Van @ 9 Months

Growth & Appearance: You’re not chubby so much as you are girthy. You’re solid. We joke that you have emphysema because you are so barrel chested. Maybe you spent your overdue days in the womb hanging out and smoking?
You also still have an “old man” appearance and several people have commented that you seem “wise”; I think the two are intertwined. Whatever the case may be, your Papa’s Aunt self-diagnosed you as a genius and I’m not arguing with the woman.
You weigh 21 lbs, 6 oz. (60th percentile), 30 inches long (91st percentile), head circumference 18 inches (60th percentile). You’re wearing size 4 diapers (same as your brother), size 18-24 month pants (you got some long legs), and size 12 month onesies/tops. Your hair is brown with little specks of golden. Most people say, like your brother, that you look like your Papa but have my eyes. I agree.
Teeth: It only took 9 months, but your first tooth has sprouted. Your bottom left has broken through and your bottom right is right behind it. I can see the top two working their way down as well. You’re about to have a whole new look. We won’t wait until they turn yellow to brush them like we did with your brother, promise.
Eating: Baby led weaning has been bliss. You love it, we love it, and feeding you is easier than asking a bronco to buck. You eat everything. In fact, you cry when there is nothing left in front of you. I’ve learned to cut your food into tiny pieces before setting it in front of you because you get too frustrated by the fact that I cannot cut it as fast as you can gobble it. You’ll eat just about anything, but your favorites are bread products. You eat everything on your own. I offer you 2-3 meals per day and you eat a lot at each meal.
You jump up and down in your high chair when we have oatmeal for breakfast. And you still eat a lot of the pieces of the shag rug in the office.
You breastfeed 8 to 9 times a day. Some sessions last as little as 5 minutes but the morning and night feeds are always longer sessions. Our schedule is similar to what it was last month, though you seem to phase at least one feeding out most days: breastfeed twice before breakfast, then once after, breastfeed before lunch, then once after, breastfeed twice before dinner, then once before bed. I feel more relaxed about breastfeeding now that we’re on the home stretch. My plan, at this point, is to make it to your first birthday and then go as long as you are interested and as long as it’s enjoyable.
I pump after your morning feed and get anywhere from 1 to 3 oz. It doesn’t seem like much, but I combine it with the next days pumped milk and store it in the freezer for the days I work. I have way more milk than I need, but not enough to donate. 
Sleeping: I’ve found you sitting up in your crib for the first time ever. It seems to have taken you awhile to move off your back. Now you’re up sitting every time I come in and I can tell pulling to stand is just around the corner. Since you started crawling, you’ve also started sleeping on your stomach. We come in to spy on you and, oftentimes, you’re little bum is sticking straight up into the air. I love this stage.
You sleep through the night, consistently. I sleep soundly and don’t go to bed at night with one ear to the monitor. It’s like heaven. Thank you. Here’s your sleep schedule: Wake up between 7-8am, nap around 11am until 1pm, afternoon nap from 4pm to 5:30pm, bedtime around 9pm. Your schedule has to be more flexible, so you don’t always get a second nap, though I’m sure you need it.
Nursing doesn’t always put you to sleep, but you have no trouble going down despite being placed in your crib awake.

