19 Months!

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Oh man, where do I even start?! This past month has been epic. Epic! The most amazing parts, off the top of my head:

Singing! So much singing. Molly can sing along with the Alphabet song (“ABC’s”); Wheels on the Bus (“Da Bus!”) Itsy Bitsy Spider (“Isy Bisy”); Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes (She’s got all those words down pat); Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (“Star”); and Old MacDonald (“EIEIO”). Like, actual words peppered throughout the song – in tune! We know what she wants to sing and act out because she makes requests. My personal favorite is watching her make the signs and sing along to Itsy Bitsy Spider, but it really blows my mind when she sings the alphabet.

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“Mama’s hat”

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What a ham!

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Happy girl

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Ice cream

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Hummus. Her father’s daughter.

Bed! Okay, so, I read an article about how switching to a “big kid bed” could be a huge transition for kids, and with allll the other changes coming up shortly (future blog post coming, when details have settled a bit) I was in no hurry to transition her. But, our girl decided differently. Ever since we got home from our trip back east, she has basically been putting herself to bed – no crying, no fussing – and started trying to climb into bed at night. She would also get upset if one of her animals had fallen out or was in the crib and she couldn’t get to it, so we decided to give the toddler bed a try and see how it went. Well, the very first night, Molly climbed right in, and thunk – asleep! Not a peep. It’s been about a week now and the new routine is PJs, brush teeth, stories, and then, okay, Molly, bedtime! As long as she has all the right animals and a cup of water, she literally puts herself to bed (burrowed in a multitude of stuffed animals). It is amazing. And the best part is, when she wakes up from a nap or in the morning, we’ve started leaving her door open and she comes right out and greets us, a cat tucked under each arm, saying, Hello Mama! Hello Dada! Seriously awesome.

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Toddler bed: night 1

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She woke up happy!

Cats! Speaking of cats (of the non-stuffed variety), after four months of keeping a loving and watchful eye on them, our friends Sophia and Jon left for a 3-week trip and we all decided it was best to bring our cats home. Again, I was worried about transitions, and knowing cats are creatures of habit, was thinking that it would be a lot for them to move home and then move again (also, this whole moving process was not supposed to take this long – but that’s another post for another day). Anyway, the cats came home, and are completely happy to be here (I mean, as happy as cats ever are about anything – content, at least) – but Molly is so happy they’re home. Every single time she sees one she runs, arms outstretched, chasing them around the house, saying, “Niiiiice, kitty.” They are not her biggest fans and Molly gets her feelings hurt once in awhile, but I keep telling them all that in another year or two they’re all going to be best of friends. Anyway, it’s nice to have the furbabies back home and it’s hilarious watching Molly chase after them.

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“Mama’s shoes”

Partys! My Nana (Molly’s G’Nana) turned 95 on September 30th and last weekend, my mom and stepdad hosted a big party for her. It’s always amazing to see Molly interact with my Nana, and every time they’re together I think how lucky we all are that they have met. Nana currently has four great grandchildren and another on the way, which is just incredible. My sister and mom changed the words of the song “When I’m 64″ to “When I’m 95″ and my stepdad, Simon, Lee, Dan, and our cousin Noah had a band set up with the whole room singing to her (followed by Wheels on the Bus because, of course), and it was so sweet. The party was super fun (although Molly was a little overwhelmed by all the people and kept searching out familiar faces) and Molly got a chance to hang out with her cousin Justin, who is just about exactly a year older than her. I don’t often get a chance to watch her around other kids so it was really fun to see them interact.

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Four generations of crazy bananas

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My ladies

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Our family, coming soon to a holiday card near you.

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Me and my girl, and her cat.

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Molly loves her Aunt Cheese

And speaking of cousins, Molly has a brand new one! Kayden Bernie, born on 9/10. I can’t believe Molly was ever that small…

At Molly’s 18-month appointment last week (she was technically 18 months and 30 days, so we were sort of almost on time!) her pediatrician said she was developmentally off-the-charts, which, I mean, yes. Apparently 18 month olds are supposed to have like 10 words? Lee thinks she has close to 100. She knows all her major body parts, animals, colors, a bunch of prepositions (our favorite is “outside!), verbs (“hop hop hop”), food, and on and on, including some randoms (moustache! applesauce!) and a bunch of Portuguese thrown in for good measure. Of course, as her pediatrician was telling us that she’s advanced, Molly was climbing backwards up the exam table like a little monkey and flinging herself down, prompting me to say, if she falls and breaks a bone at your office, does it count? She is a little parrot, repeating everything we say (swear jar has been started), or at least trying to. It’s like all of a sudden she’s gone from a cute, funny toddler to a person. This age is so fascinating and exciting and I’m trying to simultaneously encourage her and capture every moment, because it’s right, what they say about parenthood – it just goes by too fast.

