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Monday, September 19, 2016

Super William

Z just turned 9 months old over the weekend, but if you haven't noticed, I've subtly switched to bi-monthly updates. Even numbers only! So sorry, you'll have to wait to hear ALL about the pain she's been inflicting on me with her two new teeth. ;) 

This is a post about a little boy. A little boy who never stops talking until he climbs into bed with an oversized dump truck toy and a water bottle with ice and lays down for a snooze. 

Of note:

// When he argues in favor of something, it's because "We ALWAYS do X." Fancy logic. E.g.,
  • Will - I want a cookie.
  • Me - No, we don't eat cookies before dinner.
  • Will - BUT WE ALWAYS. We ALWAYS eat cookies. ALWAYS.
  • Me - No.
// If you ask him whether he wants to do something fun, he will say with great exaggeration, "That is a GREAT idea! I'm so exciiiiited. I can't wait!"

// He thinks that "diarrhea" is a body part. (Don't ask me how this came to be.)

// When he directs you to do something, he will tell you to reply "Yes, ma'am."

                 "Daisy, sit! Say, yes ma'am, Daisy. Sit!" -__-

// If you ask him to do a little task for you, he'll say, "Yes, please." E.g.,
  • Me, carrying Zelie and 23094834 other items - "Oh, Will, can you open the door for me real quick?"
  • Will - "Yes, please!" And runs to open the door. 

// He says his favorite thing about his daddy is that his daddy's name is William, too. 

// He says his favorite things about Zelie is wrestling with her. (Not allowed.) 

// He doesn't sign anymore, but when he emphatically wants something, he automatically rubs his tummy to sign "please." He doesn't remember any other signs he used to use on a daily basis a year ago.

// His favorite color is blue. 

// And he says his best friend is mommy. (Blogged this one down for all of history because you know that one won't last much longer.)

That's all for now.

Time to go sneak some cookies before dinner. 

Because WE ALWAYS.


Saturday, September 10, 2016


Happy happy Saturday. Will has his first defense trial on Monday, so it feels as though it's perpetually Wednesday over here. Although the kids did wake up at 5am today, so it felt like we had him longer than usual this morning. -__-

The Wills have been going on little hikes over the weekends recently, and finally Zelie and I got the chance to join. We live at the edge of a valley and there are tons of small mountains around us. On Monday, we hopped in the van, parked at the edge of a neighborhood across our town's main street, and just hiked around for a couple hours. 

Will wore his fanciest socks.

You can see the windmills in the distance. Windmills. Windmills as far as the eye can see out here.

Toward the east is the Air Force base. To the right in the photo below is part of the dry lake bed the installation is on. SO scenic on base. Let me tell ya.

Atop one of the little peaks was a giant cross.

Zelie was not impressed.

She's the ultimate hitchhiker. She napped for about an hour of our two-hour hike. It was her best nap all labor day weekend. I was in a crouch that entire time so her head didn't bob all around. Extra ice cream for me that night.

Nursing sesh atop a mountain. NBD. 

Something tells me Bear Grylls has never done this. When do I get my own show? (We've been watching all the Running Wild with Bear Grylls episodes. Everything is so staged and product market-y, but always so very entertaining.)

Staged kids photos in 3… 2…. 

Aaaand we're done.

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Budding Photographer

Trying to get back into blogging means breaking out the "good camera." For me, photography worth sharing just leads to the words flowing and to the blog posting. Because YOU KNOW it's a total faux pas to post more than one Instagram pic per day. (Did you know this? It's a social media rule of etiquette invented by high schoolers, I think.) But having an expensive camera in my hands is sort of like busting out the baby food. It becomes IR-RE-FREAKING-SISTABLE to my two-year-old. 

Just like the Puffs, if the kid begs and begs (+begs+begs+begs), my stoic facade is slowly but surely chipped away, and, finally, I relent. I'm no match for him. It happens just that poetically, but with about 5,000% more whining. So right, I let my two-year-old have at it with the DSLR (in aperture mode, the only setting I shoot in because … lazy).

BUT YOU GUYS, here's the first photo he took:

WHAT UP subject actually in focus. 

