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December 31, 2012

Peace Out, 2012

This past year has been so special, so joyful...I have much to be thankful for. If there's one thing that I am constantly reminded of, it's that I have the best family, and the best friends, that anyone could hope for. It's so freaking cliche, but it really took having Lily in my life to slow down and truly appreciate all of the people that make my world such a beautiful place, and focus more on living in the present. 
We're closing out 2012 quietly...calmly...just the three of us, some Chinese food, and a movie or two at home. Abundant snuggles, kissing those sweet, soft baby cheeks and as the world counts down to midnight, I will be watching my girl, with the longest eyelashes I've ever seen, fall asleep in my arms. There's nowhere in the world I'd rather be.




December 21, 2012

Joy to the World

I am signing off for the next few days after this post. It's time to unplug, drive up to Massachusetts and spend some quality time with our families and friends. We need some holiday cheer and ho ho ho and good will towards men.

This past week has been tough. I catch myself feeling guilty having a good time with my girl, wondering if we should be giggling and smiling and feeling joyful. There's a lot of sadness in this state. You can feel it in the grocery store and sitting in traffic. People are being kinder to each other. More gentle, more patient. At least, we're trying. This time of year has so much hustle and bustle and "I want this" and "I need that". I think people are slowing down. We're finding that what we want is to feel joy, and what we need is a peaceful heart. I just want to stretch my arms out around the world and give it a great big hug.

There's something about the holidays that makes grieving quite a bit harder. This time of year, I still think of my beloved grandfathers and how much I miss them. Their absence is still felt when we get together as a family. But with time, the empty feeling of sadness and missing them fills with newness and happiness. It might not come quickly. You might not even realize it, until one day, you feel that peace. You are moving forward. You are healing. You see reflections of the ones who have gone in the faces of the ones who are here.

So I will hug my girl tight. I will kiss her chubby pink cheeks and let her hold onto my finger for as long as she likes. I will make goofy faces and talk like a goober if it means I'll get a big gummy smile staring back at me. And I will thank God for the goodness in the world, because it is there. And it's good for the hurting and healing soul to embrace it with open arms.



December 20, 2012

Geek Baby

When we found out Lily was a girl at our 20 week ultrasound, we were so, so incredibly happy. I did, however, have some feelings of remorse for the baby boy that I was convinced we were having. There are many strange moments in pregnancy and parenthood where you are seriously battling yourself over emotions. The unknown of having a son or daughter was one of those things. There are things you look forward to with a son or a daughter that you may not necessarily think would be as enjoyable with the other. When we heard them say "It's a girl!", I cried, and forgive me for the gender stereotypes, saw a future of ballet recitals, tea parties, belting showtunes, and playing dressup with my little girl. I felt bad that Sean wouldn't get to geek out with a little guy, that the core things he loves (superhero and geek culture) might be lost on a little girl. 

And then I wisened up. Because when she gets older and decides what she likes, sure, she might become a Disney princess-aholic, she might be a tomboy, she might be a bookworm, or she might find that she really does love the things that mommy and daddy love - musicals, art and geekery. It's up to her. 

But for now, while she's little and has no idea, we can try to make an impression. We can expose her to things that we find value and enjoyment in. And hopefully - hopefully - some of it might stick. At the very least, we get some cute photo ops.


December 16, 2012

3 Months




The days are going so fast and it seems like every day brings something new now. This month was a busy one, Lil. So many people got to meet you, hold you, and shower love all over you. It was awesome.

Nicknames: Lil, Peanut, Patoot, Lilycakes

We spent an entire week up in Massachusetts for your first Thanksgiving. You were such a good baby. You are such a good baby. You are content to be awake and looking at people or anything that catches your attention. You will let anyone hold you and are very peaceful. Your Mimi is convinced that you are a thoughtful old soul. I think she's right.


You were baptized and many people came to celebrate this special day with you. You slept through the entire ceremony and didn't even fuss when the holy water was poured over your head. I saw so much love surrounding you that day. You are the luckiest, most loved baby.


