2012 has been a great year. There were ups and downs, there always are, but I think the ups were far more frequent then the downs. I tried new things, met new people, and watched my girl grow. There were new babies, lost loved ones, and big birthdays. I can't wait to see what 2013 brings.  

Valerie on Connected Mom wrote a great post about choosing one word as your New Year's resolution. Unintentionally, that was what I did in 2012, and I think its what I'm going to do intentionally for 2013.

My word for 2012 was balance, and I think that's a good one for 2013 as well. I'm going to add another though: simplify. I think its easy to get caught up in wanting to do too much, buy too much, expect too much... so, I'm going to try to simplify.

Do you do resolutions? If so, what's yours? What would your one word be?  


a different way to look back

Every year I try to find a different way to look back on the year that has passed. I've looked back in facebook statuses and levels of sleep, in special people, in lists of events, even more epic lists (part 1 and part 2), and memes. This year I decided to look back in blog posts. So...

My Top 5 Most Read Posts of the Year:

Why I Walk Around Naked (with almost 900 views!)
As far as I'm concerned, these silly things are all playing a role in one of the most important things I get to teach my daughter... that God made her body beautiful, her soul radiant, and she should always be comfortable in both. This is not an easy lesson, and its not one that can be "taught" just once. Self image and self esteem is something we all struggle with at some point. For every day that I am comfortable with my body, there is a day that I struggle. But I've learned that even though my skin bothers me, and I don't love my thighs, my body is strong and I'm proud of what its done. 

becoming a mama - embracing my birth experience
It is absolutely amazing to me, what women's bodies are able to do. To grow and nourish a life... and then to deliver it into this world. As far as labors go, especially first ones, I really lucked out with a very quick and straight-forward one.

Parental Support for an AP Mama
In the two years since Gwen has been born, my level of respect for what my mom did has only grown. And it makes me feel even luckier when I get to see the two of them interact. My parenting choices aren't everyone's cup of tea, and some of them aren't the popular way of doing things. But I was lucky enough to have grown up with an amazing example of how breastfeeding, nature loving, gentle parenting can work. How many other people can say they have known they've wanted an unmedicated childbirth experience since the age of 7?

The Times Hubbub
Short version: Like the pictures, dislike the inflammatory title. Article okay.

Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting}
Now, however, that we are facing the impending holiday's without Willy's Christmas Eve craziness on the menu, well, I'm sad that tradition might be ending. These are memories that I want Gwen to have... warm houses full of talking, laughing, eating, loud craziness! When I think back on my own childhood, I have many wonderful specific memories: my dad reading to me while we waited at the bus stop, my mom and I baking cookies, swimming with my best friend, weeks spent at my grandparent's. But more then that, I have a wonderful plethora of general "feeling" memories, the ones that occur when multiple occasions mash together into one: Christmases full of excitement, warmth, laughter, and Family; my mom's love and acceptance; my dad's devotion.

(And a bonus, because it was next on the list and I really wanted to include it!)
Oddly Normal: A Big Breastfeeding Update 
Others might not understand it, but with all the times that I feel like yelling, "Stop! Slow down! Its all going too fast!" ... breastfeeding gives us our quiet moments together. Moments when we do both stop, slow down, and just enjoy being together in the moment. Gwen comforted, calmed by my closeness, and nourished. Me calmed by the rhythm of her breathing. Breastfeeding is something only I can give Gwen, and that only we share.

Also included in my most read posts were my two big giveaways: Greening my Clean with Ecover {review and giveaway}  and Celebrating 30! {giveaway worthy of a new decade} (and the reviews / intro post that went with); and a guest post An Unlikely Babywearer {guest post}.

As for my favorites, well Why I Walk Around Naked is definitely up there, but I think my most favorite post of 2012 is In The Darkness.
I'm so tired, but when I scoop her up from her crib, her weight is comforting. She's so small, my babe, but so big compared to what she was; head on my shoulder and feet hanging down past my thighs.
Its not one of my most read posts. Its not long or complicated. But its real, and reading it takes me back to those nights as if I am there again.

Thanks for reading along with my life. I appreciate every single click, every comment, and just knowing that you are out there. Thank you.


Full and Fun Holiday

I found myself up, long past anyone else on Saturday, but inspiration had hit, so I wrote and wrote and wrote. Pouring out my next post for connected mom... one of my longest, and I think one I'm most proud of. Even after I got into bed, I couldn't turn it off. Instead grabbing the pen and paper I keep on my bedside table to scribble out page after page of barely legible notes on another very big post I'm working on for a very big blog event on breastfeeding (February - March, on another blog... I'll link.). I dropped my pen sometime after midnight, 2+ hours past my normal bedtime. I guess when it hits, it hits, and you just have to go for it.

We had an amazingly full and fun holiday weekend. Occasionally frustrating, as I think Gwen was missing her friends (and her daycare routine) by the end of the 5 days, but overall, really wonderful. Watching her face on Christmas morning made every frustration disappear.