Development: You have old man strength. We caught on to this early on but it’s manifesting in more ways now that you’re more mobile. The other day I sat you on a tricycle. A friend tried to pick you up off the tricycle and ended up lifting you up only to find the tricycle still in your grasp. You’ll be the one we turn to when we can’t open cans and banging the damn thing on the bottom to get the air out isn’t working.
You’re used to things being taken away from you, but rest assured that taking anything away from you is no easy feat. I think I’ve mentioned your death grip in every update thus far, but it’s worth repeating because it really is deadly. Every now and again (as in numerous times a day) I’ll have to take something away from you. It’s difficult to baby proof when you have a brother that throws everything on the floor. Accompanying your death grip now, however, is the sassy cat growl. You sense when somethings about to be ripped from your claws and start to draw it in closer to your body and bury your little head to your chest to protect your prize. Then you growl. When Hooper manages to take something away from you anyway, you scream and shake your head violently back and forth. You aren’t talking, per say, but you are a fantastic communicator.
Speaking of communicating, you say “ab da”. A lot.
You know your name. You’ve responded to it for quite some time but I’ve failed to mention it here.
You’re a wiggle worm on the changing table. I can’t even lay you down before you’re lifting your head up off the table to get a better view of something to grab. It’s nearly impossible to get a diaper on you; you contort your body in such a way that resembles this guy.
You mimic our waves and are starting to learn to clap.
You crawl with your right leg tucked in. You look handicapped.
You crawl under the desk often and then cry when you hit your head.
When you’re sitting, your arms are always up and out as if you are holding onto the handle bars of your motorcycle.
You make fantastic eye contact. We went to dinner with your Aunt KiKi and Chris and Chris insisted you starred him down. I believe it. You’re very personable. You love to laugh and even when you aren’t feeling good, you always smile. As long as no one is taking something away from you, you’re quite happy.
Now that you are crawling, you’re able to entertain yourself. As I write this, you’re underneath the pinball machine playing with the wire. You’ve been there for at least 10 minutes and you are perfectly content. Now you are eating the rug. You like eating the loose pieces of the rug. Damn the wool rug.
You’ve found Sarah’s food and when you’re near it, you want to eat it. Your brother ate so much dog food I was beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t just put it on a plate and call it breakfast. 
Favorites: To say you love me seems like an understatement. Doggonit, it is understated. You L O V E me. No matter where I put you on the office rug, you always seem to meander your way over to my chair. You grab on to let me know you’re there and then look at me with these eyes as if to say, “These toys are cool, but you are cooler”. Despite your love for me, now that you’re crawling you’re quite fond of traveling all over the place to find something new to get into. You like balls, the dog leash, and pretty much anything you see Hooper playing with.