Your daddy and I put up our Christmas tree and decorated it. We added some special new ornaments this year for you, including one with your footprint. I love your long skinny feet. They make me giggle.

We started some new family traditions for the holiday season. Just like your daddy did when he was little, we watched Rudolph on tv and ate cookies and drank cocoa. You slept, but I think you enjoyed it.


You are tipping the scales at over 12 lbs now! You have little leg rolls, arm rolls, a Buddha belly, and chubby cheeks. I miss my tiny baby, but I am loving the little chunk you're becoming. It's a strange balance of wanting you to stay small but loving watching you grow. 

You have started babbling and you love the sound of your voice. We have little conversations throughout the day, and you let us know when we're not paying you enough attention. You, my dear, have quite the set of lungs. I love hearing your little voice. It's so sweet and makes my heart sing.

You are tolerating tummy time a bit better, and have started playing with toys. You love holding your rattle and your little pink bunny. You clutch your giraffe lovey and hold it to your cheek and chew on its nose. You have discovered your hands, how to pull your binky out of your mouth, and you love chewing and sucking on them.


You love bathtime, diaper changes, and generally not being dressed. God help us.

We are still breastfeeding as much as we can, but also using formula to supplement. You don't care as long as your belly gets filled. I love the time we still get with breastfeeding. Even if it's not as much as I hoped, it's our special time.

You are just like me - you get super cranky when you're hungry. You get pissed off when we make you burp between ounces during a feeding. As soon as the bottle is out of your mouth, you scream at us. It's kind of hilarious and pathetic.


You are not a morning person. Another way I know you're my girl. We wake up super early, you eat, and we go back to sleep together. We both sleep with an arm over our heads, and grunt and groan when it's finally time to get up for the day. Daddy thinks it's hilarious.

You have crazy long eyelashes, rosy cheeks, a sweet smile, and the biggest, bluest eyes I've ever seen. Your hair is showing it's strawberry blonde goodness. You are such a beauty, and I don't quite know how to handle it. 


We have 2 more weeks together before I go back to work, and it's killing me. I know I'm going to miss you so much. 3 months have gone so fast, it kind of scares me. I hate that I can't stay home with you, and that I will miss you during the day. I promise I will keep trying to figure out a way to be home with you. You are the best. I can't wait to see what this next month brings.

xoxo

December 14, 2012

Sleep

Silent night, holy night...

Her daddy is working late, the apartment is quiet, it's just the two of us. I don't eat dinner until 8:30 because she wants to be held, she wants to be rocked, she wants to be nursed. She coos softly on my shoulder, snuggling her face into my neck.

...All is calm, all is bright...

The living room is softly lit by our Christmas tree, covered in ornaments we've collected over the years. Some given to us by our mothers. Some as old as we are. The white lights are soft, illuminating her round cheeks and the tufts of reddish hair on top of her head. Her back rises and falls with each sweet breath. I wrap my arms around her a little more tight, a little more secure.

...Round yon virgin, mother and child...

Her tiny hand clutches my necklace, making sure I know that she's holding on tight. The necklace is a nest of silver wire, with a single pearl in the middle. My baby bird, nestled in close to my heart. Our breathing becomes synchronized as my eyelids get heavy, the long day sinking in. I am glad to be holding my girl tonight. She is mine, just as I am hers.

...Holy infant, so tender and mild...

She lifts her head on occasion, only to rest it back on my shoulder. She lets out a yawn and her cooing grows softer, her breathing more relaxed by the minute. I gently rub her back in a slow circular motion and hum a soft, familiar tune. Her tiny hand eventually releases my necklace from her grip. Her eyes are closed and her cheek is squished against my shoulder. I don't want to put her down, but just take in these quiet moments. My baby girl. While I can, I will hold her. I will keep her warm. I will sing her songs and tell her I love her. I will look upon her sleeping face and my heart will fill with peace.

...Sleep in heavenly peace...




The Worst

I am heartbroken for the community of Newtown, CT. There are just no words to describe how bad it is. It is just the worst. All I can do is pray for the families of those who have died, and hold my baby tight and tell her I love her.

