Monday, June 30, 2014

Here Comes the Sun(flowers)

My sunflowers bloomed while I was in Phoenix and they have since gotten very, very big.

None of the pictures I took had anything to portray their scale, so I thought the best thing would be to hold my baby against them to give you an idea of size. 

Some of the sunflowers had started to lose their petals at this point, so they aren't quite as brilliant as they once were, but I just can't get over how interesting they are. With their huge heads, so heavy that the whole plant bows over. 

I'm fascinated by the middle of their heads, all those tiny little pods, under which the sunflower seeds are! Can't wait to harvest and roast them!

The bees are nuts for these things, but even cooler are the small praying mantises (manti?) that take them over.

Of course June also wanted to be held up near the sunflowers for a picture, but me doing an overhead press with her body weight just wasn't going to happen. So...

If you're wondering if June's daily uniform is princess dress + crocs, the answer is YES.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Concert in the Park

We went to a concert in the park last Saturday. Although Sacramento has a ton of these going on (different parks, different nights, etc.), this was our first one we made it to. Some friends invited us to go over to their house beforehand for a drink and then we'd walk over to the park.

Sacramento is so funny. It was pretty warm in the evening. I was wearing shorts and a tank top and was worried I'd still be a little warm in the direct sunlight. Well I was very comfortable, and right around 6 PM it really started to cool the point that I was chilly! I used my Moby wrap to cover up Bennett's legs as he laid on the blanket because I hadn't thought to bring pants for him!

It was packed. We were really jammed in there. I'm so glad one of the guys we were with went out earlier in the day to lay out a blanket and chairs because otherwise I'm not sure what we would have done. We were a big group and we were pretty much on top of each other until some folks started heading home. 

The kids were so good. June didn't want to stay at our 'home base' at all except for when she was eating. Every other instant was spent on the play ground, in the sand box, dancing in front of the stage. I tell you, there's nothing like a hugely overcrowded playground to make you have constant anxiety of "Where is my kid? Where did my kid go??"

Bennett just hung out. On our laps. In our arms. On the blanket. He was just so chill, so happy and content. He even fell asleep for a little bit.

We walked home and got the kids down for a late bedtime. They slept in the next day! Until nearly 8 AM! Of course, this includes Bennett waking up every three hours which has become his usual, but at least he fell back asleep after the 6:30 AM feeding, which is not his usual.

It was just one of those nights, do you know what I mean? A sweet summer night, with red wine in a small plastic cup and caprese salad made with basil and tomatoes from the garden. With kids who are sweet and well-behaved because it's so fun to be outside with music and food and crowds. I loved every second. (Minus, of course, those moments when I couldn't find my kid.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

For All In-Tents and Purposes

When it's cool enough and when there is time, I will walk to pick the kids up from daycare. Lately I've even thrown June's little tricycle on top of the stroller so she can ride her bike home. On those days we take a long way home since she loves riding her bike so much.

I love these walks. I sing songs. June stops her bike and collects leaves to put in her 'trunk.' Bennett chews on his fingers or squeals. Sometimes June needs a little push up the hills, so I'm awkwardly hunched over trying to push her with one hand and the stroller with the other, not letting them hit each other or any cars parked along the street.

Another new post-school activity happened the other day. Michael had to work that evening so I was going to be home alone with the kids. At about 7:30 PM he received a text from me with the following picture, saying "THIS IS HAPPENING."

You see, I had another incident of buying-all-the-things-on-Amazon. We have a little vacation coming up where we hope to have at least one beach day. After our last trip to San Diego we realized how important it was to have some kind of shade-generator, especially when you have a kid at the beach. Now with an infant, it was even more important to me to be able to have some kind of refuge from the sun.

So I looked around at all kinds of sun shades and umbrellas and finally decided on this little tent. It's called the Coleman Road Trip Beach Shade. There are a lot of similar products but I picked this one because of the reviews, the price and because it has a 'door.' Most of these little tents were built to provide shade but they aren't full tents. This one can zip closed, meaning that you could theoretically change clothes inside in privacy, and it's even big enough that one adult and June could sleep in it if we wanted to! (We do want to.)

