My heart is preparing itself for winter. I find myself wondering how I will survive. These seasons of my life are the hardest and the most full of wonder that I will ever know.
There is the solitude of marriage; the solitude of motherhood; the solitude of snow, just on the horizon.
How will I go on?
The days are long and hard. The darkness comes too early, again. I think, “This, too, shall pass.” Although the little voice that lives in my heart says, “No. Stay. Freeze here, time. Don’t let them grow. Don’t let them leave me.”
The season of my life has turned. I used to live with the fear of losing romantic love, afraid of loneliness in that way. Now I live in with fear of my children growing away from me. Still babies, but I’ve been taught for a lifetime how quickly it will pass. And even as the hands of the clock drag slowly through these saddest hours–I know now. My baby is a little boy already.
I live with it. The ache of knowing the very preciousness of these moments. It pulls at me. Weights me down, like grief.
Have faith, old heart. After night comes day. After winter comes spring.
We had the sweetest Halloween. We met up with my sister & my nephews at my parents house for lunch. Afterward we headed to a Trunk-or-Treat and then out into the neighborhood for some good, old-fashioned Trick-or-Treating. We stopped at our church where the beautiful witches were handing out very special pumpkins.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a snap of Marina while we were out & about. She fell asleep in the stroller and we didn’t dare stop moving to take a picture. But I do have a very special photograph of her in costume that I’ll be sharing tomorrow. Stay tuned.
I hope that you & yours had a beautiful Halloween weekend. xo
It’s been entirely too long since I’ve made an update about my sweet boy. Although I won’t be blogging too often for awhile, I really wanted to get this update in because I haven’t made a “Roman Update” since before Marina was born! So much has changed since my last one that I could never fill in all of the pieces, so I’ll just pick up where we are now.
I haven’t had much time lately to pull my camera out to take pictures, but I’ve been wanting to make a video of Roman for a long time to capture his precious little voice. Everyone remarks about how sweet it is. He sounds like a little fairy child and I just love it so much. Of course, you can’t hear it all that well in this video because he has a cookie in his mouth most of the time! I was attempting to use the cookie as a treat if he did well in the recording, but as soon as he saw the cookie, he had to have it immediately.
Hello, two-and-half-years-old. 😉
Growth & Appearance: You are the most beautiful little boy that I have ever seen. Your blond hair, creamy skin, & bright blue eyes take my breath away all of the time. You are big — tall and thick. When you are around other children your age, you look like a little giant. Most people guess that you are three or even four. I’m always informing people that you’re just two-and-a-half which comes as a surprise to them. You wear a size 3T in clothing and a size 8 in shoes.
Sleeping: A couple of months back, naps started to get crazy. No matter how much we would try to wear you out, you would lay in your crib and scream, cry, sing, play or jump for about 45 minutes before finally passing out. Other times, you wouldn’t ever pass out and after an hour, we would just give up and take you out. We even got black out curtains for your windows and kept the house perfectly quiet, but it didn’t matter. On the rare occasion that you would fall asleep, you’d sleep for nearly three hours. But then, you would stay up much later at night — sometimes until 10pm. It became such a circus, that we just decided to cut out your naps and put you to bed earlier.
Now, you go to bed between 7:30 and 8:30 pm and you’re so tired by that point that you fall right asleep and sleep through the night. You wake up between 6:30 and 7:30 am. It concerns me a bit that you’re not getting naps, but every baby — I know you’re not a baby anymore — is different and we’re just doing our best and following your queues.
Occasionally, you will still take a nap in the afternoon when you really need one.
Talking: In your last update, I wrote that your vocabulary was rapidly expanding and you had mastered a few phrases. As of today, you speak as fluently as any preschooler that I know.
Your vocabulary is expansive. You do get caught up with grammar now and again (verb tenses and correct pronouns). You also get nouns and adjectives backwards sometimes. You speak the Spanish way. For example instead of red dog, you’ll say dog red. Which is how it’s done in Spanish “el perro rojo.” But overall, you speak incredibly well. You use full sentences and your vocabulary blows me away.
Being able to communicate with you is such a joy. You have truly become my best friend.
Development: You love to sing and dance. You are an incredible artist. You love to paint and draw. The “pictures” that you draw never cease to amaze me. You’ve become much more coordinated and you can run fast now, too. Summer is over now, but you got quite good at swimming around the pool with your float vest on this year. I have a feeling that you’ll be swimming on your own next year.
Favourites: Dora the Explorer is your favorite show. Your favorite foods are spaghetti and pizza. Your favorite toys are any that allow you to build — blocks, train tracks, strings that you can tie from place to place to create suspension bridges. You have a very engineering mind. Sometimes I call you “my little architect.” Your creative mind and imagination are so beautiful to me. I couldnt be any prouder of you than I am now.