I am so sad for the children at that school. It's a small town where everyone knows each other, the kind of place that reminds me of where I grew up. It is supposed to be a time of holiday cheer and magic and joy. And now their childhoods will never be the same. How does this happen? How does someone have so much anger they go into a school and shoot children? How on earth can we protect our babies in this world? How can we ensure their innocence? We can't. That is terrifying. We can only try. In a situation like this, there's nothing you can do but hope and pray that your child is ok.

As details emerge over the next few days, and those who lost their lives are laid to rest, hold your children tight. Tell them you love them. If you don't have kids, tell your parents you love them. Tell anyone. Life is too short and unpredictable not to. 

December 11, 2012

Soar

The days are feeling so much shorter now. I just want to grab onto any little bit of sunshine or light that I can, dig my heels into the ground, and pull with all of my might. Give me one more hour. 30 minutes? It just never feels like enough.

Sean took some overtime today, so he snuck in some extra Lily snuggles before he left. I hate watching him go. I will be doing the same soon enough. Blech. I can't even think about it. In an attempt to get my mind off things, I doodled a superhero chicken. I think her name is Ethel.


Miss Lil can seriously rock some overalls.








Lily seems to have changed (again) overnight. I picked her up and got on the scale and she is now a whopping 12.3lbs. Her face is rounder, and I swear her eyes are getting bluer and her hair is getting redder. She has some rolls on her legs and a round little belly that makes me squee whenever I'm changing her diaper. Luckily, Lil loves a diaper change and gives me big gummy smiles. And she sleeps a lot. Oh, does she sleep.




I finally packed up her newborn clothes. I held them up to my girl, squeezed them, inhaled the remaining newborn smell and kissed them a so long and farewell. Maybe she'll have a little sister someday that can wear them. Maybe they'll stay in an old box at the back of her closet because mama just can't let go of her tiny baby. Then she can use them to dress up her stuffed animals like I did with my baby clothes.




I love our tree something fierce. Even on these days when it's dark and I'm missing Massachusetts extra hard, it lifts my spirits. It makes my heart flutter. Just like that little chicken, it gets me thinking that maybe I can soar.

Tis the season. Anything is possible.



December 10, 2012

Her Hands


I can't help but stare at your tiny, sweet hands. They are smooth and perfect, and just a little plump. You have started exercising control over them, grasping a rattle, your binky, my fingers. You've had an amazing grip since day one. I can't help but wonder, how long will you keep wanting to hold on to my hand? You have not yet fed yourself, wiped tears from your eyes, or held hands with friend. You have not fallen down and scraped your palms, or felt the intense pain of a paper cut. There's so much you haven't done, but the tiny yet mighty squeeze of your hand around my finger makes my heart ache. I know some day you will let go. These hands will maybe throw a mean fastball or delicately keep you balanced at a ballet bar. They will get paint splattered, exfoliated by beach sand, and maybe even broken. Your nails might get polished on countless slumber parties with friends, smeared with a mess of colors and sparkles and stickers. Someday there may even be a wedding ring encircling one of those fingers.

To me, no matter where these hands go, no matter how worn they get, they will always be perfect.

December 4, 2012

Time to Fess Up

My friend Melissa over at Growing Up Geeky does weekly themed posts, and I have to add mine this week. With close to 3 months of motherhood under my belt, I have started feeling like everything I post is sunshine and rainbows over here. I can't help it. But this will be a different kind of post. Big, fat, juicy confessions straight from the fingertips of this mommy. Judge away.


I lost all of my pregnancy weight, and have plateaued at my pre-pregnancy weight, which is considered obese. I know I need to work out and get healthy, and definitely can squeeze in 30 minutes a day while she naps. But right now I'd rather eat oatmeal cookies and watch The View (or The Chew).

I know I'm not the only one with this one, but if Sean is home, I take an extra few minutes in the shower or in the bathroom, just for a little me-time. I bring my phone and catch up on Instagram (no, I don't post pictures from the toilet) or Twitter.

In the past 70 or so days, I have gone without a bra probably 60 of them. The other 10 days I have only worn a bra if I've been out in public or around non-immediate family. I hate that I have to start wearing one again when I go back to work.

