Friday, May 22, 2015

Conversations with Zuzu

From the month of May...

SceneLying in bed. I've been reading to Zuzu and now I'm reading my own book.

Zuzu: Mommy, I want you to read to me.

Me: I'm reading my book. You read your book.

Zuzu: I can't! I don't know my words.


SceneIn the basement, playing with Coco. 

Zuzu: Coco, are you going to make a choice to come over here? Or is Zuzu going to have to come get you? Make a choice!

* * *

SceneDavid gets off the phone with his grandma and tells me that his mom has broken her arm.

Zuzu: (very concerned) How Grandma Connie break her arm off?


Zuzu: Grandma Connie trip over her sister and break her arm off.

* * *

SceneZuzu has selected bandaids as her prize from the peepee (now poopoo) prize box.

David: I'm going to put the rest of these bandaids back in the peepee prize box.

Zuzu: No, Zuzu want to keep them with her.

David: Well, you can keep these (gestures to the three in her hand), but I'm going to put these back.

Zuzu: Daddy, please don't stress me out.

* * *

ScenePlaying in the backyard. Zuzu got her clothes wet and took them off.

David: Go inside and put on clothes.

Zuzu: No! I no want to wear clothes.

David: Well, have Mama help you put on your swimsuit then.

Zuzu: No! I want to be a stinker.

* * *
ScenePlaying on the patio with Coco and a Minnie Mouse doll. Zuzu pushes Coco over. I run to comfort Coco, David lectures Zuzu that it is not okay to push over her sister.

Zuzu: Minnie did it!

(David and I exchange alarmed looks as we wonder about sociopath behavior in toddlers and lying)


Scene: Zuzu is riding her scooter, Minnie is lying in her path.

Zuzu: Minnie won't let me pass!

Me: Minnie is being naughty tonight.

Zuzu: (giggles) Yes!

David: You should put her in timeout.

Zuzu: (hops off scooter, picks up Minnie, puts her in chair next to David) You sit here in time out.

David: No talking, Minnie.

Zuzu: No talking! You just sit here and cry.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Oh, my Coco.

I keep a one line a day journal, and I feel kind of bad about the fact that Coco seems to play such a supporting role in it. I started it when Zuzu was born, but now that Zuzu talks so much, my entry is often something funny that she has said, or an update on potty-training, or note of an epic temper tantrum, and poor Coco's easy-going babyhood gets less attention.

But she's so great.

She's as expressive as her sister, but a little more even-keeled. She will definitely let you know if she's upset, but she is quite easy to please (basically, as long as she's fed, she's good.)

She's still a big fan of mama-milk (and Mama in general, thankyouverymuch), but she's also seriously into food in a way that Zuzu wasn't for a long time. I remember telling my mom that Zuzu would take a thermos of breastmilk to kindergarten because she was coming up on her first birthday and she just wasn't interested in eating regular food--purees or stuff she could feed herself.

Coco has been wanting to hang with the rest of us since she was six months old. Her first bites of sweet potato were a delight and since then the only food she has rejected is avocado. (Most babies love avocado, and I know it's kind of a superfood for babies, but neither of my girls care for it. In fact, avocado is the only thing that made me throw up--twice--during my last pregnancy. I love guacamole, but I've actually lost my taste for it since I barfed both times I ate it while pregnant with Coco.) She likes broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, asparagus, mushrooms, rice, tofu, berries, oranges, bananas, applesauce, pears, bell peppers, salmon, refried beans, pasta, goat cheese, baby food puffs and yum-yum teething biscuits.

Coco started crawling at 8 months, was standing up at 9 months, and at 9 months and one week old she took her first staggering steps behind the toy shopping cart. She frequently "bear crawls" around the house so her knees don't touch the ground and she's just balanced on her hands and feet. David says at the rate she's going, she'll be walking before she has any teeth. (I'm already worrying about the issue of stairs in our house... I'm not sure if this technique will work for Coco the way it did for her sister.)

