can't wait to see what grows

I'm really enjoying the spring that is well and truly here. Even the rain today is welcome, since its watering my parched flowers (this April seems very short of our normal rain). I am extra happy it waited to come until today though, since this weekend was gorgeous and we got to spend so much time outside.

Friday night we went to Ro and Pat's place to play on their new swing set.
And I really... 


all of us!  ;-) 

It was a fun night.

Gwen preparing to "catch" Casey.
Saturday we headed up to my parent's house. I had a hair appointment, and Gwen was supposed to get her first cut, but she changed her mind when confronted with the prospect of getting into the chair. Oh well, we'll try again next time.

Afterwards we enjoyed the beautiful weather by running around out here.

My parents then watched Gwen while Trav, my brother and I went to see Evil Dead together. We're all a fan of the campy original, so we really wanted to see the new one. Definitely a way different feel, but a fun afternoon. We enjoyed a great dinner there before heading back home.

Sunday we got busy. Laundry, mowing the lawn, mulching, then heading out to pick up our plants. Now the garden is planted!

Peppers (3 kinds) for Trav.

Small leaf basil, sweet mint, chocolate mint, and summer squash for me.

We also picked up the seeds for the pumpkins we're going to plant, but they don't go in until the end of May. Fingers crossed they take!

After that we pulled out the grill, and some of these. 

Grilled pork chops, brussels sprouts, and potatoes; and a berry weiss on the side. Delish. A great end to a great weekend.

Today was busy, and consequently fast. Working from home tomorrow and looking forward to a slightly slower pace. For now, bed!


CM: Babywearing: a carrier comparison

My most recent post from Connected Mom. Questions are welcome, as are your own pros and cons!


MT wrap conversion
A friend of mine, pregnant with her third little one, recently asked for some recommendations for carriers. Since everyone has slightly different needs, I broke it down to some pros and cons vs. just giving a recommendation for one type of carrier. What the best one is for you can depend on a number of factors. I'm sure she won't mind that I share this here. 

I probably used my Mei Tai the most, and the longest. It is easy to use, can be used from newborn through toddler (with no additional inserts), and is quick. It might not be quite as supportive once they get bigger (depending on how big your toddlers are), but I still carry Gwen in one and find it comfortable (she's just under 30lbs at 3 years). I never owned my own soft structured carrier (Beco, Boba, Ergo) but they work similar to the 
Beco - right before doing
a 5.5 mile walk for MS
Mei Tai, only with buckles instead of ties. They are super padded and supportive, but I think the MT gives a little more freedom of how you want to carry (high back or low back, front, hip, tied tibetian or more like a back pack). You also typically need an infant insert (or a rolled up blanket or something) when they are smaller, so there is that additional item to futz with. I have to say, after borrowing a Beco from a friend to use for the MS Walk this past week, the added support is wonderful. I was able to carry Gwen for the full 5.5 miles with no problem. My one complaint, was that it was a little annoying getting Gwen up and down from the back carry for her potty breaks. If I could have taken the whole thing off, or had a chair or table to lean on, it probably would have been easier.

wrap - Ellevill Zara Deli LE
I used my wraps a lot when Gwen was smaller, since they are endlessly adaptable (my favorite carry was the double hammock), offer good support, and are pretty.  :-)  I can't say enough about the adaptability and support of wraps, but they do have a bigger learning curve, and take some time at first. Once you've practiced a while, it gets easy to pop them up, but at the beginning tying is slower. There are tons of videos online to show different carries, so if you are interested, check them out. One con, they are not as great as a MT or a sling for taking them in and out a lot (aka if you are planning to put them up and keep them up while you do some chores or take a walk, great... but it would have been a bit of a pain for me this past weekend to untie and retie Gwen each time she had to pee!).

I also have a ring sling. I didn't get it until Gwen was a toddler, but it can be used from newborn on. They are easy to use, easy for on/off/on/off situations, and can be gorgeous. They aren't quite as supportive as other carriers though and the weight isn't as equally distributed. You could probably carry your newborn for quite a while before you notice it, but would notice sooner with a toddler. They can still be quite comfortable though, and I like them for walks when I knew Gwen would want to be down a lot of the time, but what to get up to rest periodically. I can pop her in without even stopping. If you did get one, get a ring sling... not one of the bag slings, which make proper positioning hard and can be dangerous. Ring slings are fine and safe for newborns, as long as you are careful and get good positioning (resource here).

