January 31, 2011

All You Need Is Love

I have been planning to do a cute blog post on all my can't-live-without baby gear. You know, like the Boppy, the activity mat, and a fat stack of Gerber organic cloth diapers. But then something happened to change all of that.

I used to be a mentor for a sweet, but pretty troubled, girl here in Santa Barbara. We were very close, but then as her life got back on track, we stopped seeing each other as much, and eventually she changed her phone number, and I had no way of getting back in contact with her. I missed our relationship a lot, thought about her constantly. I felt so sad that she didn't know Cruz and hadn't gone through that journey with me. 

As it turns out, she had.

Yesterday we got back in touch. She gave birth to a baby girl ten days ago.

Lord, when I asked for more friends with babies, this wasn't what I had in mind.

I am thrilled that we are back in touch, and looking forward to seeing her this coming weekend. But I am also grieving for her, for her little girl, and the dreams I've dreamt for her. 

When Cruz was born, my cousin told me, "You're going to be great at this because it's all about love." I have treasured those words in my heart. In my mind, I can also hear my Grandpa say, "All you need is love. But some brains wouldn't hurt either." 

So future mamas, mamas-in-training, and veteran mamas... I need your advice. How should I love her? What are the can't-live-without pieces of advice you have (for me and for her)? How can I balance the love with the brains? What would you do in my situation or hers? I truly believe that God brought us back together for a time such as this, and I want to be there for her in a brand new way.

And maybe I'll bring her a stack of Gerber diapers. 

January 30, 2011

Don't Leave Baby in the Corner

Picture this. I am innocently working at my computer on Thursday afternoon. Cruz is playing in his Baby Einstein aquarium world. As usual, he's babbling to himself, and trying to get the dangling fishies into his mouth. 

Aw, so cute, I think to myself, and then innocently turn back to my project. 

Ho ho, thinks Cruz, I have tricks up my sleeve, woman.

A minute later, I glance to my right and see that Cruz is hard at work, rolling from side to side. This is a new game! He's really starting to gain momentum, and also trying hard to grab at the toys. I'm enchanted {insert major eyeroll from readers. Of course she's enchanted! She thinks it's cute when he poops!}. The rolls are getting bigger, faster, until finally...

Face plant.

Um, excuse me? I say to the baby. You are not supposed to be able to do this for a longlonglong time. I finally rescue his arms, which are pinned underneath him, and let him flip back over. 

I send a quick text to my mom. Cruz just rolled onto his tummy. But then quickly followed it up with another: Twice.

So we have a mobile baby. Here's a list of the places we're no longer able to stash him:
on the bed, while I dry my hair
on the changing table, while I grab a new outfit
on the couch, so I can get a snack

I think life just got more complicated.

January 26, 2011

What He Wore On Wednesday

If you only wear one outfit on Wednesday, it better be a good one!

Good morning, world!

If you know me, you know that two of my most favorite things are whales and stripes...

Fresh baby!

And suddenly it was bedtime. These days go by so quickly!

{note: doesn't he look so ready for a bowl of popcorn and movie? Put on some Baby Einstein, woman!}

January 25, 2011


One mamamobile

Two BOBs

One little guy

One big guy

Zero meltdowns!

Two Sofies

Two college roomies (minus their third-- we miss you, Sarah!)

One {wonderful} day!!

What Is Sure To Be An Ongoing Series

Dear Lady,

We here at Cruz Justin, Inc always love to hear the public's opinion on how we're doing. Thank you for your recent comments. 

We also share your concerns about "taking the baby out" at this age. Was it the weather that concerned you? It's true-- we don't want Cruz to get too familiar with this balmy Santa Barbara weather because he'll never survive anywhere else! Perhaps in the future we'll dress him in less layers to help him toughen up. 

Your next concern was about germs. Thank goodness you were there to lean into his stroller to make sure there weren't any! The baby has a doctor's appointment next week. We hope you'll consider coming along to voice this.

Most of all, we thank you in advance for the babysitting we're sure you'll be doing for us. The mother tends to get a touch of le cabin fever when cooped up indoors. What a blessing that you'll watch Cruz while she gets out and about!

With thanks,
The Management 

January 22, 2011

Remember When?

Cruz has been asking to go to bed earlier {I know! What a kid!}. So I had some extra time last night. I love love love waking up to a clean kitchen, so I did the dishes, wiped down the counters. Still some time before bed. A little voice in my head whispered, "you should go work out." 

Now, I have no desperate need to be completely back in shape at this point. But let's be honest, as much fun as it would be to buy a whole new work wardrobe, it's not very practical and wise. So there's that. Also, the hubs is a personal trainer, and there's no need for a cobbler's wife situation here. And for Pete's sake... we have a fitness studio in our own home!

But did I go work out, no no I did not. Bed and young adult fiction beckoned, and I answered. Of course, I am trying to be disciplined and not let "hey, I just had a baby" be my answer to why I'm slacking off on everything. So like a good kid, I laid out my workout clothes in the bathroom and set my alarm. 