She adores Zuzu in a way that makes my heart itch. Her face lights up when she sees her sister, and she's so delighted to play with her. Zuzu can make her laugh, but is also the most frequent reason she cries. Fortunately, Coco is made of tough stuff. She has bonked her head and fallen on her face and gotten her little fingers stepped on and been pushed over backwards by her sister, and her tears of protest and pain only last a few moments before she's recovered and confident enough to get back in the game.

She still gets so many comments from strangers about how cute she is, especially her big blue eyes. I'm flattered when people say she looks like me--I actually think she's cuter than I was as a baby! Her hair is already started to come in a bit, so maybe she'll have bangs before she's three years old!

Coco is the baby who set her own bedtime at 7:30pm. We had been trying to put her down around 8, but she would get SO CRABBY that I finally realized life was easier for everyone if we started bedtime at 7:00pm instead. David didn't love putting her to bed so early since he doesn't get home until 5:30pm and wanted more time with her, but she was much happier when she'd have bath and nursing session earlier so she could be snoozing in her crib by 7:30pm.

We co-slept for the first several months--first with Coco in the bassinet in our room, and then with her in our bed. I loved having her close to me. Eventually, though, being in my bed meant that she was doing the all-you-can-eat buffet all night long. Now that she's in her crib, she wakes up once in the night to nurse and we all sleep much better. I know that technically she could be sleeping through the night, and we could probably train her if we really wanted to, but her first year is already going by so fast that even when I'm exhausted in the middle of the night, staggering out of bed to sit in a comfy rocking chair and nurse the baby doesn't feel like too much of a hardship. (Of course, if she wakes up a second time, I make David go to her!)

Coco loves her daycare teachers and in all her days of being dropped off, she's only cried once at my departure. Today when she kicked her legs in excitement at seeing her teacher, I actually felt a pang of jealousy. But her face always lights up when she hears my voice or sees me enter her classroom, and she crawls over to me at top speed every time I come to pick her up.

I swear she was saying "Mama" before she said "Dada" and her babbles sound more and more like she's trying to express herself in words. She waves hi and bye and says "Ba-bye!" which is incredibly adorable. Last night she was making happy shrieking noises in the kitchen that sounded exactly the way I imagine a baby pterodactyl would sound, at pretty much the same volume.

She's not a snuggler on my shoulder anymore, which I really miss. When she goes to sleep, she never lies her head down on my shoulder but instead prefers to stretch out across my lap. She takes the binky at nighttime and reminds me of her sister in the way she gives a soft sigh of contentment when I pop it into her mouth.

Her favorite toys are the Baby Einstein radio and anything of Zuzu's that she probably shouldn't really have--particularly hairbrushes, lunch boxes, and small figurines (not choking hazard small, but still ages 3+ small).

I love putting her in some of my favorite clothes that Zuzu wore, but I've also found that I sometimes favor different kinds of clothes than I did just two years ago. Coco is dressed a little more for comfort/function and a little less in the cute/decorative category. Fewer tutus, plenty of leg warmers. Because she's on the move, I tend to put her in more onesies and pants than dresses that hinder her ability to crawl. She's five weeks younger than Zuzu in terms of season, and as far as size goes she's a bit shorter and has more of a belly.

I love her baby belly and her thighs and her cheeks. I feel really fortunate that breastfeeding has gone so well for us (in spite of getting mastitis again!) and I'm so grateful that she has been healthy this year, with nothing more severe than a runny nose and a couple of ear infections. I know this cold and flu season was rough for a lot of people, and I'm so thankful we escaped the worst of it.

I wonder sometimes if Coco is so chill in part because she doesn't get as much undivided attention, or if she's just making it easy for me to split by attention by being so chill. Either way, I'm especially glad that we have had at least one day a week for the past nine months that was just Coco and Mama day so that I could focus on her instead of fitting in her nursing schedule and naps around Zuzu-mania.

Coco is so easy-going and predictable that staying home with her is an absolute pleasure. She's in that really easy nap routine (wakes up, naps two hours later, wakes up, naps three hours later, wakes up, goes to bed a few hours after that) but she's also happy to snooze in the car or in the stroller (although stroller naps are a bit more challenging because she's so curious and observant). Even if she doesn't nap in the stroller, she's usually content to watch her sister run around a park or playground. As long as her belly is full, she's pretty content to do pretty much whatever.

