Friday, March 29, 2013


I just wanted to say, for the record, how much I am enjoying this baby of mine these days.

Honestly, things got a little hairy when it got to month 6 back in January. It was the accumulation of too many factors and responsibilities all mushed into one giant snowball and stuffed in my face, making for rough days and an often overwhelmed version of myself.  It’s how I expected to feel much earlier during the very beginning stages of motherhood, but apparently most of that had stayed at bay until my parents were here a few months ago, allowing me some room and space to acknowledge that I was spent, and be okay with that.

 Maybe because I was prepared for the worst, but the first few months of the baby’s life was not the life turning upside down debacle that I had imagined (main ingredient: hindsight).   Yes, sometimes I felt like I was in a hamster wheel, and all that leaking in the beginning was NOT cool, but I never felt truly overwhelmed. Also, full disclosure, this can be largely attributed to the fact that she was a really good newborn - straightforward with not too much fuss. When I went back to work, I again, expected the worst, but it wasn’t that bad. I was extremely busy, especially in the mornings, but there I was doing it, not minding it all. I remember feeling extremely excited when I got off work and headed over to pick her up from daycare, and that feeling of her weight in my arms at the end of the day was my jet fuel.  But then, right about in the middle of January, it got really cold, my body started freaking out about nursing all of a sudden, Sloane started waking up in the middle of night, and the little sleep I was getting was not nearly enough. Suddenly, it felt like there was way too many chores to do around the house, I dreaded being at work, and it stopped making sense that I was dropping my baby off with someone else everyday.   Physical problems + lack of sleep + a million things to do = low quality Christine. It was an onslaught, and that’s when I remember feeling for the first time that I was really overwhelmed and that I needed a break. It was the first time since Sloane was born that I started fantasizing about having a day entirely to myself to do nothing, but midway through this fantasy, I would instantly feel guilty and homesick for my baby. Actually, I don’t think guilty is the right word.   I want to always be there for her, NOT because I think I should, but because I really do want to be the one that is there and does everything. Ken was great about helping, but it was based on me asking him to do things when I needed help, rather than dividing up responsibilities in a way that allowed him just as much initiative. It took a while, but this breaking point was when it got into my thick skull that I can’t possibly do everything, and there is no reason why I should. Taking a deep breath, realizing that I needed to give myself a break, dividing up responsibilities with Ken, and my recovering body, all helped me get some perspective and sanity.

This past week, I decided to give myself a real break and not cook any dinners during the weekday. I made a huge pot of beef vegetable soup on Sunday that lasted us a couple of days, we had leftovers another night, and ate out another. Having a break from the routine of starting dinner the minute I walked in the house, whilst trying to nurse Sloane and unwind from the day, was really good for me. I felt like I could just enjoy being with the baby a little more, and ENJOY I DID. She is SUCH a bundle of fun right now and I can’t get enough of her sweet face, noises, smiles, laughs and all her chub. Seriously, I can’t get enough.

So far, it seems like this motherhood thing constitutes peaks and valleys, being flexible, taking a chill pill, and a lot of hindsight. This is all part of the process, people, I'm learning.  I’m trying to be aware and prayerful during the exhausted times, and celebratory and joyful during the re-energized times. Life with a growing baby also means time whips by at a tremendous speed and I am making it a law of my heart to appreciate every single moment. Don’t get me wrong, I could really use more than the 5 hours of sleep I’ve been getting recently, but I’ve been hyper aware these days of how much I am being filled with love when I am with this baby and how I’m already a little sad knowing how fleeting this time (and all her chub!) is, and so I just wanted take a few moments to take a step back, a look back, a good look, to say, HEY I’M ENJOYING THIS SO MUCH RIGHT NOW AND I LOVE HER SO MUCH I COULD BURST.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Our good friends, the Hams, came into town to visit with their little one this past weekend, and it was one of those things where we were like, "I can't believe we have babies right now!" Time warp, that sort of thing. It was so nice to be able to spend some time out and about together, as well as to have some downtime at home crawling after these bugs.

Sloane has been trying to get her hands all up in Rusty's fur since the day she noticed he was around. Success.