Stay away from "crotch dangler" carriers (ie. Bjorn, Snuggli and Infantino) as they are less comfortable for Mom and Baby (weigh is not distributed as easily), and are not ergonomically good for baby. More about that here.

So, I'm in the Use All The Carriers! camp, but I guess my favorites are wraps and the MT for different situations. If someone were only going to get one carrier, I'd probably recommend a MT, with a soft structured carrier being a close second. I hope this helped, and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Other Resources: 
Becoming Mama's has an amazing Guide to Babywearing


The Capital

I am not a DC girl, not to stay at any rate. But I do love visiting, and work has been providing ample opportunity for that this year. I was there today, but unlike normal, decided to take a later train home so I could meet some friends for dinner. There was just over an hour between the end of our event and when I was meeting them, which gave me time to wander a bit.

Our capital really is so beautiful. Especially this time of year, with the flowers blooming and the soft spring sun. I briefly stopped at the Capital Bldg and the Library of Congress (which might be the most beautiful building in DC!), but could only walk by the Supreme Court since they close early. The weather had warmed up after a chilly morning, and it was really pleasant out. I'll have to do this again, and check out more of our lovely Capital.


walking in the sun

Happy Earth Day!!

This weekend was spent outdoors in cool, but sunny weather. A great lead up to Earth Day! It was such a great weekend after a busy, trying week. We did lots of gardening on Saturday: weeding and mulching the front flower bed, and weeding and breaking up the soil in the back raised bed. We plan to plant our garden this coming weekend. We grilled dinner, and just enjoyed our relaxing day.

We also ran out to the store to pick up a package of "big girl underwear"! But more on that in another post. 

Sunday was the MS Walk. Definitely more work, but just as much fun. Gwen and I rocked out the full 5.5 miles, just like this:

I was super excited to hit my goal of $1,000 fundraising this year! I was lucky enough to win one of the team week competitions, and got to enjoy this sign along the route:

Gwen enjoyed the scenery, and the free food:

I enjoyed the knowledge that I am in much better shape this year then last year!

After we got home, Gwen finished her car nap, and I got showered, we all headed over to Pappy's, so Trav could do more cleaning and organizing. Gwen and I hit up the playground so she could swing, slide, and run to her heart's content.

I have to say, this weekend was fun anyway, but was really made it amazing was how great Gwen was. We had our moments... but she was just so happy, pleasant, and sweet. It really was fun to be with her, and I had more fun for having her there with me. I love being able to say that.

Busy, full, exciting week ahead... so posting may be sporadic, but I hope you are enjoying the spring that is finally upon us!


love in all the best places

Tuesday night a really great, rejuvenating yoga class ended very promptly, and there was no traffic to speak of on the way home. I made no stops, and because Trav had done bath night, he and Gwen were just preparing to head into her room when I arrived home. He looked tired, and I was happy to take over for him. Especially happy when Gwen ran over, threw her arms around me and gave me the biggest hug. Even happier still when she grabbed my face in her hands and looked me in the eye saying, "I'm HAPPY you're home Mama! I like you!"

Oh baby, I like you too.

Sometimes its like that girl knows just when I need more love then normal. I am very open about the hard parts of parenting a 3-year old, but I want to make sure to get these good parts down too. Because boy are they good.


our beautiful world

The events of yesterday were scary and saddening. But here is what I have to say today.

Evil's power lay in our actions and reactions to it. It desires to make us fear, to take away our faith, to turn us to its own ways, and to cut from us the sight of all that is good and beautiful in this world. But this is world is beautiful. Rise above evil, take away its power, focus on the amazing.

In the videos I saw yesterday of the explosions, I saw the fear and I saw the pain, but I also saw amazing police officers, firefighters, and even two military men push aside their own concerns, their own safety, and run to the aid of others. More would have certainly died if it weren't for their fast actions.

Instead of giving into the fear, instead of feeding energy to whatever evil brought the events of yesterday about, lets focus on them and on the injured and those who died. Remember the dead, comfort the injured, and praise the brave. Don't give evil the attention and notoriety it desires. The police and the legal system will take care of the guilty, lets put our energy into what is good.

Evil is a scream in the night. Good is the constant murmur heralding the coming day. It is stronger, it is continuous, it will always outlast.

As for me, my focus will remain on this beautiful dose of joy and innocence.

She reminds me of the good in this world and that it is worth striving for.

Images found by google image searching "our beautiful world".


tidbits and linky roundup


- We really enjoyed the weather this weekend. Gwen got to go to the park twice. With me on Saturday, while Trav was doing some work at Willy's; with Trav on Sunday while I was working an event. It was great!