She is very active--a grabby and squirmy baby, and wrestling her on a changing table can be a real challenge! She's not especially patient when getting dressed or undressed, but she's very happy to be in the bathtub with sister, and thankfully is pretty chill when it comes to being splashed and having toys yanked away from her.

Eliza was the baby we planned for, and Zuzu was the baby we desperately worked for, and Coco is the baby we were gifted when we least expected it. The best surprise of my life. Everyday I am so grateful that she is ours. Her huge smile is reflecting my own big, goofy grin, because I feel incredibly lucky to be her mama. Our Coco-Puff.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bike Shopping Ends Badly for All Involved; Expectant Couple PossiblySecond-Guessing Life Choices

Zuzu's birthday is coming up next month, and we've decided to get her a bike. We've had some debate about whether to get a balance bike or a small bike with training wheels. After weighing our options, I think we're going to go with the training wheels option, but we took Zuzu to a toy store to try out a couple of bikes and see what she liked. (Spoiler alert: We decided to get her a bike with training wheels, but we already bought it off Craigslist for $20. I'm cleaning it up and adding handlebar streamers and it will look brand new!)

Zuzu was more interested in the bike accessories (helmets, knee pads, etc.) than in the actual bike. The Frozen bike received admiration for a few minutes, but the instruction manual was attached in such a way that it prevented her from  pedaling and she quickly lost interest. 

Instead, she modeled every helmet within reach for us. David noted she was more interested in the outfit and accessories than in the actual sport--just like me and tennis!

After she'd gone through every helmet they had, she obliged me by trying out a scooter. Really she was overstimulated by the entire store, so it was hard to get her attention focused at all. I was putting the scooter away and David was looking at the bikes and suddenly we turned around and she was gone.

She'd been out of our sight for a split second, so we knew she couldn't have gone far, but a quick jog down neighboring aisles didn't locate her, so my heart was POUNDING by the time we found her a minute later in the most obvious place: sitting in a Frozen Jeep. 

David was joking that she needed to ask Grammy to get her that Jeep for her birthday when she said, "Uh-oh. Poop!"

So we took off running for the bathroom. And we ran completely the wrong way at first, so we had to circle back. I was holding her hand and we were both sprinting through the store. She looked up at me and said, "Mommy, this is FUN!"

What was not fun was when we got to the bathroom and the "uh-oh" was already in her pants.

I then found myself in the enviable position of first wiping her poop-smeared butt with single-ply toilet paper and then trying to rinse a turd out of toddler underwear in a public toilet. I had to call David on my cell phone to tell him to go out to the car and get the diaper bag. We needed wipes and a change of clothes. I knew there were wipes in the bag, and an emergency pull-up, but we didn't have an extra pair of shorts or pants.

Zuzu told me she wanted to go back to the Frozen car and I said, "No, when you poop your pants we have to go home. That's why you need to poop in the potty."

Clearly, I am an unfeeling monster for not allowing my daughter to poop her pants and then frolic through the toy store wearing only a pull-up, because that statement unleashed THE FURY of Zuzu.

She started screaming and then she bolted.

So there I was, bent over the (public) toilet, flushing it in an effort to get most of the poop rinsed off her underwear. She was completely naked from the waist down, having removed her own shoes in a public restroom (gag gag gag, but also the least of my problems), and she still had poop still smeared on her butt and one thigh.

And she took off running--shockingly fast.

She got the bathroom stall unlocked, managed to open the (heavy) main door to the restroom (running on pure adrenaline, obviously), and RAN into the store. When I realized she was strong enough to open the main door to the bathroom, I dropped the wet and poopy underwear on the floor in the stall, left her shoes and skirt next to it, and took off after her, chasing her down the main aisle near the entrance of the store. I grabbed her and picked her up (carefully trying to avoid touching the poop-smeared areas). I carried her (SCREAMING and kicking) back toward the bathroom.