93 photos of the carpet later and I thought, let's get this kid outside and see if he can get a photo of me and the hubs. You know. There was that Love Your Spouse Challenge going on recently on Facebook where for seven straight days you posted pictures of yourself and your spouse. I was tagged to participate, but couldn't bring myself to even start because I literally could not find any photos of just Will and I taken after 2014. 

Face-swaps don't count.

But, look! August 2016, at your service.

47 blurry pictures of rocks later, andddd . . .

Dump truck: A still life.


It's sweet, really. He takes SUCH delicate care of the camera (for the most part) because he knows what a privilege it is to use it. When the camera is away, he's taken to holding up various toys to his eyes and pretending that it's a camera. "Say cheese!" 

Yesterday, he managed these:

LOLZ Daisy. 

And my favorites:

I couldn't capture the light in these leaves like this if I tried. And I do try! So that's embarrassing. 

ANYWHO. If you want to schedule senior portraits or your next family session with my toddler, you know where you can contact this tiger mom.*

*$500 non-refundable session deposit


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Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Slow Life

Just a little photo journal of sorts on life as of late. Things have been pretty slow lately. Actually, very slow. We shed all our commitments (i.e., friends) with the move, and being that we live so out of the way now, it's been easy to keep our calendar free of volunteer and social commitments. We are a good 25 minutes from base and church is 25 minutes in the opposite direction. We live in a very small community and haven't met many of our neighbors yet. 

I don't hate it. Not one bit. We've grown to love and depend on our weekday routine of getting out of the house before it gets too hot—either running outside with the duallie or going to the gym where the kids get some socialization—coming home for lunch and long afternoon naps, and spending what's left of our little afternoons playing, reading, and watching movies. 

Our new house has a bay window in the dining area that looks out to a most panoramic view of . . . a privacy fence. Naturally, it was deemed the perfect "dancin' spot" for underwear-clad hip-hop routines. As one does.

If only the neighbors could see. Damn privacy fence.

Zelie watches on in amusement.

Or is that the face one makes when teasing a mother after another failed attempt at sweet potato puree?

I have complied an extensive list of solid foods Zelie will eat:
  • Dog food
  • Paper
  • Chalk
Slowly, but surely, we are making progress with solids. 

Solid foods that is. Human foods. She will sit down and eat a couple ounces of pureed food now without total mess. She loves Puffs, too. I don't think she'll be an early weaner like her bro. I kind of think I'll be nursing her until she hits college at this point, but hopefully that's the irrational side of me . . . 

Z is SO CLOSE to walking. She stands up on her own in the middle of the room and the other day she took her first step before carefully lowering her bottom to the ground. She seems pretty motivated. Little Will was taking his first steps at 9 months and truly took off walking at 10 months, so I'm excited to see whether she'll beat him.

SIBLING RIVALRY Y'ALL. Girls rule, boys . . .

I don't even know what to call that.

But he's a fun, sanguine kid, who can be just as naughty as the sweetness those photographs exude. 

He's lacked blog attention as of late, so aside from his weeknight serenades from the bay window, here is a little more about our little guy: He always skips H through P when he sings the alphabet. He always skips the number 4 when counting to 6 (his current max). He still pronounces Zelie "WEH-EE!" even though he can pronounce Zs. "Say Zzzz-ELLIE…" "Zzzzz WEH-EE!" He can identify all his colors and knows the letters W, M (upside down W, naturally), O, B. And Z for Weh-ee, of course. He loves all things machines, and knows the difference between a fighter jet from a cargo plane, a tug boat from a ferry, a van from a race car, an excavator from a dump truck. 

He's been repeating things we adults say in the most hilarious ways. He calls me "babe" and "dear" - "Thanks for makin' dinner, babe!" He'll ask a question and upon hearing the answer, he'll exclaim "WHAT!" as adults do patronizingly to kids. He's started repeating me saying, "No, no, no, no, no!" in a gentle tone, something I've been using to admonish Zelie when she crawls to our hallway night light or the dog food bowls like a moth to a flame.

Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up and he'll say "a happy priest!" And yet he can NOT for the life of him keep his hands folded during grace or not flail his body around during nightly prayers. Skip a prayer though (sometimes Will forgets we added the St. Michael prayer, apparently) and you will quickly and forcefully be admonished.

Getting so big. And yet . . .

Every time I get out the baby food to sit down and try and force feed his sister, he immediately comes up begging, asking for some. "I'm a baby, too! Can I have a bite?"


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Thursday, August 18, 2016

8 Months with Zelie

This girl. Glasses and hair exist only for her entertainment, never beyond her exceptionally strong grasp. She has a seriously low, loud growl, and she's constantly shrieking and clapping her hands. Is there a time when her arms are not flailing? Questionable. She's got personality, and it's LOUD. I guess when you've got to compete for attention with the 2.5 year old who NEVER. STOPS. TALKING. 

Let's get right into the nitty gritty.


AKA THE STRUGGLE. I have been suffering through trying to feed this baby solid food twice a day for approx. two months. It's always a huge mess, something I didn't mind much with one kid, but now is a big inconvenience. But we forge onward. I don't want to jinx, but it seems—as of this week—that she's warming up to them. She LOVES Puffs all of a sudden (YAY MY FAVORITE PARENTING TOOL) and she's starting to actually open her mouth to take bites of things. Baby steps. Baby steps. 

Breastfeeding is going much more smoothly than it was with Little Will at this point. Probably because she actually likes it. She isn't as distracted. She's never taken a bottle, though we haven't really tried (no point, unless you want to volunteer to come watch her for an entire day? *sob sob sob*), so yeah, she's really into the boob. 

Her routine is pretty solid now that we are settled in the new house - 6:30 nurse, 10:30 nurse after nap, 12:30 lunch (solids), 2:30 nurse after nap, 5:00 dinner (solids), 6:30 nurse for bedtime, and then a 4am-ish nurse. 


Great improvement has been had in this area. She struggled with sleep from about 3-6 months with the 4-month sleep regression. And then there was a period of time after the move when she was dropping her third nap, so things got dicey at night again (3+ wake-ups) and I decided to sleep train/night wean. She goes down at 6:30, takes a 4am feed, and wakes for the day at 6-6:30. I could probably drop that 4am feed with some effort, but at this point I really don't mind it. 

UNLESS I STEP IN DOG PUKE ON MY WAY TO GO IN AND FEED HER. (This morning's episode. Can you tell?)

She takes two naps a day. Typically one short nap in the car in the morning (30-ish minutes) and then a longer afternoon nap (1-2 hours) that overlaps with big brother. 

We had both kids in the same room for a while, but I moved Z into the pack n play in the guest room for sleep training purposes. (She'd always nap there so Will would have access to his beloved train table.) Even though they never woke each other up, I didn't want to risk it. Then immediately after sleep training, they both came down with colds so I kept them separated. And now I suppose it's just inertia, she's still in there. Maybe I'll move her back soon. 

Maybe I'll just make this face

and not deal.


Siggghhhhh. When babies start solids, man, it's never fun. Every poop is a blowout, but the timing is always unpredictable. So that's fun. She's in size 4 disposables, which was pretty cool, because Little Will could squeeze into the same size, so I was only buying one box of diapers each time. BUT, little dude is potty trained now, which is so much better. 

This girl hates diaper changes with something fierce. Feeding her and changing her diaper are some of the most frustrating parts of being her mom, but she makes up for it by always giving me a round of applause for my efforts.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Smoothest PCS There Ever Was

We've been settled here in SoCal for an entire month and a half. Apologies for the lack of updates. Although if you follow us on Instagram or Snapchat you know we made it here safe and sound. I gotta say, for all my hemming and hawing over the move the weeks leading up to our PCS a month ago, it was THE SMOOTHEST PCS THERE EVER WAS. Everything fell into place at the very last minute such that we couldn't have planned it any better ourselves. 