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Hooper @ 29 Months

Growth & Appearance: I could have sworn you had all of your molars, but mysteriously another appeared. Now you have all of them. You handled them pretty well, but they definitely caused more commotion than your regular teeth which seemed to magically sprout overnight with little interruption in your routine. The molars came with a runny nose, poor appetite, and fussy behavior. But, they’re all here, so that chapter is closed.
You almost always have a bruise or bump somewhere these days, a testament to true toddlerhood. You had the most bizarre scratches on your cheek, almost like you had run through a rose bush. They appeared after we took Sarah for a walk and we’re still not sure when, exactly, you got em’. You currently have a bruise on your forehead from tripping over a rope in the neighbors yard, a scab on your wrist from who knows what, and scabbed knees because, well, scabbed knees are part of growing up. Speaking of growing up, can you slow down? Seriously, you’re on warp speed these days and it needs to slow yo.
You’re still in size 4 diapers, size 7 or 8 shoe, size 3T (with some room to grow) clothing. 
Communication: Not sure where you picked it up, but the other day we were coming out of an elevator and as we walked past the people waiting to go in you said, “essue me” (excuse me). I’d like to take credit for your politeness but instead I’m left scratching my head.
You say “thanks” unprompted after we do something nice for you. If we give you your milk, for example, you grab it and say “thanks”.
You’re beginning to say real sentences. We were playing in the car the other day and said, “Mama, close the door”. Your Papa and I both looked at each other with our chins on our chest, proud that you said your first real sentence and disgusted that it was so bossy and cute all at the same time.
You know dogs say “ruff ruff” and cats say “m-owww”. The majority of other animals, according to you, say “roarrrrr”.
You can say hippopotamus.
You use your pointer finger a lot; like when you have an idea or want to watch “one” show or when you’re telling Sarah “no”.
You use plurals. You request to watch “one show”, though other times you request “two showS”. You also use plurals inappropriately like when you ask for “egg and baconS”, when you show us your “moneyS”, or tell us the shoes go on your “feetS”.
You have a noticeable lisp when you say your “S’s”. We think it’s pretty charming.
You call your scooter a “fooder” and your grandpa a “gee paw”.
You can tell us you need to use the toilet by saying, “Pee pee, potty” and then you grab your twig and berries.
Sentences include: “Close the door”, “Sit here Papa”, and “No barking doggy”. Essentially you say all the important things.
You copy things we say and then use them inappropriately. For example, we ask, “Do you want mama to hold you?” and then, when we’re not asking but you want us to hold you, you say “Mama, hold you”. We also referred to your balance bike as your “new bike” when a friend brought it over for us to have. It’s been months and you still call it your “new bike”. We don’t correct you. 
Eating: You love using your step stool and watching us cook. You also like to use your step stool to spy on what’s on the counter. Using your step stool in the kitchen has also tipped you off to the fact that you can use just about anything as a step stool and, as a result, you are a climbing-onto-surfaces-you-shouldn’t-be-on machine these days. And it all started by trying to get you interested in food. What a fail.
I mentioned last month that we brought in an Occupational Therapist to help us out in determining a game plan for dealing with your picky and fussy and annoying behavior at the table. It’s all quite lengthy and I have a separate post in the works dedicated to the details. What I can say is this: Your eating problems are a combination of an overly-involved-anxious-about-how-much-you’re-eating father and a poor role model mother. But don’t go blaming us for the rest of your life, you’re equally difficult and definitely add your own flavor to the pot. We’re working on it, but it’s been a tough and trying road.
Sleeping: We decided to get rid of your second nap. I’m sure most parents would probably find this decision completely crazy, but it was becoming so difficult to do anything during the day. We decided to move your bedtime up to 8:30 (one hour earlier), though that doesn’t always happen. Here’s your schedule, most days: wake up around 8:30am, nap from 11:00am to 2:00pm (sometimes even 3:00pm), go to bed around 8:30pm. You still nap in your playpen because we don’t fix what ain’t broken. You spend the night in your bed. We added a safety knob on your door that prevents you from opening your own door, something we should have done a few months ago. Development: You clean up after yourself. Not always, of course. But you enjoy collecting trash and bringing it to the trash can in the kitchen. You usually clap for yourself after you’re done and say, “yeah guys”. By the same token, I had read somewhere that if your child makes a mess you should have them help clean it up to, you know, learn about consequences. The problem for us is that you like cleaning it up almost as much as you like making it. In fact, sometimes I’m convinced you spill your milk just to be able to clean it up.
You learn things fast and only need to be told something once before you’re repeating it. We were looking at a motorcycle parked in the parking lot, for example, and you pointed to the helmet and said, “hat”. I corrected you and told you all about helmets. The next time you saw a helmet, you knew what it was.
You love pointing out “men”. Whether we’re driving in the car or sitting in a restaurant, if a stranger catches your eye and he’s male, you point and say, “man”. You recently learned that in addition to men, there are also women. And now you like pointing them out too.
Now, when we ask you “how many”, the answer – no matter what- is three. It was two for a long time, but three has taken two’s place.
We finally brought you a scooter. You switch off between leading with your left versus right and enjoy riding it down the hallway. You haven’t taken off, so to say, but you definitely enjoy it. You like watching me ride it too and, truth be told, I take it for a spin around the house after you go to bed and I’ve had a glass or two of wine. Don’t judge.
You have a new found concept of being tall and like to climb onto higher surfaces and describe yourself as “tall”.
You insist on looking at the poop in your diaper. As soon as I take your diaper off, you wave your arms violently in the air and yell “see ka ka, see ka ka” until I show you what came out of your butt. You also like to look at Van’s poop. It’s weird.
You’re a dancing machine as of late. Your form of dancing used to be very white boy-ish, with flapping elbows that looked more like a drunk man doing the chicken dance. But lately, you’re starting to shake those hips and I’m starting to wonder to think you may have some soul dancing through your blood.
You associate all things that are leaving or gone with going home. You point out the planes, for example, and proclaim “home”. When the Easter eggs were all gone, you proclaimed they too had gone “home”. In general, when I tell you things are all gone, you take it one step further and ask if they’ve gone “home”.
You’re potty trained at home. The reason you wear a diaper out in public is my fault. I haven’t taken the plunge. We’ll get there soon.
Favorites: You love motorcycles. You still call them “da!” but occasionally you pronounce the whole word. Each time you spot one parked in the street, we have to stop. You could stand there and stare all day long; no matter how much time we spend admiring it, it’s never long enough. In fact, when you were sleep deprived in Palm Springs you threw a tantrum and threw yourself down on the curb and refused to leave the motorcycles side. It was a long day and needless to say, we all learned that it’s not smart to skip nap times. You also still love your cars and play with them on a daily basis. You go through spurts of loving books and want to read the same one over and over until that book “mysteriously” disappears. You could play in the car for hours. Every now and again we drive down the street with you on our lap. You like to wave to all the neighbors and yell “hi-yee” at the top of your lungs.

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A portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, in 2013.
“Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me”. -Albert Schweitzer
You can check out other posts in the series here.