And now, the Sloane and Jameson show:

Monday, March 25, 2013


In case you happen to be wandering 'round the internet, sniffing around for some signs of spring, I'm willing to share these tulips with you. I got these last Friday because: 1) it was spring, 2) it was the weekend, 3) they were on sale, and 4) sometimes it feels really good to buy yourself some flowers. Yes, it snowed today, but every time I glimpse these on the kitchen table, it makes me feel happy and buoyant. I'm forging ahead.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


You guys, it’s the first week of spring, and it’s snowing. This calls for staying indoors, creating a huge fluffy nest out of blankets to snuggle in, and drinking a hot mug of anything while day dreaming about pretty things. Never mind that I’m at work, crusty-eyed and nary a blanket in sight; here are some things to day dream about:

this makes me want to go do some push ups to get my arms ready for tank weather

i love this space from Covet Garden Magazine via wit & delight
it makes me miss our old warehouse apartment a little bit. also, i so appreciate that wall of bookshelves

beautiful bright prints on pillows and rugs from sofART via A Beautiful Mess
so many beautiful prints

wedges from h&m's online high-priced brand, & other stories


It was the first day of spring yesterday, and we were all so glad about that, but then it snowed this morning and it was confusing and yeah, I'll say it, disappointing.  With no particular agenda except to say in a coaxing kind of way, 'c'mon spring, you can do it', here are some stories about things that went down yesterday.

1. It was my friend Laura’s birthday, and I think it’s some sort of lovely kismet that her birthday lands on the first day of spring. Noteworthy. 

2. BB Creams are all the rage these days. I have tried a few different kinds and have had mediocre feelings them all, but I recently got a free sample of Tarte's BB cream, which I tried yesterday morning, and so far, I like this one better than the other ones. Velvety texture, good coverage, SPF. 

3. First day of spring warranted a first-day-of-spring walk, so I made one happen during my lunch break.  It was during this walk that I learned: 1) there is a Jimmy John's opening up in Shockoe Bottom, 2) Anthony Bourdain is coming to Richmond, and 3)  Sad Desk Salad is a book I might want to check out.

4. On this same walk,  a man approached me. I had to pull out one of my earbuds to hear him ask about nearby lunch recommendations. He was an older guy, salt and pepper hair, and good looking in a way that was not intimidating. I started listing some places and learned that he wanted someplace particular to Richmond.  I don't usually jump to erratic conclusions when having pleasant conversations with strangers, but maybe because I had been snapped out of a in-my-own-podcast-world zone and I am sleep deprived, my mind immediately jumped to a place that assumed he was going to either kidnap me (yes, in broad daylight), ask me to join him for lunch (and then ask me to marry him), or sell me something.   This made for an extremely confusing version of myself, where I was trying to be friendly and helpful but also distant and brief. It turned out he was an airplane pilot from Texas who wanted to get out of his hotel room and explore the city before his next flight, and if I was of sound mind I would have probably engaged more and asked him questions that would make both of us feel like it was sometimes nice to make conversations with strangers.   I was probably less than a medium amount of helpful, which makes me really hope he ran into someone else that didn’t’ have crazy hair and distracted brain.  

4. After work, I stopped by Plaza Art for some supplies. I always get butterflies-doing-a- dance-in-my-stomach excited whenever I walk into an art supply store. It’s an entire store shouting, ‘make something!'  I love this.

5. When we all got home, the family went on a walk around the block. It's a good day when you can get in not just one, but TWO walks. It's even better if one of those walks is with a tiny wolf, chubby baby, and a husband who remembers to bring the plastic bag to pick up the dog poop. i mean, wolf poop.


6. During this particular walk, Sloane sat in the stroller without the car seat, like a big baby. Egad, she is getting big. These are a couple of pictures before our walk. Please note: baby fists, baby brow. 

7. I ended the night by making some apple, bacon, and caramelized onion turnovers, which we had for breakfast the next morning along with beautiful and tasty quiche by Meghan. 