Some pictures:

One I forgot to share from the Holiday party last Monday.

Saturday we had lunch out, then headed to visit with one of Willy's "boys." Larry Joel has been coming to Christmas at Pappy's house for as long as Travis has been alive, so he's definitely feeling Willy's absence. We decided to pay him a visit. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication and when we got there on Saturday there was no one at the house. Oops! Gwen made the best of the waiting time though!

We called Sunday morning, and headed back there that afternoon with more success. 

On the ride home, Gwen decided sunglasses weren't enough...

Monday we watched some Christmas movies, had an early dinner (ham and mac & cheese, just like we would have had at Willy's), then headed over to a nearby park that puts up lots of lights. It had started snowing around dinner time, so our trip was unexpectedly Winter Wonderland-ish! 

(Not pictured, Daisy... who was trying to like the cameraman!)

When we got home we put out milk and cookies for Santa, and some carrots for the reindeer.

Then it was off to bed!
Well, off to bed for Gwen... Trav and I made room for Santa to arrive. 

Trav's project complete... a Learning Tower.

I finally got all of our cards hung... 

And Santa ate the cookies...  :-) 

Christmas morning we got our first present in the form of a 8 o'clock wake time! I'll take it!!
Then the fun really began: 

It was a really wonderful morning. She was so excited about all of it. Everything from Santa filling the stockings and eating the cookies, to the presents under the tree, to the cinnamon rolls we ate for breakfast and the fact that we were visiting Nonnie and Papa.

The fun continued at my parent's place. So much food, and Gwen's favorite gift of all... a gorgeous, vintage looking tricycle! She's a pro. Puts on her helmet and off she goes. We stayed through dinner, then got her all ready for bed before heading home. She talked our ears of very excitedly for about half the trip, then passed out completely. I was able to pull off another carseat to bed transfer, so I was a happy Mama.

Daisy got a beef bone she's very excited about, Trav got a mini-Kuerig and some new shoes, and I will be running out tomorrow to get my new iPhone 5! I also got a ton of books and a great new bag that Trav's Uncle made (he's very talented). Probably my favorite gift though... Trav had Gwen make me earrings! He had her decorate round paper tags (this kind), then attached them to earring hooks. I love them!

Today Trav and Gwen were back to work, but I took the day off. It is so wonderful to have an ultimate lazy day. I got up to help the two of them get ready and off, but then I jumped back in bed. A relaxing shower, a late brunch, and now I'm here. I will get some laundry and straightening done this afternoon, but otherwise I'm looking forward to a lot of quiet nothing!!

I hope that your holidays were just as Merry as ours!


From Our Home to Yours...

A Very Merry Christmas!!

Hope it is full of love, laughter, food, and family.

All our Love,
Meegs, Trav, Gwen, and Daisy


sick days and holidays

My 5 days of Christmas became 6, when I got the call yesterday afternoon that Gwen was coming home sick. So today it was me and the babe, hitting up the doctor... then when it turned out to be nothing, and she was feeling better (of course she was, she was at home), also running a few other errands. We were worried it was a UTI, turns out it was just some symptoms of her cold combined with a PH imbalance. Prescription: baking soda baths and lots of yogurt! I love when natural remedies are honestly the best ones for the job! I wish someone would prescribe me baths. And maybe massages...  ;-)

So we ended up stopping at the bank, picking up yogurt, ate some lunch, watched a Elmo Holiday DVD, took our prescription bath, returned some books to the library and picked out new ones, made popsicles, watched the youtube vid of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Going to Take it" (a new favorite of Gwen's!), and made a good dinner. Oh, and we stopped by the pet store because I thought Gwen would enjoy seeing the animals, which she definitely did, but Daisy won out because she ended up with a new puppy bed too. Gwen was down by 7, and I'm hoping that she sleeps a lot better tonight then she did last night.  ::knocks on wood::  It was a full day, so I'll probably be in bed early too!

Speaking of popsicles, Trav got a set a while ago, and while this is the first time she helped me make them... she really loves the homemade ones. I do too, since I make them with only plain greek yogurt, frozen fruit (mangos, strawberries, and raspberries this time), honey, and water. Throw the first two in the magic bullet, add a bit of honey to taste, and some water to thin it out enough to be pourable. So tasty and you can actually feel good about your kid eating them! A serving of fruit, and protein too.

Other random notes. We've been selling some of Trav's old games on Ebay lately. The kid is a bit of a hoarder, but after not playing them for a few years and our basement reaching the point of overflowing, he realized it was time to let go. So he's been sorting through old games and game systems, testing them all and making sure they are in tip-top shape, then selling them off to the highest bidder. Its nice to get a few bucks back, and reclaim a little space! Between that and giving all of Gwen's old clothes to some friends who just had babies, we're starting to be able to see floor in the basement again. Next: a huge box of Gwen's old, but still in great shape, toys. I'm hoping to donate them.

