will):

And it goes really high:
Inspecting the safety of that thing isn't recommended, kiddo.
Like, "OHMIGOD, CASEY! Get her down from there right now"-the-first-time-I-saw-her-in-it High:
But darn-it, even if it is a deathtrap waiting to take away Mah Babee, she loves it. So we love it I accept it:
After the swinging sesh, Casey and Beatrice Kate opted for a picnic outdoors:
It was a little chilly out though, so it wasn't long before Bea joined me on the couch to snuggle and watch West Wing for 6 hours. Inside of my robe:
Sunday I was on Infant Nursery Duty, so Bea got the chance to show off her newest in NCSU Athletic Wear:
I'm counting the days until she's over that "Fake Smile" smile. For. Realz.
You better believe she will be wearing that little get up to a game this fall. And those shoes?!? I heard from another Mommy Blogger that See Kai Run was having a warehouse sale and was able to get those babies for $15! Seriously.

I hope your weekends were pretty low-key too and that you were able to enjoy the serenity that follows the Holiday Frenzy like we did. Sometimes, normal and ordinary are pretty wonderful aren't they?
That's a doll's bed and no, no, she's not wearing pants. Any more questions?

Well, as close to ordinary and normal as we'll ever get at least...