And that was my day. Spring, I did my best. The ball's in your court.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I came home a little discouraged today because Sloane went from drinking a whole lot of milk at daycare last week, to only drinking a measly 6 oz today. She also only got one hour  of a nap. It may not seem like a big deal, but Sloane has been waking up several times during the night this past week and I'm worried about things like teething and whether she is getting enough milk, so after several days of wonky sleep and a long day at work, I don't know, it was somehow especially disheartening.  Straw that broke the camel's back, that sort of a thing. Anyways, I felt like I was a little bit in slow motion and was making dinner in slow motion mode while Ken was feeding Sloane at the table, when I noticed that there was some interrogatory thing happening and listened in.  I just wanted to share here a little bit of what I overheard and saw while making dinner.  This is a story about what Sloane has to look forward to, but it's also a story about how my husband can make me laugh even when I feel like I couldn't possibly have the energy

The key thing to note here is that all of this is 1) one-sided, and 2) in the tone of good cop/bad cop:

As he feeds her a spoonful of pureed green beans,
So...tell me about what's going on at daycare these days, Sloane. What are the kids up to? Anyone smoking up?  Crack? Sneaking it in behind the teacher's back?

Sloane has been blowing raspberries like a boss, and today she was blowing them especially loud and wet right at the spoon, instead of opening her mouth.
Where'd you learn to do that? Did someone tell you to do that when you are eating? Was it Max? Not in this household young lady.
Sloane laughs delightedly.

Sloane stares intently at the bar cart.
Is that what they told you to do? Did you tell them about how you sit really close to all the alcohol? And they said that you should sneak them some? Is that it? Did Britney (one of the daycare workers) tell you to get her some?

Sloane watches Ken while he drinks a glass of ice tea.
That's right. My breastmilk is brown...and it's delicious. 


Monday, March 18, 2013


I don't know if it's because it's SUPPOSED TO BE WARM SPRING WEATHER NOW and it's not so my body wants to go back into hibernating mode and fatten up, or because my body is spending extra fuel to make milk for Sloane, or because it is so hard to find consistently awesome reasonably-priced fruit during these winter days - which is usually my jam....whatever it is, it seems like I am always ravenously hungry. And that hunger has been particularly keen on hearty greens and hearty breads. As I type, I am remembering the too many servings of collared greens I shoveled down at a friend's the other night, while currently craving a tall glass of kale and apple juice.

And breads. Specifically, the hearty, chewy kind. I've been making this super easy cheddar cheese bread whenever I get the chance.  I've all of a sudden been eyeballing my bread machine which has not been touched since we moved to the new house, and daydreaming about a dark chewy loaf that has nuts and raisins inside of it. The other day I polished off a bagel (a really soft, chewy, nine-grain bagel with honey almond cream cheese..mmm) in about a minute, felt sure that I must need another, and doubly resolved to try this bagel recipe at home, but maybe with some oats. And I'm all worked up and excited to try this high-protein roll recipe that my friend just posted. I'm already in love with the idea of a hearty bread that has protein and different kinds of seeds. Oh, the possibilities.

Friday, March 15, 2013


It’s true, a baby can have gotten into a rhythm of consistently sleeping beautifully through the night, and then one night, for no particularly reason that you can ascertain, baby wakes up several times with hoarse cries and won’t be satiated unless fed or held. Such was a night last night, which made for a groggy and harried morning, one which consisted of simultaneously applying concealer with my pinky finger, while feeding Sloane mashed bananas and mangoes, AND putting whatever pieces of breakfast I can manage into my own mouth, while scanning the room for that black cardigan and telling myself not to forget to bring the baby food for daycare.  Then Sloane poops a big one while delightedly watching me run around looking for the keys as I’m holding the keys in one hand, and even though there are 4 minutes left before I will officially be late, I run upstairs to change the diaper, and find to my amazement that I’m in the car, backing out of the garage 3 minutes later, making me feel like I will maybe be a human today, after all. We did it, I tell Sloane, and accelerate as I turn out into the main street, thinking about how I need to give Krystal the check for next week and talk to her about a possible diaper rash that she should look out for. 