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(Just a few) other snaps from the month:

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I kiss her cheeks a lot

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New books…she can say “big sister”

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Not in the mood, Mama.

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Pumpkin picking with Josi

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Two pumpkins in a pod (patch?)

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Family trip to Yosemite! Forgot to write about this…oh well.

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Molly was unimpressed when we told her we had hiked Half Dome.

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“Big tree!”

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Hiking in Yosemite

18 Month Post

18 months! I know I say this every month but this past one has really been my favorite stage. Molly is on the brink of some major cognitive development because she comes up with 2-3 new words every day, tiptoes forwards and backwards, hops like a bunny, counts 1-2-3 and knows a mind-blowing number of letters. She has also started stringing words together to make simple sentences (“Up, Mama,” “round and round,” “all through the town,” and the particularly cringe-worthy – yet impressive – “No Book! Watch Elmo!”), makes up games to play (tonight it was 1-2-3, fling yourself onto a pile of pillows), and she sings! She sings la-la-la-la-la and looks to me and I put words to the la-la-la’s and the two of us are just a regular jam band. I am constantly singing to myself so the fact that she has picked up this trait is beyond delightful to me (I’m sure Lee feels just as happy to have two crazies singing to themselves all the time). She says “I love you tooooooo” and when I say, Molly, who loves you? She whispers “Mama” and gives me a big grin. How right you are, my sweet girl. How right you are.

Another interesting and timely development this month has been Molly’s sudden affinity for all things baby.  She now owns more stuffed animals than I can count, including four dolls (and one pink penguin…not my doing, but you can’t win them all), one of which she has named Mimi (short for Menina, which is Portuguese for girl), and at least two of which are tucked under her arm at any given moment. After she pointed to the printed sonogram photo on our fridge and asked “this?” I told her, “That’s going to be your baby sister. She’s growing in my belly.” Molly responded by patting my belly and saying “baby!” I don’t think she can fully comprehend pregnancy (I mean, I don’t even fully comprehend pregnancy, and I’m almost 32) but she is (not always, but) often a bit cautious of my belly, these days. I think suddenly wanting baby dolls is more of a developmental stage than anticipation of the baby coming, but it’s still nice to see her be gentle and give her baby dolls hugs and kisses.

We have packed so much into this month, including a visit with cousins Linda, Nina, Zach, and Kyle, a trip to see Nana Sandy, Grand-Nana Ruth, and Grandpa Erling, and our annual, epic, whirlwind of a college reunion trip back east, where we even got to see Susie & Rich, Tyler, Liz, and Sebastian on a last-minute detour. This year we rented two houses in upstate New York, since we decided that it wasn’t really fair of us to pack 14 adults and 7 children into Kristin and Mike’s house. The houses were right next to each other and had a huge yard, tennis court, and a pool, which was perfect for all the kids and adults. Every year there are more and more kids and every year Labor Day is one of my best weekends. There is just something so special about spending time doing nothing except for laughing, eating, and catching up with old friends – and watching our kids run around together makes me feel all the feels. Old friends really are the best friends.

We also currently have Papa Marc and Nana Laurie (formerly known as Glamma before Molly decided no, she is in fact Nana) in town, where they are acting as our nannies du jour while Josi is away on vacation for the week. Today is day four of their visit but day two of being full-time caregivers and as much fun as everyone is having, they did seem a bit tired tonight…perhaps a vacation from this vacation is in order!

Snaps from this month:

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Toddlerhood is exhausting.

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Air travel is also exhausting.

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Storytime with Auntie Mattea

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Driving in cars with boys

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Pool time!

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Lee looks *very* comfortable with two girls :)

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Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays.

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Saying, “Whee!”

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I feel you, girl.

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Petting a starfish!

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Epic fish impersonation.

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Party time

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Fun with cousin Zach


Chooch and Mooch


All the babies!


Molly and Connor comparing the terroir of their milk


Best friends. Babies. Babies of best friends. Best.