- I don't love working on the weekend, but the event was a Champagne brunch, so yeah... could have been worse!!  ;-)

- We all headed to Ro and Pat's after I got back to hang out for a while, then eat dinner. Loved watching the girls run around the yard, and listen to them play in the playroom. They also got to help make and decorate mini cupcakes, which they thoroughly enjoyed: 

Gwen was out like a light when we got home, Trav and I weren't far behind! Gwen and I got to sleep in a little later this morning since I took a later train in.

- I just had the best bathing suit shopping experience ever. It was so easy and I found one I LOVE. All my other suits are old (I think the last one I bought was right after Gwen was born, and the rest are much older), and they are worn out. So, a nice, new one was in order. Kudos to Athleta!

- Uh, we're halfway through April... how the heck did that happen?!

Some link love:

- I often worry about what schools will be like by the time Gwen is a high schooler. I wonder if teachers will have any freedom to teach, and if she will have any freedom to think critically about what she is being taught and explore the things that interest her. I'm sure some of my teacher friends feel the same way. I couldn't not share this letter. Teacher speaks out against what the education system has become.

- The Big Squeeze: population density and what the world would look like if we all lived as close as Manhattanites.

- Do you know your true beauty? How do you see yourself compared to how others see you?

- November 22 can't come soon enough!

Happy Monday all.


tgif, in a really big way

Did I tell you I wasn't feeling well last week? Because I wasn't... tummy distress, nausea, and one crappy night of fever, achy, restlessness. Thankfully it only seemed to last two days, but then a cold snuck in when I was just starting to feel better. I'm getting better now, but the cold has moved on to Gwen, and man has that made sleep horrible the past two nights. Wednesday night she woke up hourly until 2:30, Trav's alarm went off at 5:30, and Gwen was up for the day at 6. Last night she woke enough times before 1am that I didn't sleep at all before then, not even 10 minutes here or there, and after that I passed out on the futon in her room for 40 minutes before stumbling to my own bed.

Work was extra busy this week too. A big mailing, a very important event this weekend, two events during the week, and a deadline to mail materials for another big event, plus all the other normal day-to-day stuff, we were all running around like crazy. This was good in that the days went fast and I didn't have time to feel too tired, but by this afternoon I felt like I was in a bit of a fog, and by the time Gwen was asking to get out of bed to use the potty for the 3rd time, well I was practically begging her to just go to sleep. To say that I'm glad its the weekend would be an understatement.

Tomorrow morning I plan to sleep in until tomorrow night, then sleep some more.
TGIF all.


CM: Unexpected Things about Parenthood

My most recent post from Connected Mom

I have a great group of Mama friends, whom I met online. We're friends in "real life" too now, but since we are spread far and wide, our interactions are still mostly online. One day, one of them, a freshly born Mama asked the rest of us a great revealing question. We all know there are plenty of things that aren't exactly like we expected, or that we imagined would be one way but are a bit different, but she wanted to know about the things we didn't expect at all. So here are my top 4 things I didn't expect about parenting:

1. How hard coparenting could be.
I love my husband, he's a good man, but parenting together is so so much harder then I thought it would be. Reassuringly, this was a common one amongst my Mama friends too. Parenthood, especially the first time around, can be such a pressure cooker of emotions and expectations. As much as you try to prepare, you can know what its really going to be like until you are in the thick of it. And when you have two distinct individuals, trying to work as one to raise a third distinct individual, well its just not always easy.

2. How insanely different it is when its your own baby. 
I'm 7 years older then my brother, have been around kids/babies my whole life, I've been babysitting since I was 12, taught vacation bible school to preschoolers for multiple summers, was a mother's helper to quadruplets all through college, and was not the first of my friends to give birth. I was also dying to be a Mom, feeling it through every fiber of my being. Yet, all that experience went out the window when Gwen was born. I had the knowledge, I had tools in my arsenal that others didn't, but it is just different when it is your own. Each baby is different anyway, but add into that the biological response your body has when responding to your own child, well I was just unprepared for it.

3. That we'd still be breastfeeding at 3 years old. 
and 4. That we'd bedshare (full-time for the "fourth trimester", then part-time for a long time). 
I knew I was going to be an AP Mama, its how I was raised, and its what I felt the most pull towards. However before Gwen was born I wasn't completely comfortable with the idea of bedsharing, and it was only when Gwen proved that she had other ideas that my husband and I decided to give it a go. And while I always knew I would breastfeed, I didn't realize how strongly I would feel about fighting past the mastitis, the clogged ducts, the supply dips to make it past a year... and how much Gwen would love it, to the point of deciding to keep pumping until 2 years, and wanting her to self-wean. I guess this boils down to the idea that before I was a Mama, I thought I would be the one with the answers; once Gwen arrived I realized that we would figure this out a lot easier if I let her be my guide on a lot of things.