I would rather stay at home with my girl than work. I'm devastated that I can't.

I think my baby is freakishly cuter than other babies.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time the first 6 weeks sitting on the couch watching tv. I know that most days this was just what we needed to do, but I think about all the junkie tv I watched and wonder how many brain cells were lost.

Some nights I get upset that Sean gets to sleep when I wake up and change and feed her. But I am also fine with it because he has to work, while I can take naps during the day. I'm nervous about how this is going to change when I go back to work. I anticipate being sleep-deprived and miserable at work.

On the other hand, I love the time I get with her in the middle of the night. I miss her now that she's in her crib. It's quiet and peaceful and she gives me huge smiles when I come in to get her.

If I were not still breastfeeding I would probably drink 4 cups of coffee a day.

I have no freaking idea how we will do this again someday. Caring for an infant? It's hard work. Caring for an infant with a toddler? God bless anyone that does it.

Any day that I put on pants I consider a success.

December 1, 2012

2nd Annual Christmas Day

We did it again. We spent another glorious random weekday ringing in the Christmas season. Bing Crosby crooning, tomato soup and grilled cheese, dozens of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (which may have disappeared as quickly as they were baked), and tree decorating. Throw in a sprinkling of holiday specials like The Grinch and Muppet Family Christmas, and our day was complete. I know Lily will not remember it, but it was extra special for us, knowing that it's her first Christmas season. We're in the midst of many firsts, not just for her, but for us, as parents. These things are so important to us, and we want to enjoy each one. Even if it's as little as capturing her special Christmas dress that her daddy picked out.

I remember looking back at pictures of myself as a baby, sitting in my brother's lap next to my sister in front of our family tree. I obviously don't remember my first Christmas, as I was just shy of 3 months old, but the photographs tell me so much. I see happy siblings, excitement, and though the apartment we lived in was small, it was ours and it was a happy place to live because my parents worked hard to make it a home. I hope Lily someday looks back on the photographs we take and feels the love we have for her and our family.













Thankful

December? I am so behind on blogging. Whoops.

I've seen so many wonderful posts last month about being thankful. My Facebook and Instagram feeds were flooded with heartwarming thoughts, some funny insights, and a lot of stuff that just makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I know people say that we should be thankful year round, and I think a lot of people are, but the holidays are always a good reminder to sit back and enjoy what's most important to us. For me, it's family.


Is it terrible that this one makes me laugh? 
My family has been redefined almost yearly in the past decade. Marriages, births, deaths, and new pets have more than doubled the size of my family. And family is love, so the love in my life has therefore grown abundantly.



Traditions that I loved as a kid are now things I look forward to experiencing with Lily and any more kids in our future. Things like watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in our pjs and excitedly awaiting Santa's arrival in Herald Square. And trips to the beach on days when it's not perfectly warm and sunny.


We spent 7 glorious days with our families, bouncing back and forth between our parents' homes, trying to get in as much of that special holiday time as possible. We also had our first date night since Lily was born, and went to dinner and a movie. We ate "Wahlburgers" (yum!) and saw Rise of the Guardians, which was very cute, but I kept dozing off. Oops.

The highlight of weekend was Lily's baptism, where she was welcomed into the Catholic Church. We may not be very "churchy" people, but we're people of faith, and want to bring her up surrounded in love and community. On Sunday, she was surrounded by so much love, and as each person there made the sign of the cross on her forehead, blessing her and showing their love and support of her as a community, I realized that while we are not perfect by any means, I have faith that although we live in a world that I am really scared to bring up children in, we'll do well as long as we teach her the fundamentals of love, respect, and service.











Thanksgiving Day was a bit crazy. Good crazy. It was jam-packed with lots of family, which can be tiring, but is always good and needed. Sean's parents always have a house full of family for dinner, welcoming anyone and everyone who needs a place to eat. It's the kind of home I hope to have someday, brimming over with people who know that they're always welcome and the more the merrier.







More family, more love. And for that, I'm thankful.