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).

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One million pictures below. ¡Viva México!

 

 

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And Then She was One

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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.

1 Year Old!

Semi-toddling

And just like that 365 days passed and Molly went from looking upon the world with true innocence to a personality filled near-toddler. Molly’s birthday celebration was a Brazilian blowout, thanks to Manny Ulisses and an authentic menu of treats consisting of:

Coxinhas

  • Esfirra de carne(ground beef cooked in bread)

Esfirra di carne

  • Empadas (chicken & olives in pastry dough)

Empada

  • Risoles de milho (corn & cheese croquette)

Risoles

  • Brigadeiro (Chocolate bon-bon) & Beijinho (Coconut bon-bon)

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Mannyama

Molly’s favorite friends and family came out to celebrate in style including her Aunt Jodie who was also celebrating a birthday of her own.

Birthday Ladies

Then after much celebrating/cake-eating it was time to take a short interlude to appreciate the local flora.

Official Dandelion Inspection

Presents were opened and in good time since it decided to start raining. All in all it was an epic first birthday party (even though technically it was held two days before Molly’s actual birthday).

So when the next day came around, Leah and I decided to celebrate Molly’s birthday by taking her to the science academy where minds were blown.

Lastly a photo review of the 30ish days between 11 & 12 months!

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11 Months

Eleven months and a bit, because Molly had a stomach bug and then Lee was traveling and I was solo-parenting, and that’s tiresome. And then I got sick, and then Lee got sick, and then last night when we were finally both feeling better we decided that instead of working late into the night, as he has been since he started The Electron Shop a few months ago and I have been essentially since I came back from maternity leave, we would pull out our new sofa bed and lay on it together watching the Olympics. So we did that, and it was glorious. And then we went to bed and Molly woke up at 5AM and screamed at us until Lee got her and brought her into bed with us, where she proceeded to alternately snuggle and smack us in our respective faces until he put her back, she screamed at us for 5 more minutes, and then we finally all fell back to sleep.

All that to say, this post is late.  Also, I’m very tired.

We are coming up on a year and this past month has been a trip. I’m actually speaking literally, here – we went back east at the end of January because my esteemed husband bought tickets to a Rangers game at Yankee Stadium. He said he asked himself “what would Leah do?” and the answer that came to him was “buy tickets to an outdoor hockey game across the country in the middle of the coldest winter in years without thinking through any of the details!” That man, he really gets me. So we went, to New England, in January, toting our darling almost-11-month-old daughter with us. Here is Molly after the flight out, where she slept for a total of 45 minutes and we were crammed into two seats for a 5-hour flight:

2014-01-23 17.46.20-2The trip home was fabulous, in the end, as trips home always are, full of friends and family and a whirlwind of activity and lots of time visiting and general happiness. We even got to spend the weekend with Ulisses, who had flown up from Virginia (where, and why is a story too long to tell, he is very temporarily until he can come home forever), and seeing him and Molly and their connection after a month apart was truly incredible.  I mean, just look at these two! Besties for life.

2014-01-24 15.42.18Also, there were cupcakes. And Connor, Molly’s future husband (if she chooses…no pressure…just saying it would be the best thing ever, but seriously, no pressure…). And Sebastian, who is the cutest. But mostly cupcakes.

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And this one, just because.

DSC_0081So the trip was great, and on the way home we snagged our very own row of seats, which made all the difference! Here is Molly, happy for all the space.

2014-01-28 16.17.22-2Needless to say, travel is exhausting.

2014-01-28 21.52.41And no wonder we’re all tired – it’s been a whirlwind of a year! Molly (and her seven teeth) are continuing to talk up a storm (go ahead and ask her what a cow says) and eat everything in sight (the stomach bug was so unsettling, in part because she projectile vomited on me multiple times, but mostly because she didn’t have an appetite). She is standing on her own, pushing herself up, and getting closer to walking every day.  Oh, and sometimes she climbs into the laundry basket and has herself a good old time:

2014-02-03 07.55.52She is a silly goof and so funny, cracking herself and us up regularly. She has moved from “everything out” to “everything back” and cleaning up is her current favorite activity (mine, too!).  The other morning when we were done with breakfast she put all the cheerios back into the bag (most of them…every so often she would find one that was too tasty to resist).  She also continues to be the most loving, snuggly, playful little girl who genuinely seems to like us and want to spend time with us (may it last) – we play games and read together and she comes with us to museums and playgrounds and restaurants and walks and playdates with other babies. A little part of me is nostalgic for my tee tiny babe, but a much bigger part is so excited to see her personality shining more and more each day. Eleven months in, and my daughter has irrevocably changed my life for the better.