I was so intent on catching up with her before she made it back to smear feces all over the seat of the Jeep that I hadn't noticed we had an audience. As I staggered back to the bathroom with my half-naked and thrashing toddler, I passed a couple who had just entered the store. The guy laughed and said, "Looks like she got away from you!" Zuzu shrieked and flailed in my arms. His very pregnant wife rubbed her belly and looked somewhat alarmed, while also undoubtedly judging me, as I would have done before I actually had kids.

I managed to smile at them like "haha isn't this so funny? Toddlers! Wild and crazy! Hahaha" but really I was fiercely whispering to Zuzu through clenched teeth, "You do NOT run away from Mommy!"

We got back to the bathroom and she tried to repeat the escape (my fierce whisper does not penetrate the psyche of a crazed toddler) but David (and Coco in the stroller) had gotten back from the car at this point so he caught her outside the door and, between the two of us, we managed to get her cleaned up and wrangled into a pull-up, while completely blocking access to both bathrooms and the drinking fountain (thank goodness the store wasn't crowded.) Then we gathered up wet and poopy undies, an outraged toddler, a confused-looking baby in the stroller, and what was left of my dignity (very little), and walked quickly out the entrance-only door to escape to our car.

Where we listened to Zuzu scream and cry in protest. 

How could we be so cruel, really? 

This incident also reminds me of the story of my friend Monica when she was little and went to Wal-Mart with her uncle. She sat in a Cozy Coupe and didn't want to get out of it so she peer her pants in it. Her uncle was embarrassed, so he bought the Cozy Coupe rather than leave it full of urine for the next unsuspected kid. Perhaps this is an instinctive toddler thing? If they can just mark child-size vehicles with their poop or pee, they get to take them home! 

It's really a good thing Zuzu's efforts were unsuccessful. Our garage does not have room for a Honda and a Jeep.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Stay At Home Day

Today is my stay-at-home day. It's raining. I have nothing against the rain, except that it lowers my productivity by approximately 50%.

I need to go to the grocery store. It shouldn't be that big of a deal--the girls will be delighted to sit in the car shopping cart together. But the mere idea of loading everyone up (in the rain) and then unloading and carrying in groceries (in the rain) is enough to keep me sitting here in my pajamas.

The best thing about right now--Zuzu is 2 years and 10 months old, Coco is 9 months--is that they entertain each other. They've actually started playing together. This still requires supervision (newsflash: I'm not going to the grocery store and leaving Zuzu home alone with Coco!) but it doesn't require much intervention (except the occasional reminder that Coco's head is not to be covered up with a blanket, and when she starts crying that means she's saying "STOP IT"--toddlers can be real A-holes).

It just about makes my heart explode when Zuzu makes Coco laugh, and Zuzu loves it, too. She'll say, "My sister loves me!" or "Coco wants to hold Zuzu's hand!" Coco is pretty content to sit anywhere and watch Zuzu run around, but she'll get in on the action, too. One evening they were all wound up and Zuzu had a handful of fruit snacks from the peepee prize box (yes, we're still bribing her). She was running in circles around the living room and kitchen, and Cooper was following right behind her, wanting a fruit snack, and Coco was crawling behind them, getting lapped frequently, but totally trying to keep up.

My work out plan has been going... ok. I've managed to walk/run with the stroller three times a week for the last three weeks, so that's a good thing. Of course it's complicated--I feel guilty for not bringing the dog even though I can't bring him because he can't (or won't?) keep up with me so I don't actually get my heart rate up if I'm walking Cooper.

If I take the stroller to a park with a playground (they ALL have playgrounds), then I have to turn up the music loud enough to drown out Zuzu's whining. She is rarely satisfied with my explanation that we'll go to the playground AFTER the stroller ride. It works out ok if we go somewhere that the playground isn't visible the entire time, but I still find myself saying, "We are GOING to the playground. It's this way!"

As indicated in this post, Zuzu is pretty fearless on the playground. I have made a conscious decision not to be a playground hoverer, and I also let her take off her shoes. I worry a little about this because it seemed like it would be easy for her to get hurt (I got a splinter in my own foot the other day when I stepped on what appeared to be a rogue piece of mulch on our stairs inside the house) but this article makes a pretty persuasive argument for bare feet. Bare feet also allow for lots more agility on the playground equipment. She can easily climb up the slides and use her toes like a little monkey to grip the climbing bars.