Mamas Corner

Wearing: vintage dress from one of my girl crushes Lyndzee who opened up an instagram shop, @thriftarchaeology, to sell some of her vintage finds. I never argue with a breastfeeding friendly dress. It’s super comfy too. She updates her shop often, so be sure to follow along. I’m in love with my new-to-be woven purse, a recent thrift find.
Speaking of woven purses, I’m in love with this onethis one, and this one.
Joy, photographer and mama to four beautiful children, will be hitting the road with her family soon. Their trailer is all kinds of crazy cool. They’re having an estate sale to sell many of their belongings and she just so happens to live a hop skip and jump away so you better believe I’ll be attending.
Realized that when anyone asks, “Where did Van go”, he will be associated with Vincent Van Gogh. Hash tag: the things you don’t think of when you name your kid.
I replied to most of the comments on the Preschool Debate post. Thank you to all who shared their opinions. I think we’ll wait until at least 3 to start Hoop in preschool.
Family time: Willy took three days off of work to spend with us and it was heavenly. We went to the zoo the first day, the science center to see the Endeavour the next day, and then to the beach on the last day. I’ll post pics soon.
Love this quote: Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.
I got in the car to go to work the other day and as soon as I put the keys in the ignition, my hazard lights started blinking. I turned them off only to find that my left turn signal was on. Then I realized it sounded like I was in a wind tunnel; my air was on full blast. It’s the little things my little munchkins do that I find at a later time, when they aren’t present, that makes me miss them so. I wanted to run back in the house and squeeze the butt of that little sleeping toddler until it bordered on abuse. But off to work I went.
This video has me thinking two things: 1. This mom is all kinds of the mom I want to be and 2. I can’t wait to take my kids to the dentist.
Have you heard of Spilled Milk? It’s a photography blog that features 18 different photographers. Each week they follow a new theme. It’s absolutely lovely and features one of my favorites, Oana Befort. I’m still following along with the You Are My Wild project which, in my opinion, knocked it out of the park last week.
Listening to Bon Iver. So, so beautiful.

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The Ranchero

I talk about Janet a lot here on my blog. It’s hard not to. She’s my best friend.
Would you believe that we went to the same high school and weren’t even friends? It’s funny how people come back around and weave their way into your life somewhere down the line, at a more appropriate time (as a side note to that, Willy and I met in college and were friends but didn’t go on a first date until years later after we had both graduated).
In any event, I have random memories from my high school days where Janet was present. At our school, you had to apply for a parking spot. They were limited and went to seniors before juniors. If you were late to apply, you were SOL. Janet and I were both in the SOL club. She drove an old Ranchero and I drove an old turbo diesel Mercedes. And we both parked on the street.
I got my first parking ticket there on that street. It was for parking in front of the fire hydrent; something I claimed to not know was illegal when I brought the ticket home to my parents. Those were the day I drove with the sun roof always open and had Tom Petty or The Beastie Boys in my tape deck.
I digress.
I knew little of Janet, but I can still picture walking out to our cars, outside the school gates, after the last school bell rang. She’d drive away in her Ranchero, me in my Mercedes.
Janet came to visit the other day and I met her at her parent’s house. And there, in the driveway, sat the old busted Ranchero. It sat there like a trophy from our past, a reminder when we walked side by side but didn’t know each other.
I had my camera, because I always have my camera, and insisted on photographing her and her little daughter in that Ranchero.
When I look at that photo of her beautiful daughter behind the wheel of that clunker, I’m reminded that life unravels in so many awesome ways.

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Preschool, Hash Tag: Question Mark.