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Sian’s boys love Molly and she loves them right back!


17 months

Welp, we have a toddler on our hands – and let me tell you, there are no emotions like those of a 17-month old. The other night Lee took grumpy cat away from Molly so she wouldn’t get dinner on him and the look of combined rage and anguish on her face is not one I’ll soon forget.  In what was not my proudest moment of parenting, I giggled at her for about ten minutes as she wailed, tears running down her face, even after Lee gave her back grumpy cat; even after he explained why he had taken him away in the first place; even after he picked her up, put her down, and picked her back up again; even as I held her and rocked her to calm us both down. Sometimes, when your 17-month old is screaming bloody murder and can’t communicate why exactly she’s so upset, you just have to laugh.

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So many emotions!

Even if she is getting slightly more, shall we say, expressive, Molly continues to be the funniest, sweetest, smartest and most interesting little girl I’ve ever met. She is super affectionate, giving big hugs and kisses and very fondly calling her Aunt Jodie “Cheese!” with a big smile on her face. She’s added about a dozen new words to her repertoire (hands, toes, knees, belly, whale, blue, bow, bowl, ball, bubble, Bibi, purple, shoes, I could go on) in the past few weeks alone, and now says “bye bye” in addition to “hello!” She’s so smart. She blows my mind every day with how smart she is. And so strong. She swings from the monkey bars, climbs up and down stairs, and has a leech-like grip when she’s giving you a hug. And so stubborn. Even now, Lee is in her room with her because she knows that if she says “Dada” in her most pitiful voice he’ll go snuggle her until she falls asleep (Aunt Jodie may have spoiled her there).

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Books. So many books.


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My strong girl

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Who needs a safety swing?

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True story!

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Food shopping, as one does.

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Party girl

Speaking of Aunt Jodie, this month she and Molly got to spend some extra special time together! I had to go to LA for work during the same week that Jodie was planning a visit, so the two of us flew her down to LA while Lee drove (and drove, and drove) our car to meet us there. The two of them spent lots of time at the pool, went to the zoo, the children’s museum, and got lots (emphasis on LOTS) of new clothes (for Molly, that is. Jodie just bought about 13 pairs of sunglasses over the course of the trip).


Selfie on the plane

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At the zoo

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Pool time

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Young Hollywood

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I mean, Molly’s face kind of makes this picture.

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I don’t see it often, but she’s my spitting image when she makes this face.

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After a few days, we left LA and drove up to SLO for more family time with Nana, Grandpa, and Grand-Nana.  There was piano playing, park time, neighborhood walks, mahjong, tomatoes picked fresh from the garden, and family story time. Molly had such a fun vacation and is a very lucky girl to have so many people in her life who love her so (and may spoil her just a little)!

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On a walk with Nana and Grandpa. Molly saw a “beware of mountain lion” sign and immediately got her field guide from the zoo.

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Tomatoes picked fresh from the garden!

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Story time with Aunt Cheese! and G’Nana

Mahjong. Starting her young.

Mahjong. Starting her young.


Her first concerto

When it comes down to it, toddlerhood may be a little more challenging than infancy, but every day, we get hugs and kisses, we get belly laughs, we get so much love, and these moments make up for all of the thrown cups, the tears, the NO NO NO (“não não não”, in Portuguese) – they make up for anything, really. These moments are what makes Molly her brilliant, strong, beautiful self, and what make Lee and I the two luckiest people in the world to be her parents.

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Dezesseis Meses

World Cup fever has come and gone in our household as Molly became Brazil’s biggest fan (after Josie, and after Ulisses, and after a whole bunch of people in Brazil). She was great luck until Brazil had its epic meltdown during Molly’s nap, a clear sign that she was having a bad dream.


Much like Molly Ringwald in “Sixteen Candles,”* our Molly at Sixteen Months is experiencing a new found sea of emotions around growing up. We’ve seen her have attachments.


We’ve seen her get emotional and well up with tears over random things such as “Twinkle Star & Owl” (thanks for finding that out Leah). We’ve seen her showcase her will, usually defiantly.

It’s really amazing to see how much changes in a short month. Between garbled sentences of gibberish there are clear enunciations of HAT, HEAD, TOES, CAT, and BALL. This along with previously mastered HELLO, UP, and APPLE and we’ve got a good communication framework going here, even to the point that we talk about our wishes together.