I wonder if I was being judged by a mom at the park yesterday, whose two-year-old boy was trying to copy everything Zuzu did but couldn't really keep up because he wasn't as coordinated and he was wearing clunky sneakers that didn't give him much traction on the slide. Still, he kept after it. His mom kept encouraging him to climb up the smaller slide because he couldn't quite do the big one, which I thought was silly because obviously he had mastered the small one and wanted to move on! But I decided not to worry about it and Zuzu had a ball playing looking like a little barefoot ragamuffin and playing with her new little friend.

And clearly she's honing her climbing skills at home, too:

Meanwhile, Coco took two steps today while holding on to the shopping cart! I couldn't get my phone flipped to video fast enough, but I snapped a couple of photos of her in action. In the first she's (unexpectedly) moving, and then her face is like "holy crap I just walked."

Yesterday at the park, there was another mom front-wearing a baby in an Ergo carrier. She had another little boy who was probably three and she was trying to lift him out of the swing. His big tennis shoes were caught in the leg-holes of the swing, and she couldn't get a good grip on him because of the baby on her chest. I was passing by with the stroller, so I asked if I could give her a hand and she said yes, so I hauled her little guy out of the swing.

It was such a little thing, but I've been in that position where you're awkwardly trying to wrangle one kid while wearing the baby, and it made me feel ridiculously good to help out someone else in a small way.

Today I'm riding that goodwill wave even further, because I donated to Momastery's Love Flash Mob. The three stories they are featuring today are really remarkable and incredibly deserving. $25 is the maximum donation they're accepting--or you can give $5, 10, or 15.

David is such a grouch about charitable donations (seriously, he's awful) because he's always suspicious that the money doesn't go to the people who really need it, but instead covers administrative costs or something. (Ironic, since he IS an administrator who is certainly not overpaid for the work he does.) Anyway, Momastery is entirely volunteer and nobody gets paid anything for what they do there, so 100% of donations go to the people whom they are helping to rise up. It's such a good thing. And you know I left a comment saying my donation was in memory of Eliza.

The rain let up, so we headed to the store. It's the little things that make these girls so happy!

P.S. A few pictures of Zuzu when she was the age Coco is now. Less hair but equal cuteness!
And a few pictures of the doggies, back when I was pregnant with Zuzu.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Greeting Cards for Grief

You've probably seen the awesome empathy cards for cancer that were created by Emily McDowell--I wish I would have seen these in time to order some for my friend Beth! (There are a couple that are not cancer-specific that I also love.)

Heather Spohr created some mock-ups of cards specifically for grief and child loss, and I got teary-eyed as I read them. Because they are EXACTLY RIGHT. These are the things we need to hear.

I remember feeling appalled and so pissed off at people who wished me a merry Christmas three weeks after Eliza died. I know they just wanted to acknowledge me during the holidays, but wishes of merriment felt like a huge slap in the face--even a year later. This card is much better. You can send me this card for the next million years.

image borrowed from The Spohrs Are Multiplying

So if your friend lost her baby and you don't know what to say? Borrow the words on one of these cards. Heather gets it exactly right.

My friend Caroline recently posted this quote from Glennon Doyle at Momastery, and I want to share it here, too:

You can't fix a friend's grief, but that's okay because grief isn't supposed to be fixed. It's not something we need to grab from each other. Grief is holy. Your friend doesn't want it taken away from her. Sometimes a mama's boundless grief is the only proof she has that she loved boundlessly. Great grief is the price of great love. So forget about making it better. Just call, or email and say: I am thinking of you. And of your baby. And I love you. And I'm so sorry. 

That's all. That's all we can do. We don't have to make it better. We just have to remember.

(My bolded emphasis. Because reading that sentence just made me cry.)

Here's to boundless love and greeting cards that get it right.

P.S. How Old Navy got it wrong a year ago
A text that sent me over the edge: What NOT to say
The post I wrote on Mother's Day five years ago and waited to publish

Monday, May 11, 2015

I've Had Worse Days

So Mother's Day is over.