The two biggest sources of stress were: (a) the movers weren't scheduled until the very last minute and (b) we didn't have a place to live at our destination. We expected that our things would be in temporary storage for at least six weeks, and maybe even up to six months if we decided to play the waiting game for a house on base (our original plan). The rental market during PCS season in the tiny town nearest to the base moves so very fast and our attempts at securing a rental off base before the move were very, very frustrating/unsuccessful. Postpartum hormones + moving uncertainty made me a real fun lady to be around, let me tell ya.

The movers told us, oh a week and a half ahead of time, that they'd be coming the day after our scheduled departure (no bueno). But like I said, it ended up working out perfectly. The kids and I flew out on a Monday, so I scheduled us to view a house first thing in the morning on a Tuesday. The first and only house I saw was sufficient (and way under BAH to boot), so I took it and put down a deposit right then and there, so that I could tell the movers where the destination was. The lease was signed by Friday.


The movers came on Saturday.

Here were are overjoyed to greet them.

So we only did a week in TLF (temporary lodging on base) with the kids and our stuff didn't have to go into temporary storage at all.


Not a-one thing was missing or damaged in the move. (I've heard too many horror stories to even recount.)

Will and his dad made the four-day drive and arrived the following Monday evening with the rest of our things. So the moving truck actually arrived before Will did, who was pulling a trailer full of designated "important" things - like the vacuum cleaner, washer/dryer, and kids' cribs. Waiting on that stuff was the only real hiccup of the move, but my mother-in-law and I were able to do a ton of unpacking over the weekend.

So Edwards Air Force Base.

It is really remote.

They like to say, "It's in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of everything."

Lots of sonic booms.

Everyone has an RV.

My lips are forever chapped.

BUT, drive a couple hours in any direction and you are somewhere amazing. Like here:

(Santa Monica Pier.)

We've made it to the coast a couple of times so far.

During the week, the kids and I have settled into an easy little routine. Our life is basically gym-Costco-library or GCL for all you old Jersey Shore fans. (Admit you know the reference.) Pretty much every morning, we hit the YMCA about 20 minutes away toward civilization. Some days we hit up Costco next door afterwards. Zelie gets her morning nap in the car on the way home. I nurse her, we eat lunch, and then both kids go down for naps around 1-1:30. Then afternoons are either for hanging out at home (currently throwing puffs at Z while LW watches Netflix to finish up this post!!) or hitting up the library.

It's kind of nice to slow things down after ending up with so many commitments the past few weeks at Scott. The kids are thriving. Since getting settled, Little Will turned 2.5 and has suddenly potty trained and started being able to identify letters and colors (after SO MUCH STRUGGLE, seriously). And Zelie is 8 months old today! (Don't worry - photos have been taken and her eat sleep poop deets are forthcoming.) 

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Friday, June 17, 2016

6 Months with Zelie

Hey, y'all. It's been a while. Lots to update, so buckle up. This one may be a doozie. 

When I last blogged, Zelie was but a four month old blob of squish. Now she's a six month old blob of squish. It's a subtle difference, but read to the end, and I think you'll come to really appreciate the nuances.

Her personality is still very very happy and giggly. She kicks her legs and squeals with delight regularly. Belle of the ball at the commissary, this one. Unfortunately she is regularly in my lap when this kicking and squealing happens and I have a frightening assortment of bruises on my legs. 

She has powerful legs. Some would call them thunder thighs. 

She spends way too much time in my her favorite baby toy, the walker. 

But I was given the OK by her physical therapist, sooooo it's fine, right? 

Let's just dive right in with the baby stuff and I PROMISE you, the various life updates will just flow right out of my fingers. 

6 Month Well-Baby Stats:
  • 18 lbs., 11 oz. (93rd percentile)
  • 67.9cm long (84th percentile)
  • 42.6cm of lopsided dome (56th percentile)

Breastfeeding is going well. Since my last update, I've battled a couple supply dips here and there, but nothing constant nursing couldn't fix. On the form at the doctor today, I wrote that she eats approximately every 2-4 hours for approximately 5-30 minutes each session. So that narrows it down for ya.