Dislikes & Behavior: You’ve become extremely shy around strangers. You clam up and actually can’t even open your mouth when a stranger speaks to you. I watch you struggle to open your mouth and it just doesn’t happen. It’s not too surprising considering how shy your Papa is. On the other hand, you are a loud, boisterous ham at home! When you’re with us there isn’t a shy bone in your singing, dancing, silly body. Also, your shyness goes out the window around other children, too. You’re so playful & friendly with other kids.
As for your behavior, you’re doing fairly well. You have your moment. As evidenced in the video! I decided to keep that in to show just how temperamental you can be — from tears to smiles in seconds flat. I imagine that it’s all a normal part of the toddler experience and I’m sure that we’ve got a couple of years of it left to come. That’s alright with me! Most of the time you are just my darling boy.
You’ve also settled so well in your role as big brother. You are just so sweet, gentle, and loving with your baby sister.
I’m sorry that this update is a little bit short, but it’s taken me a month just to get these little bits down. I hope you will someday enjoy the video as much as I do. I’m so glad I’ve finally captured you on film, my little love.
At the moment, I have 1,534 unopened emails sitting in my inbox. This is coming from someone who typically panics if I have more than ten unread emails at a given time.
I’m writing this on my phone, just as I have written almost all of the blog posts that I have published in the past seven months. And even if I did have a moment to sit down at my computer, I couldn’t get to it. My desk is literally covered in stuff. We’re neck-deep in yet another big declutter/purge. After this one, our house will finally be parsed down to the bare essentials (plus some toys, crafting supplies, and a few decorations).
It’s fair to say that my life is in shambles to an extent. It’s the reason for the out-of-control inbox; the reason for the haphazard declutter/purge; the reason for the chaos that is presently my life. It’s also the reason that I am going to be stepping back from this space for a little while.
As I said, my life is in shambles a little bit. Many days I’m holding on by a thread. There’s not much more that I can say about it right now. There are big and difficult and scary things happening, things that will dramatically alter the course of my life forever. I’m not trying to be vague. I just can’t talk about it right now. And I don’t want to anyway. I’m not ready.
So, as I trudge through the shit and the beauty of these days & this pivotal moment in my life, I’m going to be away from this space more often than usual. I’ve got to take a step back from everything actually—everything except for those few things that absolutely need my attention (i.e. keeping my family fed, healthy, clean).
I’ve been crafting this post in my head for months. I’ve even started a few different drafts. It’s hard for me to share this, but I feel like it’s important, too.
Thank you, always, for reading & for being a part of my life. Thank you for your warm thoughts, your support, and your kind words. I am so grateful.
Worrying is a part of parenthood. It just comes with the territory. What a lot of us don’t realize in advance is just how much worrying we’ll actually do. You simply can’t prepare for it.
The world is just one big hazardous playground. Little things that you never viewed as “dangerous” before, are suddenly perilous obstacles placed all around your little ones.
As much as I’d like to place my babies in safe bubbles, that’s not an option. We have to go on living. All that I can do is make the best choices for my family and hope that I’m doing the right thing. Gratefully, there are products that make our world a little safer for my babies and a little easier on me, too.
Since becoming a mama of two, the daily safety juggle has gotten all the more crazy. One thing that’s been helpful is our Ovia baby monitor by Levana. When Roman was born, I used a few of the gift cards that we received to purchase a simple baby monitor. It served us fairly well, but there were a few limitations that made it less than ideal. Then recently we were asked to review the Ovia and it provided solutions to all of those limitations and then some.
The Ovia features a silent pan/tilt/zoom camera that you control by touchscreen. That means when your little one moves, you can easily follow them. It also has Talk to Baby™ two-way communication which not only allows you to hear baby, but also allows them to hear you when you choose.
Before we got the Ovia, Marina’s naps were such a nightmare for me. As I’ve written about at length, she won’t sleep without me. She also won’t sleep with Roman in the room, because he’s just too loud.
Now that we have the Ovia, I can lay down with her and keep the monitor on Roman. Even when he’s all over his room, I can pan & tilt the monitor to keep an eye on him. One of these days, I’m hopeful that we’ll get our little Marina Grace sleeping on her own, but in the meantime, I’m grateful for this solution.
Here’s a quick video of my munchkin being silly, playing with blocks in his room. It’s nice that the Ovia allows me to keep up with his antics, even when I’m in the next room.
Levana is dedicated to Baby Safety. Visit here to learn more about the Ovia. Also, Levana is giving away one Ovia monitor system. Use the widget below for a chance to win your own.