Anyway, I'm going to enjoy my super long holiday weekend, and take a few days with family. I hope you enjoy your holidays, and I'll see you next week!


CM: i want her to say...

My most recent piece from Connected Mom. I hope you enjoy.


Everyone has to parent the way that rings true for them. The way that tells their Mama heart that they are doing what is best for their baby. I'm an AP mama for that very reason. Gwen thrives in that hands on, child-focused style; and it emphasizes the things that I love about her and for her (independence, respect vs. obedience).

When Gwen grows up, I want her to say

 ... that she always had a voice and that voice always meant something.
 ... that her Daddy and I were there whenever she needed an ear, and that she felt comfortable telling us what was on her mind and in her heart.
 ... that expectations were straight forward and obtainable.
 ... that if the answer was No, she always knew why.
 ... that she didn't get everything she wanted, but that she had everything she needed, plus some.
 ... that compassion and a consciousness of others and our surroundings were important from an early age.
 ... that she was appreciated and valued.
 ... that there was never a doubt in her heart that her mama loved her and was there for her. Period.


froggy days...

Froggy days lately... or, at least, that's what Gwen likes to call them. But this morning, the sun poked through the fog, as it always does eventually. I think the events of Friday hit way too close to home for so many people. That could be my kid! And its hard to shake that. I'm still getting choked up randomly, but there is so much happiness in life.

Saturday we headed up to my parents, who watched Gwen for us so we could go out to see The Hobbit.

Picture from HERE

Gorgeous and well done! You fall in love with new characters, and with old characters all over again. I love any opportunity to delve into Tolkien's amazing world.

Picture from HERE.
(Wasn't happy to hear about the animal rights issues, but I had already bought our tickets.)

Sunday we headed to Ro and Pat's to exchange Christmas presents and hang out together. The girls played, we all ate good food, and Ro and I baked some coconut thumbprint cookies (holy amazing). Another great day.

Even my Monday was good. We had our work Holiday Party, and this year Trav and Gwen actually came in to eat with us! Tally, Sam, and the baby came to visit too. It was fun watching Gwen warm up to everyone. At then end she ran around with my camera, "cheesing" us all.

My photographer in training!

We walked through Rittenhouse Square before heading to the train, then took it super easy and ordered Chinese food for dinner.

Tonight... yoga, to make up for that Chinese food!  ;-)

And tomorrow, a bright new day.


hard to find words

I'm still having trouble finding words to share today. So I'm giving myself a reprieve. Tomorrow I will tell you about my weekend, which was lovely. But today I will just share the words of others who put onto "page" what I couldn't find the words for:

Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?
Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries [...] American schoolchildren are protected by building codes that govern stairways and windows. School buses must meet safety standards, and the bus drivers have to pass tests. Cafeteria food is regulated for safety. The only things we seem lax about are the things most likely to kill.

God Can't Be Kept Out
Or, most recently, you might have heard the rumor from Mike Hucakbee or a friend on Facebook, saying that God abandoned the children at Sandy Hook because, though children have every right to pray in public schools, those schools cannot sponsor prayer events out of deference to religious freedom. When asked where God was on that awful Friday morning, these Christians have said that God did not show up at Sandy Hook because “God is not allowed in public schools,” because “ we have systematically removed God” from that place.

Brothers and sisters, let’s call this one for what it is: bullshit.

God can be wherever God wants to be.
God needs no formal invitation.
We couldn’t “systematically remove” God if we tried.

If the incarnation teaches us anything, it’s that God can be found everywhere: in a cattle trough, on a throne, among the poor, with the sick, on a donkey, in a fishing boat, with the junkie, with the prostitute, with the hypocrite, with the forgotten, in places of power, in places of oppression, in poverty, in wealth, where God’s name is known, where it is unknown, with our friends, with our enemies, in our convictions, in our doubts, in life, in death, at the table, on the cross, and in every kindergarten classroom from Sandy Hook to Shanghai. God cannot be kept out. 

Thinking the Unthinkable
[There has been some question about the authenticity of this blog and blogger, but regardless, its an important article... one that addresses that while gun control regulations need to be undated, we also need to have a very frank and open discussion of mental health issues in this country. And even if this woman and her Michael aren't real, there are thousands who are real. I know an amazing mom with her own Michael. This needs to be a discussion.]
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

[...] We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael.

[...] At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off. 

Mayim Bialik on Sandy Hook, Faith & God

The details of the unfolding of Sandy Hook have mesmerized me.  [...]the senselessness of this shooting and its victims coupled with the stories coming out of brave teachers hiding children in barricaded classrooms and telling them they are loved so that God forbid if they were killed they would die feeling loved… it’s overwhelmingly furiously tragic.

What I have heard since Friday is a lot of “Why?” and also, its persistent cousin, “Where was God?”

[...] God has a path for all of us, and the path includes free will, and it includes evil, and it includes mental illness, and it includes all of us living on this crazy planet trying to survive and thrive and procreate and make something beautiful from the human condition which is, frankly, very complicated.