She's tried her first few solid foods just this past week. We started with throwing her some table food to keep her occupied in her high chair - sweet potato fries, mashed up peas, watermelon, and banana. Not sure anything actually made it into her belly. Yesterday I tried spoon feeding her a puree for the first time and it was an adorably epic fail. I forgot to try today, but this weekend we'll work on purees a little more to see if we can get her to figure out swallowing. 


Dude. My blogging hiatus has mostly to do with the lack of sleep that occurred from 3.5 months to 5.5 months. This was indeed a two-month long four month sleep regression. My girl was NOT interested in sleeping at night. Or during the day for that matter, but nights were hard. 

Also during this time I started going to the gym with the kids in the mornings, so any bit of afternoon nappage was used to shower and eat, so there was no time/interest in blogging. **Impromptu postpartum weight loss update** I started going to the gym back in March and ever since I've lost over 10 pounds and 5% body fat. I reached my pre-pregnancy weight May 3 at 4.5 months postpartum. (I only know this from my Fitbit app! I'm not THAT crazy proud of it. ) BUT, my clothes STILL weren't fitting - so now I'm working in a lot of strength training to get my core back. I am 3 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight, 20 pounds down from New Years, and my ab muscles are only just starting to come back together. But anyway - I LOVE being able to go to the gym and I will miss it deeply when we move. 

Back to the sleep stuff . . . Z turned the corner - FINALLY - a couple of weeks ago. Now she is typically waking only once between 6:30 and 6, but up for the day pretty early. The longer stretches are such a game changer for me though! I no longer DREAD the thought of going to bed. Moms you know what I'm talking about.


I've been lazy about cloth diapering, so it's been all disposables for a while now. We went on a trip to Chicago and it took me, oh, I dunno, about THREE weeks to get caught up with the laundry. And at that point she grew out of Size 3 diapers, but obviously I have about 100 left, so I need to use them up while they still kind of fit. 

She will go several days without pooping - a solid week recently - and then just unleash her fury all at once. I changed five poopy diapers of hers today and two of them were massive blowouts. 

When I last updated, Zelie was battling TERRIBLE skin issues and was doing PT for plagiocephaly/torticollis. About a month ago, we finally saw a pediatric dermatologist for her skin, and she was diagnosed with eczema, psoriasis, AND cradle cap. She also had staph colonization that exacerbates her eczema. So her treatment involves nightly bleach baths, Elidel, steroidal ointment (when necessary - haven't actually needed it!), and ketacanazole shampoo. 

It seems like a lot, and to be honest, going from weekly to nightly baths are kind of a pain in the butt, but her skin is utterly perfect now. 

Every night is a long process. Fill up the tub with water and 1/4 C bleach, throw in the kids to soak for 5-10 minutes. Then on top of that we must drain, rinse, and lather them all up. Rinse again. Then on top of that we have to apply Cetaphyl cream, any necessary ointments, and wrestle them both into jammies. I've done the whole rigamarole once by myself and needed a life vacation afterwards. Will and I have developed a good routine, but skip just a day and you see a big difference in their skin. 

She was also recently discharged from physical therapy! She has a little bit of weakness and tightness left on one side, but it's barely noticeable and not contributing to any delays so we high-tailed it out of there. Her head is still asymmetrical, and it probably always will be, but we are confident that it will (a) round out just a little more naturally and (b) she will inherit a full head of hair, such that it won't be noticeable to the naked eye. 

Fingers and toes crossed anyway.

She is sitting up on her own (way better than Will was at this point). 

She puts everything she can in her mouth, and will attempt to put your face skin right on in there. 

She is constantly planking, pushing up to all fours, and rocking back and forth. She scoots around a little bit backwards, too. It's only a matter of time before she takes off crawling. 

We have two weeks left in Illinois before the big move to California. We still don't have the packers/movers scheduled (thanks, TMO) and we still don't have a place to live on the other end. We've been stagnant at number 9 on the base housing wait list for a couple of months. We did try pursuing a rental in the nearest town 20+ miles away, but we were passed up for another renter even though the move-in date isn't until August. Homes get scooped up quiiiick near the base. It is PCS season, so we'll see what opens up in the area when we arrive. Until then we'll just be like Zelie - wanting to move, trying to move, but not really. 

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