There have been epic “Flashdance“** parties.



There has been some pretty serious coffee talk.


Even though Molly seems to be entering (e.g. already in) a full-on Mama phase, it’s amazing to watch how fast things change in 4 weeks. I’m expecting a thesis by month 18.

* I fully pat myself on the back for the Molly -> Molly and 16 Candles -> 16 Months reference here. If I’ve learned anything it’s that I can apply the 80s to everything.

** 80s again!

Tagged ,

“She wept when they gave birth to daughters, knowing that to be born a woman meant a life of humble hardship.”

-Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Bullshit, I thought, the first and second and seventeenth and thirtieth time I read the above passage. There’s nothing humble about being a woman. Women are fierce and strong and powerful and can do anything men can do. My parents raised my sister and me to believe this truth, and we married men who believe this truth, and there’s nothing harder or more humbling about being a woman than a man. Maybe in the past; maybe in turn-of-the-20th-century Brooklyn, but not in my lifetime. There’s nothing to fear, having daughters, today.

And yet.

When the ultrasound tech said “it’s a girl” and I said out loud “I KNEW it!” and Lee and I smiled at each other with joy in our eyes, a very quiet voice in my head said to a very small ear tucked into the corner of my heart, “oh.” And that oh bore all of the weight of the universe, contained in the knowledge that I was going to have another girl, and no matter how far we’ve come in equality and feminism and fairness, this girl, this some-day woman, is still going to be born female, and we’ll have not just one but two daughters, and this knowledge puts a weight on my heart that I need to write about.

The honest to God truth is, we live in a world full of men who hate women; of men who think that women are theirs to possess and own and do with what they please, and yes, this happens in America too. We live in a country where Molly and her sister are going to be (and Molly is already) faced with an onslaught of messaging about their looks and their bodies and their weight that can lead even the most confident girls down a path of at best self-doubt and at worst self-harm. We live in a city that is better than most in terms of equality and equity, but where there is still overt sexism allowed, all the time, even here.

Sian says from the day your baby is born a piece of your heart lives outside of your body forever. And now there will be another one – another girl – another daughter – and a part of me thinks, well, if Lee and I and do our job right maybe they’ll band together to create a protective shell around themselves so that all the messaging out there will deflect off of them and they’ll grow into adulthood unscathed, and meet the right kind of partners, and have babies of their own and if those babies are girls then maybe, just maybe, they’ll worry a little less than I do.

And yet.

I walk down the toy aisles at Target and I can’t understand why the girl toys are all pink and the boy toys are all blue. I resisted telling people the gender the first time around because I was wary of the pink clothes, the “Daddy’s Little Princess,” the “Math is Hard“, the multitude of dolls (however, to give credit to the amazing people in our and her lives, we have gotten exactly zero gifts that have made me think, oh no, I won’t be giving her that). I automatically respond with “and smart and strong” when a stranger tells me how beautiful Molly is. She is beautiful, without a doubt. She is so beautiful that sometimes looking at her makes my breath catch in my throat. I so want her to know that she’s beautiful, to instill in her the confidence to look all those negative messages out there about women and girls in the face and, like her mama does, call Bullshit. I just don’t want her to believe that her beauty is where her value lies; and I fear her growing up to believe that her beauty overshadows, or should overshadow, her other qualities.

So there will be two. And Lee and I, and our friends and our families, will try our very best to create safety nets for our girls, to instill in them the belief that they can do anything, be anything; that there are no limits as long as they are willing to work hard enough. We’ll read them stories about strong girls and amazing women and tell them cool things about math and science and engineering. We’ll let them play with dolls and trucks and draw and paint and cook and climb trees and learn about whatever they are interested in. We’ll tell them that they can love whomever they love as long as that person treats them with respect and kindness. We’ll let them know that the only types of princesses we expect them to be are warrior princesses. We’ll tell them they’re beautiful and smart and strong every day. We’ll try our hardest to pick them up when they fall; to cast away the shadows of self-doubt and insecurity and hurt, and if we try really, really hard, maybe they’ll grow up believing in themselves; believing that women are equal; calling bullshit on all the media and the misogyny and the messaging because they know what’s what.

And yet.

My heart. A piece of it lives outside of me now, and in 5 months another piece of it is going to leave my body, and I worry. I worry for my girls. I worry for my daughters. I worry for the women they’ll be, some day. My heart aches and I’m burdened with the weight of it – this humbling hardship of womanhood.