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Ten Month Post

To start, again.  The past few months have thrown me off for reasons I’m not quite ready to elaborate on – they are coming, these reasons, but not just yet. Suffice it to say, life changed for all of us on Halloween and I couldn’t bring myself to write – couldn’t keep on pushing forward, capturing the daily joy that Molly brings – for a little while. Even now, thinking back on the past few months, my throat starts to close.

Augusten Burroughs says that “we can be filled with holes and loss and wide expanses of unhealed geography – and we can also be excited by life and in love and content at the exact same moment.” It’s been dark, these past months. Dark and sad and hard. But. Molly is still here, no matter what else has happened – and she is still amazing every day. It’s a new year. It’s time to begin to try and find joy, again, in the day to day.

Molly.  Molly who looks at me and it’s like she’s known me my whole life, who makes me feel like there was a piece of me missing that I didn’t even know existed until she took my hand in hers and rested her head on my shoulder. Molly who pushed herself up to standing the other day and stood there on her own, smiling at us while Lee and I stared at each other in speechless disbelief. Molly who fights me tooth and nail when I try to change her diaper because UP, MAMA! there is too much to do and see to stay still. Molly who I found snuggled 5-deep in stuffed animals when I went to check on her before I went to sleep last night. Molly who run-crawls circles around us, pulling everything down off of everything and willfully ignoring us when we say, Molly, NO. Molly who has tasted cat food and leaves and pebbles and who will steal your bacon right off your plate. Molly who points to the ladybug on the page every time. Molly whose giggle makes my heart simultaneously explode and shatter into a trillion pieces. Molly who I fall more deeply in love with every single day of her life.

Molly, I am so incredibly grateful for you, my funny, stubborn, brilliant, strong, willful, sweet little girl. Thank you for getting me through these past few dark, difficult months.  Happy 10-months, love.

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¾ Years Old!

November… the start of the Holiday crush, cold weather, and the warning bell that New Year’s is right around the corner. Also, most importantly, November brought Thanksgiving and Hanukkah for Molly’s first (and only*) THANKSGIVUKAH! Molly’s first Thanksgiving or more generally Molly’s first November, found her eating anything and everything that was placed in front of her.

A mountain of garlic with a couple pieces of chicken…. yes please!

Fish tacos…. of course! Delicious!

That piece of paper you just found of the floor…. amazing flavor profile!

A full multi-course Thanksgiving meal…. hey why did everyone else stop eating?

Latkes…. munch munch munch munch munch….

Indian palak paneer…. OMG YUM *burp*!

Anything with eggs…. …. …. if you don’t give me more I will shank you with this soft baby spoon.

All this eating aside, I went out of my way one morning to teach Molly some new phrases. I was fighting with her on the changing table to stay still while I was trying to get her pants back on. In a fit of inspired frustration, I looked her in the eye and said “UH OH, CAN YOU SAY UH OH?” Since then, pretty much all I have heard is “UH OH UH OH UH OH UH OH UH OH UH OH UH OH.” Next time I think I need to work on something more along the lines of “BOOYAH!”

I can’t believe we’re already talking about planning a birthday party.

 

* Technically it was everyone’s first and only Thanksgivukkah since the last one occurred in the late 1800s and the next one will occur sometime 70,000 years from now.

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Eight Months!

8 Months! 8 Months! No really where did the last 8 months go? Parenting definitely puts time into hyper-drive. Molly was born, I blinked, now she is 8 months old!

So what comes with the octo-month? Our little monster is everyone’s favorite party guest. She says hello to everyone, she strikes up a conversation, waves to people across the room, and then starts dancing.

Boogey time! She’s always on the move and is no longer entertained by sitting still with toys. She needs to be cruising, crawling, hopping, or banging on everything. Unless of course you are up for a tickle fight, she loves tickle fights and giggles up a storm.

Teeth! More and more teeth! If Molly would sit still long enough for a goofy smile photo you would see she now has 4 teeth which she is very adapt at using to deconstruct cheerios, bananas, apples, and sometimes human flesh (yes ow).

Speaking! Last month was all “Ma ma ma ma,” well, finally, this month it is “DA DA DA DA DADA!” Booyah, DADA is in the house. My excitement about this also helps me ignore the fact that she will look at nearly anything, point, and declare “DADA!”