[...] The most famous answer to “Where was God?” was given in one of the quintessential books about the Holocaust, Night by Elie Wiesel.

In one of the scenes of the book (which is not autobiography, but is fictionalized memoir), a young angel-faced Jewish boy is hung on the gallows in the center of a concentration camp for the crime of simply being Jewish. Where was God? Wiesel states that God was hanging on the gallows.

[...] God is with us through every tragedy. God hurts when we hurt. God may not have eyes to weep, but God did not create us to kill and maim and gun down. God is here and there and everywhere. Always was, always is, and always will be. Period. God does not get to step in and save who we want saved, even if it’s small children in Sandy Hook who I wish could have been saved. We can’t understand God. That’s why God is God and we are not.

Love to all of you. 


no words

I have no words today, only love pouring from my heavy heart.

Hug your babies close tonight.


my girl

A few times now Gwen and I talked about how some kids parents work very hard, but can't afford to get them toys like she has. We talked about buying something special to give to one of those kids, and sorting through her toys to give some of the stuff she doesn't play with anymore to kids who don't have many toys. She agreed, then made a suggestion of her own. So last night we found all the binkies she doesn't need anymore and put them in a gift bag "for the babies to have." I love this girl so much. She is truly such a gift.


Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting}

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I've had a draft sitting in my posts list here for a while. It simply stated: 
Inter-generational living... old fashioned idea for a modern generation.
Aka. We were almost living with Willy.

For those regular readers, you may remember my frustratingly vague posts back at the beginning of October (you can check them out here). Well, I guess the above explains what that was all about. For those coming in for the Carnival and wondering what this has to do with Childhood Memories, well I hope you'll bear with me, because I promise it all ties together!

Back even before September, when Willy had a possible stroke and ended up in the hospital, there had been talk of the fact that he probably shouldn't be living alone for much longer. His memory was getting sketchier and he really shouldn't have been driving. The possible stroke obviously forced the matter. Willy was in the hospital, then the rehabilitation center for a few weeks, then jetted off to AZ to stay with Trav's mom for a prearranged visit. It worked out that it meant not having to make a decision right that second about the house and where Willy would live. Long story, short, there was talk about whether it would work for Travis, Gwen, and I to move over there. There were definite pluses and definitely negatives to both moving or not. As of now though, Willy is still in AZ, and will be until at least the spring (and the arrival of warmer weather in PA). In the time that has passed, and with the reports coming in from Trav's mom, its definitely better that he is there. But emotions are still mixed.

Christmas is in two weeks. In our time together, Trav and I have worked out a good system for the holidays. Christmas Eve was always spent at Willy's, Christmas Day we open presents at our house, then we head up to my parent's place. A good mix of his extended family, my extended family, and our own little family. When we were considering the idea of living with Willy, Christmas Eve brought about multiple emotions for me. See, every year Willy would have a Christmas Eve get together at his house. Besides Trav, Gwen, and I, this would include his daughter (Trav's aunt and the only sibling who lives locally), her 2 daughters (Trav's cousins), their spouses, and their 6 kids. Its a lot of fun, but it can be a little overwhelming! We are talking 8 - 9 adults, 5 adult/almost adult kids, and 2 toddlers! Frankly, the thought of living in the house and having all those people descend on it made me feel a little panicky! No escaping to our own house when we'd had enough.

Now, however, that we are facing the impending holiday's without Willy's Christmas Eve craziness on the menu, well, I'm sad that tradition might be ending. These are memories that I want Gwen to have... warm houses full of talking, laughing, eating, loud craziness! When I think back on my own childhood, I have many wonderful specific memories: my dad reading to me while we waited at the bus stop, my mom and I baking cookies, swimming with my best friend, weeks spent at my grandparent's. But more then that, I have a wonderful plethora of general "feeling" memories, the ones that occur when multiple occasions mash together into one: Christmases full of excitement, warmth, laughter, and Family; my mom's love and acceptance; my dad's devotion.

Digital photography and phones with cameras and video help to ensure that Gwen will remember the singular things. A trip to a museum or a zoo, travel to a new city, camping, a specific party. But I'm also hoping to solidify those generalized memories. Of course, you can't decide how someone else remembers things, but I'm sad that Pappy's parties will no longer be contributing.

For now, we'll work to create our own Christmas Eve memories, and work to get Pappy on Skye more often. 

Help a girl out... what do you do on Christmas Eve?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon December 11 with all the carnival links.)
  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here's To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter's childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow...
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn't able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter's experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna's carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother's sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it's so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child's Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family's loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories - Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family's tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.


A relaxing, home-based (present wrapping, errand running, movie watching, and Quaker church going) weekend was just what the doctor ordered... but doesn't leave a lot to report. Probably a good thing as my head is pounding at the moment, and I think I need to take a break from looking at the computer. A water main broke on the street outside my building over the weekend, and the heinously loud drone of the machinery they are using to fix it is make my head ache, and the pressure behind my eyes build.