June waited (semi-) patiently while I assembled the thing and then we spent the rest of the evening inside. We even had a picnic breakfast in it the next morning! 

I'm glad we did one trial run...that should make it even easier for me to assemble this thing once we get on the beach. (And I'm sure that June would be open for another trial before then, too!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sleep Regression

Right after Bennett turned 3 months, he rolled over for the first time! We knew he was so close and we were watching him, and one Saturday we saw as his huge head fell to the side while he was on his belly and momentum took the rest of his body over until he was laying on his back. He actually hasn't rolled this way again yet!

But the very next day, a Sunday, Bennett rolled from his back to his belly. 

And he's been a rolling machine ever since. We can't set him down without returning to find him on his stomach. This normally isn't a problem, but he eventually gets frustrated being on his stomach (especially since he can't seem to figure out how to roll back again).

Because he's rolling now, we've had to stop swaddling him.

And I don't know if it's the lack of swaddling, I don't know if it's a growth spurt or the '4 month sleep regression' or something else, but the boy hasn't been sleeping. We really took a step back. There was a period of time when he'd sleep from about 8 PM to about 3 AM, even 4 AM a few times. 

No more. 

We put him to sleep at 8 PM and he's up at midnight. Then he's up at 1, then 3, sometimes 4, then 5:30. Sometimes I ask Michael to go try to get him back to sleep. Sometimes I just get up and feed him. It's tough because I don't want Bennett to get in the habit of eating so much through the night, but I also want to respond to him if he's telling me he needs something. It's also the easiest way to make sure he goes back to sleep. Michael can often eventually get him down, but those times Bennett will often wake up within an hour.

I'm just so tired, you know? I'm back at work full time now. I'm officially a multiple-cup-a-day coffee drinker. 

Whenever I'm laying in bed and I hear sounds come through the monitor, I get this groggy, panicked anxiety that he's waking up. Going so long without 3 straight hours of sleep is really starting to get to me. 

I took him to the doctor to make sure it wasn't an ear infection. (June was such a great sleeper that whenever she stopped sleeping through the night, we knew it was an ear infection.) I was happy that he didn't have an ear infection, but also sad that there was just no reason my baby doesn't sleep. 

I don't know what to do, except to just keep going, as we parents do. I will listen to my own advice, and try to remember that this is just a phase and it too will be over some day. I'll try to go to bed earlier (even if means less me-time/us-time at the end of the day.)

And I'll hope that he goes back to sleeping a little more. Soon. Dear God, please, soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Father's Day

Father's Day was pretty subdued this year. It was a pretty hectic weekend. Bennett and I flew back into Sacramento on Saturday afternoon. Michael and June picked us up at the airport, we made a quick pitstop at home to drop off expressed breast milk and repack the diaper bag, and headed immediately out to a classmate's birthday party.

(It was so fun, by the way. Swimming, grilling out, packs of preschoolers, ice cream cake.)

 So June and I didn't have a chance to go out to buy some fancy breakfast items. Instead, we spent some early (early!) morning hours snuggling in bed.

Then ate a pretty uneventful breakfast. But after a little more relaxing around the house, we went out for a late brunch at one of our favorite midtown restaurants, Zocalo.

I felt bad that we didn't do anything very exciting, but I had been telling Michael to think of things he might want to do that day earlier in the week. 

He said then, and on Sunday, that after the go-go-go of taking care of June by himself, he was looking forward to a quiet day at home with all of us reunited.

Which is what he got! Happy Father's Day, Michael! And to my own beloved Dad!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

*This was originally written the day after Mother's Day and apparently I forgot to publish it!*

Mother's Day is over and I'm totally bummed. It's just that...I want all days to be like it?

Michael is just so sweet and wanted my day to be so restful and nice. June asked to go outside with me when I was watering the plants and Michael tried desperately (and unsuccessfully) to distract her since he knows how much I love to just sit in peace and stare at my little garden. And whenever Bennett would start to fuss, Michael would say "Should I take him? Can I take him?" 

I got to sleep in, which in this house meant that I brought Bennett into bed with us when he woke at 6:30, nursed and went back to sleep until 7:30. Michael got up with June (who also has been up and at 'em at 6:30 these days) and started making breakfast!