What things did you not expect at all before you became a parent? 



feels like summer

I love getting the chance to watch Gwen with her friends interact. I get it some when we go to Ro and Pat's house, but often the girls run off to the playroom and we hang out and chat downstairs. Getting to watch her and Tommy run around after each other was fun.

(The crappy cell phone shots are mine, the camera shots are my Uncle's.)

They have such a gorgeous place on the water. We all had a great time just relaxing and hanging out.

Too bad we didn't have today's weather then! It almost feels like summer.

Just like everyone else in the entire world I'm so excited for the warm weather and all the beautiful colors it brings. There are buds on the trees, little purple flowers in my back yard, and my lilies are coming up in my front flower bed. I love it all.

I'm taking some steps in my personal life to make some growth as well. The positive food changes are great, the yoga is awesome, but there's a mental health side that needs to be addressed as well, so a therapist has been found. Trav and I are going to hit that up together to work on some better communication skills and just making sure we are both getting the mental attention we need.

Good things.


the view from here.

We spent the weekend at my Aunt and Uncle's in Maryland, enjoying some great company, and this view:

It makes the view from my desk chair a little harder to bear, but it was such a fun two days. I loved watching Gwen play with my cousin's son, so enjoyed the time and conversation with my Aunt and Uncle, and definitely enjoyed the relaxed pace of things by the water. More pictures when I have them, but for now, I'm wrapping up my day, then heading out to enjoy this beautiful weather.

Hope your weekend was the perfect amount of relaxing.


puppy snuggles

Laying on the office floor the other night while Gwen finished peeing. Daisy apparently wanted some love because she came over and flopped down right on my arm.

I'm not complaining, those were some good snuggles.


no sick days here

I didn't feel 100% yesterday, my stomach achy and nauseous. Thankfully I was working from home, so I could take it easy. I woke up last night for about an hour and a half, feeling feverish and achy all over and nauseous to boot. Gwen woke me up an hour after that and my fever must have broke because I was covered in sweat. I'm better this morning, but still not perfect, and obviously tired. Work is unreasonable busy with a few different big things going on. So no time and no energy here. Hopefully I'll be back with a real post soon.


weekend a go-go

Busy weekend that left me a bit exhausted, but it was so fun too.

Saturday we went to this:

With Ro, Pat, and the girls:

Gwen was a bit overwhelmed by the music and lights at first. And by the fact that the characters were a lot bigger then on TV! We had great seats too, right in the second row, so we were close. The characters would take turns coming off the stage to give high fives too.

After she got used to it though, she was a happy girl.

Happy, and mesmerized!

(Wands from Auntie Ro!)

We all enjoyed the show. The music was catchy, and it was just so fun hearing her sing along and clap her hands.

It was a gorgeous day anyway, so we rolled down the windows to catch a breeze on our ride back down.

We headed to Ro & Pat's place to hang out and eat dinner. It was the first time Trav got to see it. It was great having all the room for the girls to run around and play, while we hung out and talked. We got home late though, so we were all pretty ready for bed.

Sunday, Gwen thankfully slept in a bit... then headed downstairs to see that the Easter bunny had come.

She was very excited for her new book, swim suit, and training pants.

We spent the rest of the morning baking brownies (Gwen and I), dying eggs (Gwen and Trav), and roasting veggies for dinners this week (me). Later that afternoon we headed over to neighbor Joe's for an Easter egg hunt. Their two granddaughters were over, as well as their families, so Gwen had some playmates. The Easter bunny spoiled them there!

We were invited to stay for dinner, which we were happy to do. They always make us feel like family over there.

After hanging out for a while we headed back home to get Gwen in bed. She went down easily enough, but about an hour later the trouble started. She had mentioned that her stomach was bothering her before she went to sleep, but I figured she just ate too much and would feel better by morning. Well she ended up waking and fussing/crying, telling me her stomach hurt, about every half an hour until midnight when she finally let me give her some Myli.con. Thankfully after that she settled down and slept well, and she felt fine this morning. Mama was tired though!

Speaking of which, its time for me to get to bed! Hope your Easter weekend was as full and fun as ours.