The Post About Gender (*Spoiler Alert*)

15 months!

I’m writing this post while camped out at my cousin’s house, since Molly is napping and our house is currently being shown. Also, my current view is laptop and belly:

Second pregnancies. So much belly so quickly.

Second pregnancies. So much belly, so quickly.

Anyway, on to Molly, our little sponge. Here’s an example of life with MJ this month: we were back east visiting my friend Matt and he asked, “does Molly know any animal noises yet?” Ooh, does she ever. The next 15 minutes consisted of “Molly, what does a dog say?” (“bow wow wow”), what does a cat say?” (“merow”), “what does a snake say?” (“ssssssssss”), and on and on and on (including cows, monkeys, faces for pigs and fish, elephants, and sheep), followed by “what does a car do?” (“vroom, vroom”), and “where’s your nose?” And where are your eyes? And where’s your head?  And now in Portuguese, cade sua boca? cade sua nariz? cade sua cabeça?

Girl is brilliant.

Everything is still very much pointing to “this? this?” because she wants to know what everything is. She’s very curious about the world around her and picks up new nouns almost immediately. She has also been enhancing her vocab – apple (and randomly, applesauce), fish, horse, again, no (that is, no no no no while vehemently shaking her head), yes, ball, all done, Elmo, and, maybe just once, Josi! We are trying (and failing) to be really careful to watch our language around her, now that she is picking up words so quickly. The first time she drops an F bomb I’m totally blaming Lee.

The highlight of the month was a trip back east to see best friends, babies, and Ulisses!  Unfortunately MJ ended the trip by getting the worst cold of her short life, which left her lethargic for days.

So sleepy

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Trust me, I’m tired too.

But otherwise, the trip was so fun. There were SO many babies and I really do think that there’s something extra special about meeting the babies of college friends; friends who you’ve grown up with and shared incredible experiences with and now you get to meet their children and watch your kids and theirs interact. When I wasn’t squealing with joy and taking 1,000 pictures I was basically choking back happy tears.  First up, Lilly!  Matt and Amanda’s daughter is the cutest 5-month old and unfortunately I don’t seem to have any pictures of her (probably because Molly was *not* having either Lee or me holding her for one minute. I thought she was too young for jealousy) so you’ll have to settle for her playing in a sprinkler with other kids. And yes, she was naked. California kid, what can I say?


Oh, and she also experienced her first boat ride! Followed immediately by her first popcorn. Not sure which she was more enthusiastic about but likely the popcorn.


I’m on a boat!

Post ride snack

Post ride snack

Next up, Sian and Jimmy and their three kids, James, Charlie, and Francesca! I was especially excited to meet Francesca since she and Molly are exactly two months apart and I was so curious to see what I had to look forward to come July (babies change quickly!). Molly had an absolutely fantastic time with all of the kids and they loved her right back!

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James and Molly

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Jimmy with the girls

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Bath time!

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I think Charlie wins the “who does Molly have the biggest crush on?” contest

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Already up to trouble, these two ;)


Best babies!

And then, after a whirlwind day at the Baltimore Zoo and lots of fun with babies, we got to see Ulisses! And meet his mama!! And his nana and aunt – so basically we didn’t see Molly once we got to his house :)


Best buds


Familia brasileira de Molly

Familia brasileira de Molly


Still the best manny ever <3

Even with the dire illness, it was a great trip and we are so lucky to have all of these fantastic people in our lives.  All of them. The best.

Some other snaps from this month:  kicking it with Josi, Sesame Street Live, and general MJ awesomeness.

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Air travel. Fun for everyone.

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Water baby

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Checking out the elephants at the Baltimore Zoo

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I will hug and kiss this pole.

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Sesame Street Live. Obviously Lee is the most excited.


Being fierce with Josi



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Pigtails! Thanks to Auntie Sian

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Say cheese!

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All smiles

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Oversize sunnies, very Hollywood

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Ball pit action shot


A Pause Between Changes. One Might Even Call it a Pregnant Pause, if One Were so Inclined.

“We make plans, and God laughs.”

So says my dad, via Woody Allen, via an old Yiddish proverb.

We had plans.