It was mostly a really nice day--David worked hard to make it nice for me. He fixed breakfast and fixed dinner and took charge of all Code Brown Situations. (Perhaps because I threw a bit of a fit on Saturday and said, "You know what I want for mother's day? To not have to deal with anyone's poop except my own!"). The girls had sweet homemade gifts they'd made at school, and David also got me a book I wanted and some plastic tumblers for summer drinks outside and helped the girls make me a card.

Also there was a mimosa waiting for me when I came downstairs--my favorite kind of breakfast!

We spent the morning at the Botanical Gardens. It was lovely and even warmer than I'd expected. 

Coco was supposed to nap in the stroller but was too excited by the lovely flowers and the people watching. 

She was content to watch her sister run around, though, and Zu was good about staying close to us except when she took off by herself across the docks in the Japanese garden.

She made her way back into my good graces when she peed on the big potty, though!

By the time we circled back to the children's garden (she's obsessed with the cave--"The Tunnel!" she calls it), it was time for lunch and Zu was getting cranky. 

She wanted a snack but we hadn't planned to be at the gardens that long and hadn't packed anything. Fortunately, there was an apple in the diaper bag from Wednesday that was still perfectly good. We used it as a distraction to keep her from stripping off her clothes to get in the sprinklers there, and headed out.

(All that remained of the apple)

After the gardens, Coco immediately fell asleep in the car and David needed to run to Home Depot, so we decided that I'd drop him off and then go to Sonic to get us limeades (because Sonic is in the parking lot of Home Depot) and then wait in the car for him to get finished. Zuzu wanted to go with David into Home Depot, so I said good-bye to both of them and cruised over to Sonic for strawberry limeade (and cheddar bites because it was a holiday).

When they came out of the Depot, Zuzu was doing her fake-crying thing so I asked David what was going on.

"You're not going to believe what happened," he said.

They were in the bathroom tile aisle and Zuzu wanted out of the cart. David said that she could get out if she stayed close by him. She was good about this, but then she saw the display showers and she wanted to check those out.

She stepped up on the bottom shelf and pulled the door of a display shower open so she could run inside. At the same instant, David bent down to pull her away from the shower and tell her she didn't get to climb all over the displays.

The shower door was not attached to the hinges of the shower, though, so when she pulled it open, it actually fell toward her, and since David was bent down to pick her up, the door hit him instead of her. It hit right on the back of his head and SHATTERED. He was crouched over Zuzu as the door broke into a zillion pieces and showered them in glass--all down his back.

He had a small cut on his neck and his hand. Zuzu had a scratch next to her eye and a tiny cut on her foot. She was completely freaked out.

A bunch of employees ran over to see if they were okay (David said they were, even though Zuzu was crying) and started cleaning up. They didn't see a manager or anything. So he loaded Zuzu up in the cart and went and checked out. I think David was embarrassed by the scene--he said Zuzu shouldn't have been playing up there. But you can't tell me that other people don't open those shower doors! If it hadn't happened to her, I think it could easily have happened to some other kid (or adult). And if David hadn't been right there, bending over to pick her up, she could have been seriously injured.

I'm glad I didn't see it happen--I think I would have been totally freaked out. I was freaked out enough when David told me the story in the car. We got so lucky that no one needed stitches.

We spent the afternoon putting together some new patio furniture and cleaning and rearranging the patio. I really like the new set up--I think it's a much better use of space. And I have a few more ideas for things I want to do to spruce it up out there, but we're making progress!

(As we were putting together our lawn furniture, our neighbor came over to help us out by entertaining the girls and she noticed a piece of glass in David's hair--it was a shard actually stuck in his scalp!)

Later that evening, not to be outdone by her sister's brush with danger, Coco pulled up on a bench in Zuzu's bedroom and then somehow slipped and bashed her head on the corner. She's got an ugly bruise right in the middle of her forehead.

(In case I was feeling competent as a parent, both girls went go ahead and got visible and frightening injuries on Mother's Day. Well played, ladies.)