I’ve been asked a lot as of late when I’m going to put Hooper in preschool. I never thought it would be a difficult question to answer, but as it turns out, I find myself stumbling on my words each time I’m asked. It may be easy for me to complain about dealing with his terrible two shenanigans, but it’s hard for me to imagine not having him around… not even for a few hours. Not to mention that, because of his birthday, he won’t be in Kindergarden until he’s 6. This means he’ll be in preschool for FOUR years. That’s a long time. And a lot of money. Cue the megaphone: Preschool ain’t cheap people. Willy and I have a great schedule right now, so preschool would be for learning, not daycare. It’s hard for me to justify spending all that money to teach him things he’ll inevitably learn in due time. Rather than sound like a bipolar lunatic, I figured I’d outline my pros and cons. Here we go:
-Socialization. I can’t argue with this one. Being around other children is always a good thing. Learning things like sharing and controlling your emotions and all that other ish is important stuff. It’s stuff I cannot teach as effectively at home.
-Mama time. Oh how I’ve longed for some good ol’ quality time by myself. I’ve always considered myself an extrovert, but as I’ve gotten older I think that label was made in comparison to my sister who had periods of ubber introvertedness (I know, not a word, whatevs). In actuality, I think I live on the boarder of introvert and extrovert. But lately, I’ve just wanted to sit by my lonesome and enjoy some good ol’ ME time.
-Learning. Duh, this one is a given.
-Cost. I can’t believe how much preschool costs. It’s mind-blowing, really.
-Naps. Hooper still naps a solid 4-5 hours a day. I know, I know, I’m so lucky. I ain’t payin’ for him to nap somewhere else.
-Sniffles. Not sure I’m ready for all the germs he’s bound to bring home.
-Routine. I like structure, to a degree. But at some point, when there’s too much of it, each week starts to feel like a blueprint from the one before. That’s one reason I love my profession; as a nurse, my schedule is always different. No week ever feels like the one prior. Throw preschool into the mix and with it comes a schedule. It makes me cringe.
When did you start your child in preschool? What are your pros and cons and how did you come to a decision?

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Hooper & Van

Dear Hooper & Van,
We’ve been working a lot on positive reinforcement lately to subdue otherwise torrential toddler behavior. And it’s worked wonders for your behavior, Hooper. The other day, in fact, you were kind enough to share several of your toy cars with Van. This event occurred unprompted which, of course, is always the goal. Van, you always love when Hooper brings you a toy; you stare wildly into his eyes, eager to be a part of his world. To reinforce this behavior, I gave you both a treat.
Later in the day, Hooper, you proceeded once again to be kind with your brother. You gave him your toy and patted him very gently on the head. Then you looked at me, raised your eyebrows with your chin high up in the air, pointed your index finger up to the sky in true Hooper fashion and asked, “Treat?”.
Hooper, I’m not sure what you love more: your brother or Gerber puffs.
I love you boys.

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A portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, in 2013.
I heard this quote from comedian Patton Oswalt the other day on the radio, in reference to the bombing at the Boston Marathon. When things like this happen, when evil shows it’s reckless ways, Willy and I wonder about this world we’ve brought our two lovely children into. I’ve heard people that do not have children of their own question whether having children is a good idea, given the nastiness we live in at times. My desire to mother children superseded any debate about not to do so, but now that I have two children to protect and teach, the ugliness in the world weighs more heavily on me. It’s one more thing that we, as parents, have no control over.
In any case, Patton Oswalt’s words were just what I needed to hear and I wanted to share his words here for anyone that has yet to hear what he had to say.
“I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, ‘Well, I’ve had it with humanity.’ But I was wrong,” Patton wrote. “I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here’s what I DO know”, he continued. “If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out.
The vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.'”
When I look at this picture of Willy and Van, it’s difficult to comprehend the realities present outside of this little home of ours. This picture reminds me not of what we cannot accomplish as parents, but what we can: love, respect, humor.
Patton Oswalt’s words are undeniably powerful and true. In times where we struggle to make sense of it all and in a world where evil undeniably exists, we’re going to teach our children to be the white blood cells.
You can check out other posts in the series here.

Style de Hooper

I was wondering when the neon-goodness from the 80’s would make a return and I think it’s damn near time. This tank from Hello Apparel is all kinds of comfy (printed on an American Apparel tank). I bought Hooper the size 4. Hello Apparel is currently having a crazy sale and everything’s going fast. The leggings are from Mason and the Tambourine, which is quickly becoming my new favorite. These leggings are so soft and stretchy. I bought Hooper a size 3. I’m hoping they last a while cuz I’m not ready to put
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them on the shelf anytime soon. You can find Converse here.