The plan was for Lee and I to start trying for our second baby next summer, during our fabulous 10-year wedding anniversary vacation which was going to be a river cruise from Bucharest to Budapest. That plan would have put Molly and her sibling at 3+ years apart, which, we decided, was a great age gap.

The plan was for us to pay down our mortgage for another year or two and then sell and move to a bigger place, once the second baby came along.

The plan was for Molly to be a big cousin before she was a big sister.

The plan was for me to be in my new job for more than a year and 1/2 (minus a maternity leave); to spend some time focusing on finding and maintaining the balance between having a career and having a family.

The plan was for Lee’s business to really take off before we made any major life changes.

The plan was to give us some more time; time with Molly and time with each other, to continue to navigate this rocky road of introducing a third person into our family and onto our team.

We had plans.

And then, just a few days after Molly’s very first birthday, all the plans stood still.  And I swear to you, when I looked at that pregnancy test, locked in a stall in the Ferry Building, that I heard a chuckle, from somewhere up there in the heavens, along with a voice that sounded unquestionably like it was saying “so much for your plans, you sweet, innocent idiot.”

We tried so hard for Molly. We tried for almost two years before I got pregnant. We tried and tried and I remember having this same feeling, that I had no control; that what was going to happen was going to happen no matter how hard I willed it or wanted it.

I should have learned then, that planning is all well and good until life unfolds the way it’s going to anyway.

These days, our plans are logistical – what will we do with the cats while our house is on the market? Who can babysit Molly during open house time, which is also her nap time? How are we ever going to come up with enough money to cover moving costs, let alone a down payment, let alone taxes on a bigger house, let alone childcare for two kids? What neighborhood do we want to live in (and where can we afford)? Is a backyard or a third bedroom more important to us?

And then there is the bigger question: How are we going to manage with two kids under two? What’s our plan?

We have until mid-November to come up with, if not a plan, at least a map. And it will undoubtedly be a map peppered with twists and turns and roadblocks and hurdles because that’s the beauty and the terribleness of living, isn’t it?

Lee and I are lucky – so lucky – to be bringing a second life into the world. We’re giving Molly a sibling, a little brother or sister whom she’ll never remember what life was like not knowing. And we’re so, so, so very blessed by that. So unbelievably blessed that sometimes I can’t believe it, because it all feels so random and doesn’t make any sense and why? Why us? Why now? This pregnancy was not in the plans!

And when I find myself caught in this spiralling line of questioning, it’s then that I hear that voice again, that booming, resonating voice, saying, “quiet, child…you’re not the one calling the shots here, after all.”


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14 months in the ‘ole ’14


14 months…. toddler time all the way. The last month has been an epic leap from babyland to mini human (or toddler). Running, jumping, climbing, more climbing, falling, more falling, but never crawling, Molly is in full locomotion. Singing, screaming, chatting, “bow wow wow”, “apples!”, “UP DOWN”, “Elmo!”, Molly is also in full vocab expansion mode. At first I thought she was merely parroting sounds but she absolutely knows that when you point at an apple one should declare “ABBLE!” This also means it’s now time for the adults to watch the potty mouth around the house. Swear jar here we come!

One thing that has been not so epic is that Molly seems to have regressed in sleeping habits. I don’t really feel like we have changed our approach but she now needs to scream at the top of her lungs for 15 – 20 minutes before falling asleep. It seems like we have gone backwards in time to when she was around 4 months and refused to be put down without constant attention. Our hope is that this is merely a matter of some serious teething. Molly now has a near complete set of chompers that are capable of tackling bacon, corn on the cob (probably the cutest thing ever to watch), Dad’s fingers and nose, and large plastic items (kidding… maybe). Now with 12+ teeth we can say that we are more than 50% done with teething which is a reassuring tidbit. Here’s a tip of the wine glass to that tidbit meaning silent nights in all of our futures.

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13 months and a family trip to Mexico!

Well, I missed 13 months, mostly because I didn’t have commemorative stickers (but now I do!), but we just got back from Mexico so let’s write about that!

Actually, first – Molly has gotten like four new teeth in the past month – one molar on each side, one molar on the top, and her missing 8th bottom tooth finally came in. On the plus side, her smile is getting bigger every day! On the minus side, molars are excruciating for her (and, by extension, for us). She also has a bunch of new words – fish, gato, this, book, bird, and knows front and back (rubbing her belly and patting her tush), pats her head, pulls her ears, and just tonight learned that dogs say “woof”. She understands everything we say to her (whether she listens to us or not is besides the point) and is basically the most brilliant girl I’ve ever met. Oh, and every morning when Lee asks her what she dreamed about she says, “Mama!” She’s the best.