We tucked the little ones into bed, picked up the house, and relaxed for a while. We have a new little routine on Sundays where we let Zuzu skip her nap and then we put both girls to bed at 7:30pm. Zu is asleep by 8pm and we hang out and watch Game of Thrones and eat ice cream. (I highly recommend this routine as Super Fun.)

So that's how we wrapped up Mother's Day. I got some sweet texts and e-mails from friends and family telling me they were thinking of Eliza, and I wore my necklace that has each of the girl's names on it. I told myself (after crying Saturday night) that I was going to spend the day being grateful for what I have, and I DID/WAS/AM. But it still stung a little to see families with three little stair-step girls at the gardens. (One of them in matching monogrammed sundresses--adorable. I hated the adorableness SO MUCH.)

Five years ago on Mother's Day, I saw two pink lines. I was pregnant for the first time and had no reason to believe anything would go wrong. It was such a happy Mother's Day for me.

Five years later, I had a different kind of happy Mother's Day. Bittersweet (I think it always will be) but with an emphasis on the sweet, for sure (well, you know, except for the shattered glass and forehead bruises).

Friday, May 8, 2015

Komentucky Derby

Last Saturday we donned our most festive party-wear and headed out to a winery for the Komentucky Derby in honor of my friend Beth, who recently had her final surgery on the road to recovery since being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer eight months ago.

Looking festive in bow tie and big hat. 
Quick backstory on my hat: I had borrowed two great hat options, one from a friend of a friend and one from the counselor at David's school. Both were adorable, but the friend of a friend's didn't fit on my big head (!) and the other just didn't go with the bright yellow dress I (obviously) ended up wearing. So I picked up a white straw hat on Friday at Target, and then on our way to pick up Chipotle Friday night, I had David stop at Hobby Lobby so I could run in and grab some decorative accessories. We got there at 7:45pm and they close at 8:00, so I literally ran through the store like it was Supermarket Sweep. I snagged a bouquet of yellow and pink flowers (the cheapest I could find, fake flowers were also 50% off), rang the bell in the fabric department so the girl would cut me half a yard of yellow netting and half a yard of white netting ($1.67/yard), and then asked her where I could find feathers. The craft department was in the back corner, so I bolted and found a package of bright yellow feathers ($1.99, plus I used a 40% off coupon). The next morning I used straight pins and a big of hot glue to put the hat together. After the derby was over, I carefully disassembled the hat, and now I can wear the plain white straw hat this summer!

with Beth
She looks fabulous and her hair is coming back as thick as ever and with some curl to it that is driving her bonkers. She spoke at the event and her speech made me cry. (You can watch it here, if you're interested.) 

Beth's dad walked up to stand with her when she got emotional. She told us after that she didn't think she was going to cry, but I told her that when people talk about important stuff, they are supposed to cry. 
She talked about how terrifying it was to get that diagnosis. Now here she is, on the other side of it all, but it's not like she'll ever leave that behind. She's done everything she can to diminish her risk of recurrence, but obviously the fear doesn't go away.

Still, for now we are celebrating. Beth and her family have been through so much in the past eight months, and it was great to just hang out with them on a beautiful day, wear a ridiculous hat, and spend a little money on raffles and drinks, knowing it was going to a good cause. 

the college girls who live in STL (the rest of our group never left our college town!)
It's kind of funny how I used to think being grown up would mean getting dressed up and going to benefit events and really being grown up means I actually know people who are affected by terrible things (and obviously I've experienced loss myself) so really it means that I get dressed up and go to benefits because we're desperate to try and help.

It's still a good time, it's just personal in a way I hadn't imagined.

Bridget's Brigade is an organization that works to not only donate money to cancer research, but also to help ease the burden on women who are dealing with the daily reality of cancer treatments in our local area. (Bridget is the woman who is first talking on the video). She organizes this event each year, and we were so glad to be a part of it.

And we are so very, very glad that, 9 months since her diagnosis and 10 months since first finding that little lump, Beth has been through three major surgeries, six rounds of chemo, the loss (and regrowth) of her hair, and has come out on the other side.

Here's to big hats and good health. Cheers!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Getting in Fights (Except Obviously Not Really)

I took Coco to a nursing mom's group last night.