Waving! If you wave frantically at our little girl she will in turn wave frantically back. It’s not the most graceful thing in the world (still working on our royal wave) but it certainly is endearing. The accompanying screech also warms the heart.

Molly continues to grow in fantastic ways, her little personality is not so little anymore and it’s just a matter of time before she lets you know about it. No really, blink, the next post you see will probably be written by a 12 year old girl (if you think blogs will be alive in 12 years). That’s how parent time works.

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Seven Months!

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How awesome is Molly at seven months old? SO awesome. Every single day Lee has some exclamation about how much fun he’s having and how she’s the best. You all know Lee and he’s not exactly the most effusive man, so the fact that he’s regularly proclaiming excitement is key here.  And he’s absolutely right – Molly is so much fun these days. Not that she hasn’t been fun from the beginning but these days her personality is really shining; she’s super affectionate; and she’s developing enough that we can really start to incorporate her into our day to day routines.  Here’s a rundown:

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Teeth! After a few nights of sleep-screaming (poor baby) and one terrible night of Molly crying OWOWOWWWWW as I held her and wept and Lee frantically ran around the house looking for the baby Tylenol (which still hasn’t turned up, incidentally. We’re clearly not ready to be parents), Molly has TWO of the most adorable little teeth on the bottom. All I can say about teething is, I’m glad babies are too young to remember it, because it must be absolutely brutal. That said, as soon as her teeth popped through, Molly seems happy as can be again, sleeping through the night without incident (until the next round come in…and the next…and the next…) and practicing using her mandibles on anything she can get her mouth on.  And the best part about the teeth is…

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Meals! We no longer have to rush through dinner or eat separately so that one of us can be with Molly, since she really doesn’t like having to sit  and watch other people eat when she’s not participating.  For the past few nights, Molly has been joining us at dinner! She sits in her chair with us and we all chat as she practices picking up pieces of food and getting them into her mouth. Mealtimes are an absolute disaster but they are more fun than ever and we already have such a little foodie on our hands.  Molly likes everything she tries – and she wants to try any and everything she sees, especially if we’re eating and not sharing.  She had been known to shout at Ulisses until he shares his snacks with her ;-) And speaking of chatting…

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Sounds! Molly has been making sounds since almost day one (my daughter, a talker – surprise, surprise) – and over the past month has really honed her razzing skills.  And, she’s started saying HI! back (or at least “AI”) if we say hi to her, and over the last day or so we’ve heard some very distinct “ba ba ba” and “da da da” and “pa pa pa” (possibly wishful thinking on the part of her papa) and even “ma ma ma” (definitely wishful thinking on the part of her mama) sounds. I don’t think they are linked to any words yet, but it is so interesting how all of a sudden her (adorable) babble is becoming more distinct sounds.

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I don’t have a good transition here, but…

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Movement! Molly has been creeping and scooting along on her belly for almost two months now, but on her seven month birthday I saw, for the first time, that she was actually crawling on her hands and knees, slowly and with determination.  She started sitting on her own on her 6-month birthday, and now she can push herself to sitting from her hands and knees or her side. But, her favorite thing right now is to pull herself up to standing. If she’s crawling, it’s usually just in the direction of a piece of furniture she can use to pull herself up. Our little girl likes to stand and will tug on your hand or leg until you help her up. She doesn’t let a tumble here or there deter her, as she’s often up and on before we can even try and help her. I was looking over Molly’s month by month pictures and realize she’s basically hit a new milestone in each one – rolling over, sitting up, and now standing. I can’t wait to see what she’s going to be up to by eight months old!

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Six Month (and a bit) Post

Six months! Molly has been a part of our lives for half a year already – and I can’t help but think of how six months is only two thirds of pregnancy and good lord, pregnancy is forever (you’re halfway there, Jod!).  Anyway – six months!  On the one hand, time has flown by and on the other hand, it feels like Molly has been a part of our lives forever.  The past month has been a whirlwind, mostly because we’ve basically spent it chasing Molly around. Over the past month, our smart and strong girl has figured out how to creep, and then pull her knees in and crawl, and recently how to pull herself up on her knees and then her feet, laughing all the way. In fact her new favorite thing is to stand up holding your hands – forget the millions of toys she has to play with – all she wants to do is stand! Craziness.