Back tomorrow.


CM: one and done

Below is my most recent Connected Mom post. I've written on this topic before, but it was on my mind after my recent newborn snuggles. So here's my updated take on the matter.


My husband and I are young. I'm 30 and he's 32. So I say the following with the caveat that there is plenty of time should we change our minds. But I don't think we will.

See, before having kids I was always so sure that two would be our perfect number. Now, now I think that what we have shouldn't be messed with. I can't even fathom adding another person into the mix.

Before Gwen, there was such intense longing for a baby. Now, I feel no need for a second child, no desire to upset our balance, no longing to go through the baby stages again. I feel content with Gwen, complete as our unit.

Sure, in the back of my mind there is a little voice that whispers of the relationship I have with my brother, Ethan, and our amazing bond. A little part of me feels badly "denying" Gwen that relationship. I wonder if I'm forcing her to miss out on a great relationship and a ton of memories? Denying her future kids the pleasure of Aunts and Uncles? Making things harder for her when Trav and I get old and she has to deal with us on her own?

But who is to say that a sibling would be any of those things to her?

If we did have another, I'm positive the love would be there. I'm sure that I would take my first glances at the little one that had grown in my womb and feel nothing but amazement. I would wonder how we ever considered not doing it.

But would we be able to do less of certain things? Less of the traveling we want to do with Gwen? Less one-on-one? And its silly, but I worry what if I don't love the second one as much? Or worse, what if I love it more?

From an AP standpoint, would I be able to parent the way I wanted with a very attached little girl, and a newborn in need of much attention? Would I get touched out that much sooner? Would have have the "gas" to get me through 3 more years of breastfeeding if that's what the babe decided? I would have patience enough for Gwen and a second, when sometimes I feel I don't have enough patience for just my almost 3 year old? Would I be able to find and keep a balance in my life, between being the hands on Mama I love being while still being a wife and sometimes just Meegs? Something I'm really just getting a handle on now?

Recently, I visited with a friend and her newborn baby boy. I adore babies, I really do, and I loved every second of holding and snuggling with the grumpy little old man. But it really hit me at that moment, as much as I loved holding and snuggling this baby... I am happy not to do it again. I don't want sleepless nights and crying that I'm not sure how to fix. I don't want the helplessness. I don't.

We remind ourselves that decisions at this point don't have to be infinitely binding. That my brother and I are close as can be at 7 years apart. But at this point we've given away all the baby clothes. We've started giving away all the gear. And eventually, "not deciding" will be a decision.

How many kids do you have? If you have one, will you have more? Why or why not? If you have more then one, how did you know having number two (etc) was what was right for you? 


christmas this and a bris that...

I meant to write this Monday... but I had a busy morning, then a killer headache by afternoon. It lasted me through the evening, put me to bed early, and woke me to take Tylenol at 2 in the morning. Thankfully by wake up call on Tuesday (which came a little later then normal, as Gwen slept in - Hallelujah!), I was feeling better again. But then I had already wanted to participate in Just Write, so I put it off again. But now I can catch up, and tell you about our weekend.

Though I missed all my normal weekend events (monthly Ridley Creek clean up, and the Quaker meeting), this was a very full, fulfilling weekend.

Saturday Ro hosted a cookie exchange. I made Chocolate - Peppermint Marshmallow Sandwiches. Recipe:

They are yummy. I ended up with lots of yummy cookies, and had a great time seeing some ladies I haven't seen in a while. 

Sunday was baby Edden's Bris. I'd never been to one, and it was neat to attend. The circumcision itself is difficult... anything that makes a brand new baby cry is hard to hear, and I couldn't look at poor Tally's face. However, the rest of the ceremony was beautiful, and it was a treat to be there to help welcome him to this life and his faith.

Mama and baby are doing well, and it is wonderful to see Tally as a Mother. It is a role that fits her well.

We spent the rest of Sunday setting up our tree and putting out the Christmas decorations. This is the first year that Gwen is really getting Christmas, and her excitement is a lot of fun. I'm enjoying weaving the whole thing together for her, explaining that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus's birthday, and telling her about St. Nicolas who gave presents to the orphans to celebrate, and who we now call Santa Claus, who gives presents to all the children. We already have plans to sort through her toys and find things she doesn't play with anymore to donate to kids who don't have toys. She really is such a great kid.