One of the duties June has happily undertaken is filling water cups from the dispenser. Sure, we end up with some splashes and puddles, but it keeps her occupied during those last moments before a meal and we all stay hydrated in the process.

I just sat back and watched the final steps with my boy in my lap and some coffee in my hand!

French toast, eggs and bacon!

I decided that I wanted to go to a strawberry festival in Roseville, a suburb of Sacramento. When we drove up there was a gigantic line made up entirely of young teen girls. I wondered aloud what they were all doing, and Michael wondered aloud why they all weren't with their moms. Turns out there was  a big concert being held that evening and the girls were all lined up to get good spots.

We had strawberry shortcake, beignets with strawberries and some other more savory foods. We laid out a blanket and sat in the shade and listed to some live music.

There were some small-scale carnival-esque rides and bounce houses. June tried one out and loved it - she's come a long way from being terrified of a blow up slide last fall!

We finished off with some dancing to the music - June on the dance floor and me and Bennett with the Moby wrap. At one point the lead singer said, "And I see some soon-to-be-mothers out there! Is this your first sort-of Mother's Day?" while looking in my direction. I turned to see who she was referring to and she said "Oh! Your baby is already here! He's just tucked up in there, isn't he?!" Since she was speaking over the microphone, the whole crowd of people looked and laughed. I pulled Bennett's head out and waved.

We ended the day on a positive note, helping a young family whose car had gotten boxed in seemingly by one of those teen girls. (The bedazzled license plate cover gave it away.)

That evening we had a visit from one of Michael's business school friends (in town from London - what are the chances?), which was really fun. It was so nice to catch up with Yanni and he was so sweet, especially with June who took to him like white on rice and asked him to read her books over and over.

I felt very spoiled this Mother's first one with two kiddos!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cousin Encounter

When Bennett and I were in Phoenix, he finally got a chance to meet his Uncle JP and cousin Kai. 

Bennett, Kai, JP, Mom and I went out to dinner and then went over to JP's new place to check it out. 

We had a lot to catch up on...the last time I saw Kai was around New Years, and JP had just gotten back from a Caribbean vacation!

As usual, Bennet just sort of hung out on my lap for a while, then I put him in the Moby right before our food came out. 

Bennett made a move on JP's beer. Mom wanted me to be sure that if I posted this picture, that I made absolutely clear that Bennett did NOT actually have any beer to drink that night.

But Margarita Night in the hot tub later that week was another story!

After getting the tour of JP's new place, we relaxed with a drink and then Kai challenged me to a little one-on-one soccer among the boxes. 

Actually it was two-on-one since Bennett was in the Moby at the time. Bennett was not a major contributor to our team, though.

I'm so glad we got to see each other while I was in town. Here's hoping they can come out to visit us in Sacramento some time!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Staying Connected

While I was in Phoenix, Michael and I made the effort to keep the other one aware of what we were up to. We Facetimed almost every night, which allowed me to have nice conversations. Some were cute (when I asked her why her classmate bit her, she said, "Maybe because she's not my best friend.") to the serious (me telling her that, no, it's not okay to continue jumping in the bounce house at the school BBQ after Daddy has said it's time to go. And then to continue jumping while laughing as he continues to tell her to get out.)

Michael sent me updates on my two babies: June and the Garden.

(The sunflowers bloomed while I was gone!)

(Our first true crop of cherry tomatoes ripened!)

(June turned into a teenager.)

And had some backyard pool adventures with a friend.

I sent him some, too. Like the go-to Bennett sleeping pic:

And of Bennett with his cousin, Kai.

We also Facetimed while we were with Kai and poor June was so jealous and sad that she wasn't there in Arizona with us. 

So while it was tough being apart for a full week, at least there were some things we could do to feel close!

Monday, June 16, 2014

AZ Visit

My work made it known pretty early that they'd like to have me back to Phoenix for a visit after my maternity leave. I also had a new boss that I wanted to meet, so the plan was set in motion. I didn't feel comfortable leaving Bennett and my mom was so sweet to offer to come out to Arizona to watch him.