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The Terrible Twos

My son is bipolar. Not literally but more in the sense that all toddlers are bipolar. He’ll raise his hand to hit me one minute and the next minute he’ll stroke my arm as if to say, “I love you, mom”. He’s experimenting, I get it.
One of the most important things in caring for a toddler, I’ve learned, has been to care for myself. The more rested and hydrated and fed and groomed I am, the more patience I have. On the days I don’t have time to shower or even change out of my pajamas, where I’m exhausted from Van waking me in the middle of the night (a rare occurrence as of late, thank goodness), and where feeding myself becomes tertiary to feeding the two little birds waiting for me to drop a worm into their mouths, I’m not as good of a mom as I know I can be. I’m sure every mom would agree with this. It goes without saying that the more rested and more prepared we are, the better we are at, well, everything.
Back to Hooper being bipolar. This kid flips between hitting and kissing like a ping pong ball in play on a Japanese table tennis court. The other day he raised his hand toward my head to stroke my hair and I scared him when I flinched, expecting to be smacked. Instead, I got a slobbery hand caressing my newly washed hair. It’s inconsistent, to say the least, but it’s nice to say that I’m not always the victim of abuse.
We’re working hard this week on positive reinforcement and rewarding “normal” behavior.
What’s working with your toddler this week?

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Mama's Corner

Wearing: Top is Free People (an oldie but goodie), shorts from Modcloth, sandals from Topshop. My purse is vintage Dooney & Bourke (compliments of my MIL).
Dreaming: Willy’s mentioned a few times that he’d like to go somewhere in the near future. For us, “go somewhere” involves a passport. I spent much of my early adult years exploring this great world of ours and when Willy and I started dating, I took him along for the ride. My hope at the time was that I would plant a seed for later adventures, and alas, that seed has sprouted. We’re talking about returning to Cuba because it was *incredible* the first time. I’d like to frolic around Havana in this dress. Now who wants to buy it for me?
Check out, Aisle three: There was a time I thought of getting a barcode tattoo. It was fleeting. Nevertheless, when I saw this shirt, it reminded me of that thought. All my thoughts about tattooes are fleeting. That’s why I don’t have any.
Lookout, Pauly Shore: Did you know they created a Biosphere in Arizona? I haven’t been, but I know Willy would LOVE to go. He’s into that science shit. It looks pretty amazing.
Sleep is for losers: Fellow mommy blogger Sisilia welcomed baby Zoe and Little fox was also born.
Saw this beautiful rug last week when I made my way through Target. Wishing I had a room to put it in.
Please welcome: I have a new sponsor and I’m totally smitten with their stuff. I’m such a sucker for a good romper. True story: I have countless rompers that I’ve put on the boys’ that Willy has vetoed because he says they’re too girly. I’ve handed them on to friends with little girls. But this romper is making my ovaries throw out more eggs than the Easter bunny.
Loved this post from Naomi. I think every mom out there can relate. Reminds me of this post I wrote. Why do we scrutinize each other?
Bad mom award goes to…. drum roll… muah. I locked Hooper in the car, with my phone and keys, after his gym class. I called the tow company but when the sweat beads started making waterfalls down his poor pink cheeks, I called the fire department. It was the worst part of my day, but at the very least, Hooper was pretty stoked to see the fire truck up close and personal (as a side note, there’s nothing like watching four big burley guys work together to get a locked door open only to be shown up by the pip-squeak of the AAA guy who, alone, opened the door with his little tool thing in seconds flat). Before this happened, Van knocked over our full length mirror and managed to cut himself on one of the thousand pieces of glass that was on the floor. Does that mean I get the bad mom award seven years in a row? If so, that sucks.
Life just got harder: Van’s crawling.
A moment: Thinking of those in Boston with a heavy heart.

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Eye On the Prize

I couldn’t wait for Hooper to crawl. We’d do little exercises to help him gain strength and put things in front of him to try to build his desire. Crawling is nothing but something to brag about for a first time mom. You have all the time in the world to dote on them and follow them around to make sure they aren’t getting into something they shouldn’t be. Go figure why first borns are typically the overachievers and pleasers.
With Van, I gave thanks for everyday he stayed put on his bottom. When he started to show desire, I’d put him on his back and hand him a toy. Crawling, for a second time mom, is a nuisance.
Here’s a recap of the past few days in the life of Van:
-He broke our full length mirror and cut his finger in the process. I bought a new one the same day (because, hello, a full length mirror can be life altering) and he almost broke it again the next day. The definition of an idiot, by the way, is someone who does the same thing more than once but expects a different outcome. And with that said, my chin has dropped down to my chest.
-He put a pebble of dog food in his mouth that I had to fish out and then he threw a fit about it (And let me just say, I’m glad Sarah isn’t old and crotchety yet because she’s gotten an excessive amount of abuse from this newly mobile creature).
-He got a hold of a glass jar of food and mimicked his brother who “accidentally” dropped one on the floor. Glass everywhere, again.
-He pulled the potted plant down on the floor and then tried to eat the dirt that spilled everywhere. This happened while I was washing the dishes, during which time I had relocated him four times away from the plants only to discover he was, in fact, more determined than me because somewhere between washing, drying, and putting away he used his new found super-speed to get there faster than me. Reminds me of this oldie but goodie post of when Hooper started getting into shit.
-He discovered the trashcan in the bathroom has a flip top and that he likes it and everything inside it.
I knew crawling would mean more work for me, hence my dedication to prolonging it. Boy does my back hurt. On the flip side, it is awfully cute to watch him scoot around. He’s adopted his own scoot, where his right leg stays tucked in (like in the butterfly position – see pic above) and he pushes with his left leg. He’s able to entertain himself for longer and he’s also napping longer now that he’s exerting more energy. Oh ya, and he’s pretty happy with himself too. So, as is with everything in motherhood, there’s good with the bad.