Monday... well, Monday started off rather poorly. Henry, my hermit crab, died during the night. It sounds silly to be sad about it, he was only a hermit crab after all, not cuddly or particularly involved in our daily lives. Plus, as far as hermit crabs go, he was old! But, I am sad. I'd had Henry for 8.5 years! I'm not looking forward to when Gwen comes in looking for him, and I have to explain that he's gone.  :-( 

Now its Wednesday and I'm working from home today this week. Off to get some work done before I hang Christmas lights at lunch, and head to yoga after work.


mini-frustrations {just write}

If I had a little computer in bed with me at night, when I'm trying to fall asleep, or in the shower with me in the morning, when I'm trying to wake up, then this place would be full of thoughtful, well put together posts. Instead, I write them beautifully in my head, only to have them fall apart by morning, or by the time I get to work and the morning slows down enough for me to write. Try as I might, those sentences become scattered words, and I can't seem to stitch them back together in the same way. Its frustrating.

Also frustrating. "Friends" who fall in and out of your life like the tide, and only appear when they NEED. I'm happy to give to my friends, and I'm not the best communicator in the entire world, but if you only come to me when you are asking me for something... well. I had one of those "friends" approach me recently, then when they got the information they wanted, thought not the answer they hoped for, suddenly the plans we were discussing became less "definitely, can't wait," and more "we'll see." Its expected, I shouldn't be disappointed, but I am.

Linking up with Just Write.


Homosexuality and the Bible

Randomly, wanted to share a great documentary a friend introduced me to... its all about homosexuality and the Bible and I found it fascinating. From now on, if anyone quotes Leviticus at me, I'm just going to send them a link to this!


christmas prep

I keep coming here, opening the new post box, then x-ing out. Work is just busy enough to make the days pass by nicely, and I'm just feeling distracted from writing otherwise.

So what have I been doing? Well, writing out my list of people that I'm buying Christmas gifts for (less then a month! wowza!)... then happily crossing out all of them except for 3. It feels good to have started early, and bought as I found things, so now I'm basically done. What I still need to figure out is a few stocking stuffers for Trav, and something nice, but not too expensive for Gwen's 4 main teachers. Thoughts?

I also want to leave something little for the mailman and the garbage men. Do you leave anything for them? If so, what/how much? They are all great guys that we've had lots of interactions with, so I want to do something small for them.

Maybe I'll bake them cookies, but boy... I realized this week, while I whipped up the cookies for Ro's cookie exchange this weekend, that I am really NOT a fan of all the work that goes into making cookies. I'm sure I'll end up doing it anyway, with Gwen some weekend, and I don't mind the measuring and mixing, but I really dislike the dishing out of dough and watching the clock forever in 15 minute intervals part. Maybe she and I can do something no bake, like cowgirl cookies... or something easier, in bar form. Please remind me next year though, when making 4 dozen cookies on a weekday night before a cookie exchange, its probably best not to try a new recipe you've never made before! C'est la vie.

Hopefully Trav can take advantage of Gwen and I being out this Saturday, to start breaking out the Christmas decorations. Sunday we have the bris, but we can probably finish that afternoon. Christmas cards (if I can remember to bring our addresses to work to make labels for) should be going out next week. Love all of this holiday fun!

What have you done to get ready for the holidays? Decorations up? Shopping started?


thankful post Thanksgiving

The past 4 days have flown by.
Thanksgiving was full and busy, lots of cooking, my family visiting, lovely and fun. I brined the turkey for the first time and it was delish. I also used the carcase to made turkey broth for the first time too, ending up with 2 quarts (one I sent home with my mom), a pint, and a big pot full of amazing smelling and tasting broth.

I froze the quart and pint, but used the big pot full to make some amazingly yummy turkey noodle soup. Breast meat, carrots, corn, celery, noodles; sage, bay leaves, rosemary, salt, pepper, and parsley. Season, taste, season, taste. A great use of some leftovers if I do say so myself.

Friday and Saturday were deliciously lazy. We relaxed at home, only venturing out to hit up the grocery store.

Sunday turned into my busiest day of all. Quaker meeting in the morning, home to lunch my girl, then I had made plans to go the the movie's with Ro (if you're wondering, I think the last Twilight is the best of them all... ha!). After that it was straight off to NJ to visit with my Tally-le, who's son had arrived on Saturday!

Edden is the cutest little grumpy old man, and I relished every second I got to snuggle him!

Mama and baby are doing great, and boy is it wonderful to see them together. New life, now that is something to be thankful for!!

Next weekend I'll attend my first bris! I can't wait to see both Edden and Tally-le again!

It was hard getting up this morning. Mondays after the holidays are always the hardest, and in a lovely twist, after 4 great nights of sleep, last night I couldn't fall asleep for the life of me, only to have Gwen wake at 3 a.m.! She put herself back to sleep, but not before I rolled myself out of bed and stumbled my way down the hall to her door.

C'est la vie. At least the day is almost done!


Giving Thanks

Once again this November, I decided to count down to Thanksgiving, with a daily post expressing something I am thankful for. I wanted to share them all with you know, and would love to hear what you are thankful for this year too!

Nov. 1: Today I am thankful for the access to maternal care the I have in this country, and that there are organizations like Every Mother Counts working to get such access to all women.

Nov. 2: Today I'm grateful for my job. I might not always love what I do, but at least I get to do it with amazing people, and I have amazing job security that gives me piece of mind. I am blessed.