So Ben and I packed up our things and headed out on his first trip!

Besides the first few minutes, things went smoothly enough. The first few minutes were tough because it was before I was able to check my bags. I had Bennett on my front, a heavy backpack on my back (with the laptop in it), a huge roll-y bag in one hand and the car seat bag in the other. 

(This is actually me on the way home.)

My flight was delayed about an hour and a half, which was a little annoying. I was glad that Bennett was so happy and peaceful during the wait, but I also had a sense of using up the 'good' before we even got on board. 

He did fuss a little, especially right in the beginning when I was trying desperately to keep him quiet. Things were much easier once I realize he just wanted to be awake and would I please stop trying to make him sleep?

We got in on Saturday, which gave us a whole day to hang out with Mom before I had to work. We hung around the house, I showed her Bennett's routines, we went to the mall and then we ate at Oregano's. 

I think the first day was an adjustment period for Bennett. He had to get used to his surroundings, so he hardly napped the whole time. My mom was extremely positive about it all (God bless her) but I'm sure he was pretty difficult at some points.

The good news is that he was much better the next day, and continued to be easier and easier as the week went on. By the end of the week, they were best buddies and Bennett was smiling whenever he saw his Vivi's face.

Work was stressful for me. Getting back into the swing of things, having new responsibilities, back-to-back meetings. But I was also so glad to be physically there with my colleagues, and especially glad to have my mom to catch up with when the day was done. Mom had dinner waiting each night when I got home and after B would go to bed, we'd have wine or ice cream or both. 

By the end of the week we'd all gotten used to the new schedule and were sad to be giving it up. I was glad to get back to Michael and June, and Mom's off to adventure through the summer, but I'll also miss those days together!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bumps and Bruises

I just got back from a week-long trip to Phoenix and I've got all those feels associated with it...overjoyed at seeing Michael and June again, tired from the long work-heavy trip, missing my mom. But before I post some blog posts about that time, back to the Thursday before last.

I was working at home when I got a call around noon from June's daycare. Anyone who's had a kid in daycare knows that getting a call in the middle of the day is never good news. My heart just sank and my first thought was, "Which one is it?"

It was June. She had fallen hard on the blacktop of the playground and the director of the school wasn't sure if she needed stitches or not. Immediately my mind goes to open gashes, gushing blood, etc. I teleported to the school and held my little girl.

(I have to say that, as terrible as it was, I also feel some happiness at how relieved she seemed to be when I blasted through the door. She still cried, but she sort of magnetically zoomed to me as I zoomed to her and it just felt so mother-y at the moment. So mom-y. So mommy.)

There were some cuts around her nose, which caused bleeding, which June saw, which led to more hysterics.

The director of the school was also slightly worried about her having a concussion since after hitting her head, June apparently sort of slumped over. She also reported that her pupils were uneven in size. 

So I called my medical provider and they suggested just taking her to the ER to be sure. While I drove there, I called Michael to give him an update. He asked me to take a picture of June to show him how bad it was.

Now by the time we got to the ER, June was in pretty good spirits. I had told her that we might stop and get ice cream to make her feel better and she was chatting merrily away about what flavor of sprinkles she would get. But when I told her that I was going to take a picture to send to Daddy, this is what she contorted her face into:

Her ability to lay it on thick was encouraging. 

We admitted within 3 minutes and June again was happily talking about all the stuff she was seeing. 

None of the cuts needed stitches but they did get cleaned up. And she might have gotten a small concussion, but there wasn't anything to be done about it. So with a clean bill of health (or as clean as it could be) we headed home. I couldn't bear taking her back to school after everything. 

So June got some ice cream at home, complete with sprinkles.  

It was then naptime so Mommy could still make a 2:00 phone meeting. (Couldn't believe how quickly we were in and out of the ER!)

My poor Junebug. 

But she's doing fine. Today - a week and a half later - the cuts are still visible but are definitely healing. Here she was at the airport today, coincidentally wearing the same dress.

Actually, not so coincidentally. June's all about the dresses these days, so she wears the same ones over and over again. My girly girl. My tough girly girl.