Highlights of this month include visits with Nana, Grandpa, and Grand Nana (and Uncle Simon & Aunt Sarah) in SLO, visits with Papa and Glamma out in SF, and a trip back east to visit family and college friends. The trip back east was a whirlwind and Molly was such a trooper, considering the cross country flights, jetlag, an overwhelming amount (even for her parents!) of new people and faces, and basically waking up somewhere different for four days in a row.  Everyone just kept commenting on how she is the happiest girl; how she’s always smiling and wanting to play even if she’s in an unfamiliar place with new people. Oh, and how active she is!

The lowlight (for me) this month was my first overnight trip for work, which was, in a word, hard. So hard. I cried when Lee dropped me off at the airport; I cried in the line for security; I cried when I got on the plane and started looking at pictures of Molly; I cried when I got to my hotel room; I really cried when I called Lee at 9PM his time (I was in Utah) and he had just gotten back from a ride to Half Moon Bay because Molly wouldn’t stop crying. It was so hard to be away. I felt guilty and I missed her and I woke up every hour even though I had a full night to sleep on my own for the first time since Molly was born. It took several texts from my best friend Kristin, who has a 13-month old son and travels frequently for work, reminding me that I was setting a good example for Molly as a working mom, to get through the night. And then the next morning I was up and out before she was awake for a trip to LA for the day. Needless to say, our little whirling dervish was probably wondering why I was hugging her so tightly when all she wanted to do was play with her toys after those three days. I just – I love my job. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my job. I was willing to start a new job when I was 5 months pregnant because it’s truly what I want to be when I grow up, and I absolutely love it. And I know that Molly is going to grow up with a role model who works, and she’ll see that men and women are equal partners inside and outside of the home. I KNOW how important it is for me to work. And I know what good care she’s in while I’m gone. It’s still hard. Worth it, but so hard. And I can’t imagine it getting easier.

Anyway, on to happier thoughts. Picture time!

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My little Rockette

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See-saw with Papa

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Telling you a story

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I mean, why don’t YOU own a giraffe print bathing suit?

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Playing at the park

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Doing the hands-and-knees, rocking-back-and-forth thing. She’s only six months old!

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Party time while Mama’s away!

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Lee sent me this picture while I was away for work as proof they had both survived the night

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Playing with her friend (future husband?) Connor’s toys!

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Fell asleep holding her foot and didn’t let go <3

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Travel is exhausting

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Enjoying the taste of six months!

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Flying!

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Holding herself up!

Dingle Way Day 4: Slea Head to Ballyferriter

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  • Distance: 9.5 Miles
  • Time: 3 Hours 23 Minutes
  • Elevation: 906 Feet

We ended up spending the night before our 4th hiking day in Ballyferriter (Baile an Fheirtéaraigh) due to booking issues in Slea Head (Ceann Sléibhe), so we ended up shuttling backwards to begin our hike back to the B&B we were staying at in Ballyferriter (more on the B&B later). So the fourth day of our hike picked up right where we left off on day 3, we began from our stopping point near Dunmore Head (An Dún Mór) and continued north along the coastal cliffs to the same village of Dunquin (Dún Chaoin). From here the Dingle Way left the roads and brought us up close and personal with the cliffs of Blasket Sound (Bealach an Bhlascaoid) until we reached Clogher Head (Ceann Sratha). We continued north through a large flat area heading towards the Three Sisters (An Triúr Deirféar), three prominent peaks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Just as we neared the sisters the Dingle Way takes a sharp right bringing us to the beach at Smerwick Harbour (Cuan Ard na Caithne). We walked along the cold windy beach until we reached an access road which took us back to the lovely village of Ballyferriter.

While we were in Ballyferriter we stayed at the An Spéice B&B under the fantastic care of Alice. Hands down, Alice is the best B&B proprietor I have ever encountered. She immediately fell in love with Molly and went out of her way on more than one occasion to make sure  that we had everything we needed. Need a ride into town? No problem, she gave us a ride. When we ran out of diapers and the closest store with “nappies” was all the way back in Dingle? No problem, she went completely out of her way and picked us up diapers and dropped them off at the next B&B. Not only that but she also makes a fantastic breakfast, I recommend the full Irish. Alice optimized the hospitality that we encountered throughout our stay on the Dingle Peninsula and she made our trip fantastic. If you ever find yourself in Western County Kerry, stay with Alice and her family at An Spéice, you won’t regret it.

And now the pictures from Day 4!

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