Nov. 3: Today I'm grateful for Mother Nature. Beautiful sky, crisp air, lovely colorful leaves. Soul food.

Nov. 4: Today I am thankful for awesome friends. Heading over to Ro & Pat's.

Nov. 5: Today I'm thankful for sleepy morning snuggles, and toddler giggles. They really make Monday mornings more lovely.

Nov. 6: Today I'm thankful to be blessed with a right that many around the world still have to fight and die for. While you all know where I stand, I hope you all go out and exercise this precious right today. Heading out to vote!

Nov. 7: Today I'm thankful for four states that voted for marriage equality, for four more years, and for the hope I have in what all that can mean. I'm hopeful that the next four years can be spent working together to make this country the best it can be.

Nov. 8: Today I'm thankful for orange juice, vitamin c, cough meds, and sweet friends who offer me tea and chicken soup... all the things I need to hopefully, finally kick this cold.

Nov. 9: Just watched a blurb about all the amazing heroism by police and firefighters the night of Sandy. Moved me to tears. Today I am thankful for those amazing men and women who put their lives on the line for the rest of us. Not one night, but every night. They are brave and selfless, and I am so grateful.

Nov. 10: Today I'm thankful for fun football days with my family.

Nov. 11: Today I'm thankful for the men and women who have chosen to serve to protect all of our freedoms. Their sacrifices are not forgotten, or taken for granted. I am grateful everyday for them.

 Nov. 12: Today I am thankful for all the times that Trav takes over parenting duties so that I can feed the other parts of my life. Yoga, Ridley Park Clean-Up, and Sunday when I checked out the local Friend's Meetinghouse (Quaker church). He's happy to take over so I can fill my physical, mental, and spiritual cup back up. I'm so so thankful for that.

 Nov. 13: Today I'm thankful for all of it. For this crazy, overwhelming, sometimes frustrating, non-stop, full of love, blessed, oh-so-full life. Its not perfect, but its mine.

 Nov. 14: Today I'm grateful for amazing coworkers; both the ones I work with daily, and the ones I work with for once a year events. I work with smart, funny, sweet, competent people. That is a blessing for sure!

 Nov. 15: Today I'm thankful for Travis. Gwen is lucky to have such an involved, hands on, playful Daddy. I'm lucky to have such an involved, funny, loving husband. He is a wonderful partner, and I'm thankful for him today and everyday.

 Nov. 16: Today I'm thankful for sleepy mornings! I love when I get to have slow, lazy starts to the day!

 Nov. 17: Today I'm thankful for my awesome alma mater. 4 amazing years, and so many awesome memories since. Go Lehigh!! Kick Lafayette's butt!! (Weird to be missing Lehigh/Laf this year, for the first time!)

 Nov. 18: Today I'm thankful for my sweet, precocious, funny, ridiculous, crazy baby girl. She's amazing and lovely, and I am grateful everyday that she is mine. Today she amazed me by sitting quietly for 10 minutes at the Quaker meeting (before the kids headed out to play) which was about 10 minutes more then I thought possible!

 Nov. 19: Despite the fact that she drooled all over my pants leg this morning (apparently my breakfast smelled really good!), today I am thankful for Daisy the wonder pup. She's loyal, loving, and pretty damn good. Not to mention, a damn gorgeous dog. Our family wouldn't be the same without her.

 Nov. 20: It's so easy to get caught up in the materialism of this world, always wanting the biggest, best, newest. Today I am so thankful to be able to afford the "little" things that aren't so little: a roof over our heads, good food on our table, warm clothes, heat and water and electric, and the luxury of being able to buy my daughter fun things to play with. There are so many in this country, this world, who work so hard, but still can't afford those things. I know how blessed I am.

 Nov. 21: Today I'm thankful for all those other random wonderful things in life: music, books, movies; pasta, cheese, sushi, angel food cake; family dance parties, hugs and Eskimo kisses, days off of work to spend with my family; healthy, happiness, love, life, prosperity.

 Nov. 22: Today I'm thankful for this time of year which reminds me how very much I have to be thankful for. Looking forward to a beautiful day with my family, and wishing the best to you and yours. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!!

Photo Credit


wordless wednesday {classmates and friends}

Gwen's classmates... her friends. So sweet.
(Blurred faces for privacy... but left her and Dominic.)


holiday prep and surprise spanish

Pretty relaxing weekend here, and productive as we got a ton of cleaning and straightening done. Good thing since we are hosting Thanksgiving this year and now I won't be embarrassed when my parents and brother show up on Thursday.