This morning we piled in the car and headed to the pumpkin patch. Autumn has been my favorite season since I was a little girl and pumpkin picking has always been my favorite autumn tradition. (After trick-or-treating, of course.)
As always, getting to experience the beauty of my favorite things with my sweet babies brings my joy to a whole new level.
We came home with three gorgeous pumpkins—a giant one to carve, a little one that Roman picked out, and a beautiful blue gourd that I couldn’t resist.
These days are the best days. The gorgeous outfits that Roman & Marina are wearing are handmade by one of our favorite new shops, Whippersnappers and Whatnot. They’ve got such adorable pieces for little ones and I was so excited to get my babies dolled up in these sets for pumpkin picking.
Along with this month’s portraits, I’m really excited to introduce you to LAYOP Kids. LAYOP stands for Live At Your Own Pace — a sentiment that I wholeheartedly support. It’s perfect for my little Roman who is constantly reminding me to slow down and enjoy life at a comfortable speed.
LAYOP started out as a clothing line for adults and this autumn they’ve launched a line for kids. LAYOP offers simple, clean designs on quality, timeless products. They sent us a few pieces from their children’s line to try out and we are impressed. In fact, Roman asks if he can wear his “turtle shirt” every morning.
The sketch turtle shirt that he is wearing in these photos is the softest shirt that he has. It has that comfy, worn-in feeling that you can usually only find in truly quality vintage t-shirts. I want it for myself! We also got a couple of adorable pieces for Marina that I’m just loving at the moment. My babies will be getting a lot of use out of these pieces.
Best part? LAYOP is generously giving away two (a boy style & a girl style) of the adorable shirts from their new line to one lucky reader. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
This month, we celebrated Marina’s half birthday. Some moments, I think, “Six months already?” and other times it feels like she’s been with us for an eternity. But that’s life. The days drag yet the year’s fly by.
This month started out like many others, with lots of challenge from Marina. But then, about halfway through, incredible changes began to occur. The only way I can explain it is that things just started to get better. She cries less frequently; she chills out by herself for longer stretches; and she’s just generally happier & more content.
This month we went on a family outing that was — for the first time since she was born — a total pleasure from start to finish. There simply aren’t words to explain how grateful I am to be typing these words. My eyes are actually welling up with tears just thinking about it. There are just no words. It has been so hard — hands down the hardest life experience I’ve ever had — but we made it through. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say on this topic in the future, but for now I’ll just use two words to sum up how I’m feeling: grateful & joyful.
Over the past month, she started solids; she rolls over like a champ; she wiggles all over the place; and she’s trying to push herself up into a crawl. She’s still exclusively breastfed as far as liquids go.
We tried a bit of sleep training a couple days after she hit the six-month mark, but it was a joke. Her pediatrician warned us that it doesn’t work well with “stubborn” babies, and my-oh-my, was she ever right. Sleep training only made Marina ever angrier and her bloodcurdling screams ever louder. Curiously, she did take three beautiful naps in her bassinet on the first day that we tried it, but since then, trying to get her to sleep alone only ignites her fury.
As such, I still sleep on the couch with her every night and lay down with her for all of her naps at home. Gratefully she also sleeps nicely in the car and stroller now for naps while we’re out and about. Side note, she still wakes up immediately and will not go back to sleep if the car/stroller stops moving.
Anyway, we’ve put a big hold on sleep training for now. There’s been so much general improvement that we’re just basking in the joy of some return to normalcy in our lives.
We are so very in love with this sweet, gorgeous girl of ours. Watching her begin to explore and discover the world just makes my heart burst. Finally seeing her smiles outweigh her tears is the greatest gift I could hope for.
Over the weekend, we celebrated the Harvest Moon and went apple picking. It’s one of our favorite family traditions and a perfect way to kick off autumn. Although there are lots of orchards nearby, I spent awhile searching for an organic one. It turns out that there are only four organic orchards in all of New York State, so we were grateful when we found one just 35-minutes away.
We went to Slate Hill Orchard and had the most amazing day. The orchard is on the smaller side, but we went on a Friday afternoon so we practically had the whole place to ourselves. The orchard is on the sweetest little farm. There are pretty fields, a beautiful pond, and wildflowers growing everywhere. It was so peaceful. There was no noise except for the tractor passing by and the occasional chirping of birds.
Roman had a blast picking apples from the trees. He ate five while we were out there! After picking, we made our way back to the market where we picked up a feast for lunch. Homemade quiche, lobster bisque, organic juices, and cookies & apple cider donuts for dessert. We ate beneath an umbrella in the outdoor seating area.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day. Perfect weather, well-behaved babies, and delicious food. Several times that day, I said that I felt like the luckiest Mama in the world. And I truly am.