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A portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, in 2013.
We share such a deep love for our boys. When I look at this photo, I see a tired Hooper- blanket in hand, fingers in mouth- and a father who not only welcomes his sons vulnerability, but understands that holding his small body in his arms is a privilege. Every time I hold either of my boys in my arms, I feel grateful. There really is no love like the love of a parent for their children.
One of my favorites from last week was Rebekka, who is photographing a different person each week. I suggest checking out her blog as well, as it is simply beautiful and wonderfully inspiring. I love the way this project has brought many different bloggers and photographers together. There are so many talented and inspiring people out there.
You can check out other posts in the series here.

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A Tour

I’ve been promising this room tour for some time now and you know what finally kicked my ass in to gear? The thought of changing it. Willy and I are constantly changing things around the house and with the plethora of toys that seem to be taking over our home like the ivy has taken over the backyard, I’ve begun dreaming of putting the boys in the same room and designating the spare bedroom as a play room (AKA Shove all the kids shit into one room room. Yes, I meant room room). I digress.
This is Hooper’s room, as it appears today. I had to include a couple old (and by two year old standards, old means like 6 months ago) pics of Hoop playing in his room. There aren’t many pics of Hoop actually in his room because he hardly ever plays in there and because Willy insists on draping two sheets over the windows to fool him into sleeping longer, making it a f’n hassle to take any photos. I digress, again.
Most of what’s in his room was either mine as a child or purchased second hand from thrift stores, consignment shops, or flea markets. For the sake of clarification, we did not name him after the Burt Reynold’s movie, but that is a pretty cool print, no? Sure makes me want to change my name to Hooper so I can fly cars over large bodies of water. The book shelves on the wall are actually spice racks that I painted from Ikea (they cost a mere 5 bucks or something ridiculously cheap… for both of them). The bed and vintage school desk are both from a local flea market. The dresser is from a consignment shop in Big Bear. Almost all the toys and decorations, like the Norman Rockwell prints, were things my mom saved from my childhood. I still, believe it or not, have a few things I need/want to do before it’s finally considered finished in my book; like adding this wonderful illustration that Sarah Dyer did along with a few other odds n’ ends.
But for now, there you have it: Hooper’s room. Ta- freakin’ -da.

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Etsy Love

I came across these gems on Etsy and am so smitten. Every now and again I come across something cute and am inspired to completely re-do the kid’s rooms. Guess I’ll just keep having kids to place in the rooms I’m envisioning. Oh I make myself chuckle. Anyway, they are from etsy seller Violet May.
Speaking of kids rooms… I have a tour of Hooper’s room planned for tomorrow. I keep my promises… even if I take my sweet ass time.

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Palm Springs, Part 1

I always imagined Palm Springs to be a ridiculously hip desert hideaway with sprawling mid-century homes and wall after wall begging to have you stand in front of it for a picture. Not to say I was wrong, the mid-century homes are definitely there; hiding beneath the surface like the pocket of your pants. But Palm Springs is also… weird, for lack of better words. I told Willy it reminded me of the wheelers from the Wizard of Oz; partly abandoned with an eerie mix of dessert wanderers, tourists, retired old folk, homeless, and prostitutes.
Willy’s been having to go often for work and we tag along when we can. Translation: We spend a lot of time in random hotels jumping on furniture.
Part 2 is coming your way tomorrow.