That was mostly all we did on Saturday. We skipped Lehigh vs. Lafayette this year for the first time in ages, though we watched it on TV. We love Lehigh and love getting back, but since we most head up during the day and a lot of alumni come back to drink at night, we end up not seeing a lot of people we know. Its worse for away games, which this was. Maybe next year. At least, in happy news, we won.  :-)

Sunday was a little more active, though still in a low-key way. I brought Gwen to the Quaker meeting with me. It went surprisingly well. About 10 - 15 minutes into the service the children's teacher takes the kids next door into the school, where they can color, play, and listen to stories. She sat amazingly still and quiet for those 10 minutes... quieter then I knew she could be while awake! Ha! I had a book for her to look at, and I think next time I might bring a pad for her to draw on, but she spent much of the time just sitting quietly with me. I went with her next door, and will next time to if she needs me, but by the end she was warming up nicely. I'll leave it up to her whether she comes with me or not, but for the first time, it went so well.

After the service was done, we took advantage of the school's playground to burn off some energy.

After lunch back at home, we enjoyed some puzzles, books, more cleaning, more straightening, and a walk around the block.

Two things Gwen surprised me with this week... Sunday morning we were both still waking up, so I put on "Super Why?" to watch with Gwen. Its not a bad show, helping with reading, math, and its cute. At one point they asked what a letter was, and Gwen shouted out the answer! I didn't realize she was identifying letters without context. I was so impressed! Trav wasn't as impressed, he's seen her do it before.

The next thing did impress Trav though. It must be something they're working on in school, but I never heard anything about it, and she just broke it out with no provocation while playing on Saturday. I asked her to repeat it for the camera, and we made a little video which we plan to send to Trav's uncle's husband... Gwen's Tio.

Every day my little girl is less little!

Now we're on to our quick week, then the first of my favorite holidays! Yippee!


33 months

Dear Gwenivere,
I don't know why or how this turned into such a big couple of months for you, but I feel like you really turned the corner from a 2 year old to an almost 3 year old. Everything is bigger now... you, your actions, your attitude!

Sometimes you have days when you are such a big kid. You'll sleep until a great time, wake up smiling, eat well, think about questions we ask you and answer thoughtfully, say no thank you and yes please, etc. You had a day like that recently where for dinner you sat there and chomped on ribs, eating the meat right off the bone. I looked at you and though, "My God... I birthed a real human." I mean one that's going to turn into an adult some day. An adult that eats ribs like a pro.

Other days, you still need a little more help to get through. You come a sleep for a bit in our bed in the morning, then need some extra snuggles while getting ready, and the day ends with an I'm too tire to cope meltdown. Normally over something like how many orange slices are in your bowl, or the color of your utensils. Those days are trying for all of us.

We're working on it though. Working on using words to describe our feelings instead of just yelling or whining. We're working on things like being more cooperative when getting ready for bed, so that we can do more fun things before bed. Its always going to be a work in progress, but we're doing it together.

These past few months you've spent a lot of time with your Daddy. Mama has had a number of nights I had to work late, so you guys had "slumber parties." Daddy reads you some books, then lets you fall asleep on the futon, or falls asleep with you on the futon, depending on how long of a day its been for him! We also had our first weekend apart. It was a great weekend for Mama, I needed the special time with my friends, but boy oh boy did I miss you! You are my girl, and it was hard to be away from you. You and Daddy did great though, and I think you guys have gotten a lot closer because of it.

Sometimes its hard for me to watch you grow so quickly. About a month ago, you came home from daycare and handed me your necklace. The one you've been wearing for 2 years, since you were 8 months old. You had asked them to take it off at daycare, you didn't feel like wearing it... and you haven't worn it since. Maybe you will wear it again, maybe not, but that felt like some kind of milestone for me.

We have a little routine we go through every other week or so, when I say to you what a big girl you are becoming, and you agree with me very excitedly... but then I ask you, "But you're still always going to be my baby, right?!" And you always agree with that just as enthusiastically.  ::phew::

I'll let you in on a little secret: No matter what your answer to that question, no matter what age you are when you read this, you really will always be my baby. 

Love you silly goosey,

Ps. At 33 months you are just over 23 lbs (at least on the home scale). You must be going through a growth spurt because you want to eat. all. the. time! Your favorite veggies are green beans and peas, favorite fruit is oranges, and you love chicken and "meat" (what you call steak). You are a dark meat girl like your Mama, so I can't wait to give you a drumstick on Thanksgiving! You still nurse most nights and a lot of mornings, but do fine if I'm not there to nurse you.

You love your blankie, and rotate through a few stuffed animals and baby dolls. You love the colors blue and purple, and also have an affinity for orange. You love football, but the marching band maybe a little bit more. You love watching Elmo in the morning, and your favorite books are Olivia and Drummer Hoff. If we say, "Is everybody ready?" you respond with, "Shake a Leg!"  Home, by Edward Sharpe and the Magnificent Zeros, is now "your song," and you ask for it all the time. You love music in general though and will randomly start singing a myriad of songs randomly throughout the day. Dominic is still your best buddy at school.

As of now, you've decided you want your birthday party to be construction themed because of your love of cranes and all construction vehicles, but diggers especially! We'll see what you think in another month or two!