Okay, Mexico! Well, the trip was supposed to be with Kristin, Mike, Connor, Leslie, Ulisses, Ulisses’ entire family, my dad, and Laurie. Instead Ulisses got a job researching the AIDS vaccine (needless to say, he won’t be our manny again. Sad, but so proud of him! Plus he promised he would dedicate his Nobel prize to Molly) and didn’t have vacation time to take. And then his family decided that they weren’t going without him. And then Mike got deathly ill and ended up in the hospital the night before we left, so no Jasmin family. That left us, the grandparents, and Leslie to represent all those people in spirit.  We tried our best.

Molly seriously had the best vacation.  Considering the fact that I got sick literally the moment I stepped off of the airplane, I actually had a great time too. We got to go to Chichen Itza and swim in a cenote, I napped on the beach every day, we swam in the ocean and the pool and ate all the papaya and generally had a lovely and relaxing trip. Molly absolutely loved the pool, the sandbox, the mariachi music, the ice cream (ahem, grandparents), and all the other kids. The ocean, not so much (maybe next year) but she did like the sand! Our little vampire even got a nice tan (much to Lee’s chagrin).


One million pictures below. ¡Viva México!




And Then She was One


And all of a sudden my little baby is a little girl – a running, jumping, giggling, talking little girl, who will bring you a book, turn around, sit in your lap, and demand to be read to. A little girl who will hold your hand while she walks; not because she needs you, but because sometimes she likes to know you’re there (and sometimes she wants you to walk faster). A little girl with her first molar.* A little girl who says “roar” like a lion, “moo” like a cow, and “ah ah ah” like a monkey, who can say “at” for cat and “ba” for bird (specifically, parrots. Girlfriend loves parrots) and “duck” for duck (well, how else would you say duck?) and still slays us with the “Mama” and the “Dada.” A little girl who will give me a kiss on demand before I leave for work in the morning; who is sweet and affectionate and hilarious and who gives the world’s best hugs.

I don’t write here often because I’m not home much, and when I am home I’m trying to spend every second I can focused on Molly and Lee (and the cats. Our poor, poor neglected cats) but this blog is a space to talk about our family, and I will say this: this year was full of joy, yes, but it also housed a lot of pain. The postpartum year is not only difficult because of the new human you’re responsible for keeping alive, but because you have to do so while your body and hormones are stabilizing (and by stabilizing I mean spinning out of control). So there is stress, and there’s not the same ability to handle the stress (hormones, you beastly, beastly things), and then on top of the stress and the hormones, there was a family tragedy, and then Ulisses had to leave, and honestly, there were several times this year that I felt like I was drowning; like I couldn’t quite pick my head up above water to get enough air into my lungs; like it was only a matter of time before I got caught in the undertow and lost myself forever. These were the times when I looked at Lee with tears in my eyes and said, over and over, I’m just really overwhelmed and I don’t know how to get better. These were the times when Kristin picked up her phone and all I could do was wail; when she had to remind me to breathe because she had just been through the first year with Connor and it really does get better. These were the times when Bibi pulled me aside and said that I needed to reach out to her, and if not to her than to someone, when it got too bad, because she could read on my face how badly I was struggling.

The truth is, you lose a part of yourself when you become a parent. To love someone the way I love Molly – the all-consuming, overwhelming way that parents love their children – to put that energy into a human being that you grew inside of you, it’s just not possible to love so big without giving up a part of yourself. Even the thought of her hurting is enough to shatter me absolutely, so that when I even think of her in pain, or scared, or lonesome, my bones start to ache. The power behind that emotion has caused a shift in me – an uncomfortable, awkward shift. I’ve lost the part of myself that was able to compartmentalize, to push aside, to focus on myself only and not worry about anyone else. It’s been a hard, complicated year, and I need to write this down, here, to remember, because it hasn’t been easy. But. That picture at the top of the post is our family. Our family of two imperfect, complicated, brilliant, amazing, strong adults and one fiercely loveable little girl – and that joy captured in that family picture – that light – that glow – that has made it all worthwhile.

*They said we wouldn’t really know teething until the molars came in.  They were right…teething is the worst.


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