Next thing I know! Blue sirens in my rearview mirror and I’m pulling over to the side of the road, and medium-sized story short, we find our protagonist in tears with a speeding ticket in hand. The cop didn’t see the baby in the back and got sympathetic once he realized I was holding it together by a thin thread that morning, but it was after he gave me the ticket, and at that point I felt with full force how tired I was. I can’t fully explain the need to sob, but there it was, and it was brief. Don’t worry, I pulled it together, because I’m a grownup! And also because I’m not quite at the stage in my relationship with my daycare provider where I show up with mascara running down my face. 

Things that helped: seeing Sloane light up when I came around to get her once we arrived at daycare, squeezing her tight as I walked up the stairs, kissing her bright-eyed, soft-cheeked face. Also, this song, reading this essay, drinking an extremely strong and loud cup of coffee, and having my husband say the equivalent of ‘there, there’ on the phone as I sniffled out my story right after said event.  Then later on that morning, my apples were stolen from the office refrigerator.

If you wanted to get to the thesis of the whole thing, it could potentially be summarized by this sentence:
A rough morning happens to a generally fortunate person.  

Let’s round out this post with a couple of photos of a baby and some more balloons, shall we? And make good use out of this weekend?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


My dear husband turned 30 today...30! I wanted him to feel loved and encouraged, especially in light of all the life we lived and experienced this past year. I asked friends and family to write down something they love about Ken and I attached these notes to 30 balloons. Let me tell you, it was not easy getting these balloons home, and yes two popped before ken got home, but when I saw his reaction to the balloons and all the notes, it was TOTALLY worth it.  I love him so.  Happy birthday love.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


photo from K.'s bros birthday weekend this past weekend

Stephen Thompson of NPR Music put together 'The Austin 100' playlist - 100 songs that he picked as highlights from the bands that are playing at SXSW this year, and you can download 71 of them HERE for a limited time. Check it out, there's some great ones in there. 

Friday, March 8, 2013


I surprised myself with how excited I got about the fact that one day, all of sudden, she started clapping. I’m realizing it really is all a matter of perspective – months go by where the baby is a tiny frail lump, waving her arms about, not realizing what they’re for, and then one day, she is taking her small hands and clapping them together, delighted by the sound it makes. It’s freakin’ amazing. That’s the thing about watching her grow before my very eyes, I get silly delighted by the smallest of things and at the same time get huge and philosophical and big-picture-minded by what it means to witness a baby grow into a person.

She also started army crawling, and I’m not kidding you, I got a little emotional. Up until last week, she had been getting increasingly mobile by expertly rolling around, turning herself in circles with her arms, rocking back and forth while in crawling position, and she also got pretty good at crawling backwards. But then this past week, she really wanted to get to a book, and I watched as she climbed the floor as if it were a wall, and got herself that book. It was all of 2 feet, but I don’t know, I was a little speechless. And then naturally, I screeched at ken to hurry up and come look.  It’s natural development, yes yes, but also, it feels like witnessing a miracle! 

She has always squawked like a baby dino (or dragon), from the very first couple of weeks,  but a few weeks ago, when k.’s grandma was here, my sis-in-law recorded Sloane reacting in squawk-speak to her great-grandma and from then on, she was ms. i-have-something-extremely-important-to-say. Is this an indicator of things to come? I wouldn’t be surprised. Ken is loud and passionate, I’m vocal and verbal, Ken used to be a stubborn child, I used to be a bossy child.  

She is still as easy going as ever, but she is developing more feelings, that’s what it seems like anyways; she is developing more opinions to communicate that yes, she needs to be picked up, that yes, she wants more milk, no, she can’t take one more bite, yes, she’s quite pleased, no, she doesn’t want you to wipe her nose, yes, that’s the funniest thing she’s ever heard, yes, keep dancing, yes, she’s happy to see you, and WHAT is the story with that fluffy creature that lives with us?

^Here is a video her being vocal, here and here (I'm not just trying to be annoying there in that second video, I'm joining in on her yells 'cause she seems to think us doing that with her is a way of communicating/chanting/singing?) ^

After the photo shoot, she was all, 'we done here mama? how do i get off this thing?'