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Van @ 8 Months

Growth & Appearance: You’re growing fast. Like, really fast. You’re incredibly long, longer than some babies much older than you. You have the perfect amount of chubs around your belly button and I’m often pinching the chubs around your thighs while grinning my teeth. I call this love abuse because I’m sure it hurts from time to time, but you’re so dang cute I just can help myself. It’s like saying you’re so cute I could eat you, only I take a little nibble. It’s whatevs.
Your hair is getting lighter. Because your newborn hair completely fell out in certain areas, the hairs on the back of your head are significantly longer and stick up like weeds in a freshly mowed field of grass. And when the wind blows, they sway like little flowers and move with the breeze. You hair is soft and everyone around here enjoys rubbing your little fuzz head, including your brother.
We’re finishing out the size 3 diapers, but you’re clearly better off in size 4. This means you wear the same size diaper as your brother, for the record. Pajamas are size 18 months, soon to be 2T.
Still no teeth, but not to worry, you could probably chew gum with your gums.
Eating: You love feeding yourself (I wrote about our decision to go the baby led weaning route here). You typically eat 2 meals a day, but I leave this totally up to you. Some days you don’t want breakfast and I don’t push it, confident that what you’re getting from breastfeeding is all you really need anyway. What you don’t eat in the morning, you make up for in the evening. You typically eat a large amount in the evening and it normally comes from our own plates. You’ve tried just about everything: chicken, fish, pastas, rice, and loads of various fruits and vegetables. There isn’t anything you haven’t liked thus far, though I should note that you definitely have a preference as to how you are fed. Regardless if you love the food, you do not like when I try to give it to you via a spoon. Things like yogurt are very tough to feed you because you want complete control over everything that goes in your mouth. More power to you. I’m just not sure how to get certain things in, given the fact you don’t have the dexterity to use proper utensils. In any case, we’re really enjoying the baby led weaning process.
I’m still breastfeeding you around 9x/day. It feels like a lot, but it’s on demand and I refuse to feed you any other way. With that said, it’s all very predictable and we have a nice routine that looks something like this: Breastfeed twice in the morning before breakfast and then once before your morning nap, then breastfeed twice before lunch and then once before your afternoon nap, then breastfeed twice before dinner and then once before bed. The amount of milk I’ve been donating has slowed, as I’m starting to stock up in anticipation of my supply lessening as it did with Hooper around the 10th month mark. 
Sleeping: You’re sleeping consistently through the night and I’ve nearly forgotten the zombie I once was. Selective memory, I suppose. You’re sleeping about 10 hours at night, going down around 9pm and waking around 7am. You typically nap in the morning for 2 hours and again in the evening for 2 hours. The naps are more inconsistent; you always take one, but it’s hard to know how long they’re going to last.
You always sleep on your back, as you’re not much of a roller. You maneuver your way around your crib, but I always find you on your back.
Nursing puts you to sleep most nights, but occasionally you’re still awake after your nighttime feed. Nevertheless, you tend to drift off to sleep on your own with ease.
Development: Just after your seventh month, you became able to hold yourself up in a standing position. You often reach for my hands to use as support and pull yourself up to a standing position. This is typically your way of macgyvering your way into my arms, which is where you typically prefer to be. Your able to hold yourself up in a standing position if I give you something to hold on to.
You’re not crawling yet, despite your obvious desire to. I’m torn between wanting you to crawl in hopes it brings more independence and not wanting you to crawl because, lets face it, it’s more work for me. You reach out often from a sitting position and nearly make it on to all fours before you plop back down on your bottom. You’re able to rotate a full 360 degrees in the sitting position and can get just about anything within a couple foot radius by scooting.
You appear to be right handed. You consistently put food in your mouth using your right hand. Your pincer grasp is much more efficient and you’re able to pick up small crumbs off the table.
You have a friendly disposition and you love to laugh. Sometimes I hear you laughing in your carseat and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out what’s making you giggle. You’re fine going from one person to the next so long as I’m not in sight.
You’ve started gibber jabbering and say “Da” and “Ma”.
You love music. You rock back and forth violently when it’s playing and just recently you started shaking you head back and forth with your chin down toward your chest like you’re back in 1940’s Cuba listening to a man play a trumpet in a darkened music hall. 
Favorites: I’m still your favorite. Not much tops your mama these days. Knowing that it’s fleeting makes me hold on to these days for as long as I can. Your mama’s arms are always open. Taking second place is the electric tooth brush. You’re pretty fond of thing too.

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