She actually nursed right before we left, so I stuck her in the carseat and popped the binky in her mouth and we hit the road.

When we walked in, I set her carseat down and an inquisitive little two-year-old boy came over to see the baby.

"Oh," his mom said to me, "He's wondering what that is! We never used a pacifier."

She said it with a smile, but it sounded as SMUG as possible.

If only I'd had an extra binky. I would have popped one in his mouth right then.

Now, I GET that there are people who choose not to use pacifiers (crazy people) (kidding). I get that there are babies who won't take pacifiers. I get that there are people who struggle with breastfeeding and maybe a binky could complicate that further. But seriously.

So then I fought her.*

* * *

Today at the park there was a mom with her seventeen-month-old toddler. He was climbing around pretty well and she was following him on the jungle gym.

Zuzu climbed up on her own and I stood underneath, pushing Coco back and forth in the stroller, hoping she'd doze off. (She didn't.)

Zuzu marched herself up the stairs to the tall twisty slide. This wasn't our usual park, but she's a master of the tall twisty slide. She has no fear and she's been going down tall twisty slides since before she turned two.

The little boy tried to follow her.

"No, no!" his mom said. "You're not big enough for that slide." (Which, granted, he really wasn't).

Zuzu launched herself down that slide as the boy and his mom headed across the bridge. I'm not sure what move she was trying to do, but she ended up twisting around and somersaulting. She's chosen to go down the slide head-first on multiple occasions, so I didn't think much of it. She came off the slide kind of fake-crying, so obviously her descent didn't quite go as planned, but she was obviously fine and looking to me for a cue as to how to react, so I just smiled at her and said, "Whoa! That was crazy!"

The other mom turns to her kid and goes, "And that's why you don't go down that slide."


I was just standing there, sort of stunned at her passive-aggressive parenting judgment, and Zuzu looked to this other mom for a cue and then started whining but she was CLEARLY just fine and so I said, "You're fine. You need to be safe on the slide." She rubbed her head and said, "I bonked." (Which, yeah, she probably did, but not very hard and also that's a daily occurrence and also: natural consequences.)

And then the other mom was all, "Oh, honey, are you okay?" to MY KID.

And then I fought her.**

* * *

I really feel totally fine about the fact that I give my baby a pacifier. Also, I have made a deliberate and conscientious decision not to hover over my kid at the playground (as much as I want to). I happen to love the fact that a binky keeps Coco from screaming in the car. I'm also proud of Zuzu for being a confident climber, jumper, and slider--her gross motor skills are one of her strengths. So it's not like I'm second-guessing my parenting choices based on these comments.

I just am a little appalled that people are so rude.

Or maybe the weirder thing is that I haven't had encounters like this before, and then I had two of them on back-to-back days. I mean, who does that?

**Didn't happen.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Overheard This Morning

I was doing the usual push to get everybody out of the house this morning, running through the checklist in my head of bottles and baby food and pump parts and extra undies and cloth diapers and shoes and hats and my phone and my water and my purse and anything else I need to not forget.

Zuzu and Coco were in the backroom, amusing themselves and staying out of trouble (I hoped) when I heard Zuzu say, "Oh, no, Coco. You know better than that!"

Clearly that's a phrase that she's hearing a lot at our house recently.

And no, it's not directed at Coco when she hears it.

(I still have no idea what Coco was doing to prompt this admonishment from Zuzu. Maybe she did know better?)

Friday, May 1, 2015


David and I share an obsession.

And it's not Game of Thrones or Gay of Thrones (my favorite re-cap) although we both enjoy both shows.

It's DIY peanutbutter.

There's this little, local grocery store not too far from my work that has a nut butter section where you select your own nuts and then run them through their machine to turn them into butter right in front of your eyes. Kind of like grinding coffee, except it doesn't require brewing.

This peanutbutter is magical. It is so incredibly delicious. The texture is in between crunchy and smooth--it's definitely not smooth, but the crunchiness is smaller. We love it so much.

And I love that nothing is added to it--it's just peanuts. So it has way less sugar and just as much protein as jarred peanutbutter.

It is the best food discovery we've made recently, and we can't get enough of it.