Cruz has been nostalgic of late. He has been recalling the days of his youth. With that earlier bedtime comes an earlier wake-up time. "Hey Mama, remember when we used to see each other in the middle of the night?" 

But really, how could I resist this face?

I can't! I honestly don't mind our little 4:30am reunions!

But, suffice it to say, this trip down memory lane has not propelled me back into the gym...

January 19, 2011

What He Wore on Wednesday

Last week when I told you that Cruz was going through less outfits did you chuckle to yourself? Did you think, "Wow, she really is a mama-in-training if she thinks that's going to last." It's okay, I deserved it.

Holy smokes.

Oh how I love this sleepy face!

There is a picture missing here. I put Cruz into one outfit right before we left for work. Twenty minutes later, I was changing his entire outfit in the back of my car before we even set foot in the office. So here was his first outfit of the work day:

Let's not worry about the shirt and pants not matching, shall we? Because we were soon onto something completely different.

At this point we had run out of pants in the diaper bag and I was praying to make it until 2pm.
Like, wondering I could fashion my cardigan into some sort of onesie. 
 We just made it. By 2:30, Cruz was wearing this:

I am delighted to say that he's now wearing 3-6 month clothing. Cruz is delighted to have found his hands. I don't know what this will mean for his relationship(s) with his (8) paci(s). 

I have been waiting a long time for Cruz to fit these jammies!

Goodnight, lions!

The Cutest. Medical. Problem. Ever.

You may not have noticed it, but my son is missing something.

His neck.

Some days Cruz looks exactly like Tovi, and other days I can't see either of us in him at all. 
Blonde hair, blue eyes, built like a bruiser.

I was cleaning out his neck folds the other day (yes! neck folds!) and noticed that he had red splotches in the creases. It got worse over the next few days, and his normal baby lotion didn't seem to help relieve the redness.
I took him into our doctor and she told me that moisture was getting trapped in the chub.

She told us to up the tummy time so that his neck will actually get some exposure and to use her favorite cureall-- breastmilk. Remember how the dad in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" put Windex on everything? That's how she feels about breastmilk. And so far, she's right. 

But I have yet to see if it will help him grow a new neck. 

{ps: Cruz, should you ever read this and be completely mortified at age 15, this post earns you one night of getting out of curfew free. I promise.} 

January 18, 2011

A Friday Afternoon

Cruz and I went to visit Carrie at Westmont College last Friday after work. The Mont is one of my most favorite places in the world. My four years there were some of my most formative and joyful. I take every chance I can get to go back up to campus. Unbelievably, our five-year reunion was last October, just one week before Cruz was born. 

{Apparently, I had passed the "looking cute while pregnant stage" sometime 
during Homecoming.}

So it was with great anticipation that I brought Cruz to his first campus visit.

It was a gorgeous day; something stolen from summer. Reliving our student days, Carrie and I spread a blanket out on the lawn and ate cupcakes. Back when we were students, we would have taken a nap in the sun, waking up only when it became dark and dewy and it was time for dinner.

We all have our hopes and dreams for Cruz. Cruz owns more soccer jerseys than is imaginable {we all want him to be a soccer player like daddy}. Cruz owns shelves and shelves of books {we all want him to be a voracious reader like mama}. Forget about trying to see who he looks like, we're always trying to figure out his personality and future based on Tovi and I. 

Cruz seems to like animals. They really capture his attention. He also likes looking in the mirror. And doesn't like smiling for pictures. 

Do I have a vain yet morose zoologist on my hands?

The truth is that I don't care. Cruz, your whole life we will say things like, "You're a soccer player, just like Daddy." "When you go to Westmont, you'll want to live in Armington, right? And be an RA just like Mama?" But don't listen to us.

You know my prayer for you-- That you will be healthy, happy, and strong in the Lord. That you will love God and love people.

Everything else is just cake.

But if you chose to eat that cake out on the Westmont lawn before taking a nap in the sun with your best friends, well, that's just fine with me. 

January 14, 2011

I'm Three Months Old!

I know, I know. I'm breaking my Mama's heart by getting so big so fast. 
In the last few weeks I have learned to do so many things! I think I'm going to like being three months old. Here are some of my favorite things!

I'm a baby that likes to eat! Can you see the chub on my legs? Not as skinny as I used to be!

I like sitting up and looking at the world around me. I am fascinated by everything. But, of course, my favorite things to look at are my parents' faces. I know, I know. I am a dreamy baby.

I am no longer afraid of tummy time! Although most tummy time ends up like this:

I got a jumperoo from my cousin Andersen, and I'm really liking it. He's a big boy, and I can't wait to do everything that he can do!

I am starting to like books, and I definitely like singing. My two favorite songs are "The Wheels on the Bus," and "I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly." Do you believe that I would be the type of baby who cries in the car unless Mama sings one of those songs?

Well, who knows what I'll be doing next month.


January 12, 2011

What He Wore On Wednesday

Cruz has been going through less outfits lately. This is a good trend. It's allowed me to relax my strict "babies must wear pants at all times" policy. 

We know that someday this will be a disaster for my ivory-colored carpet.

Oh well. To the fashion!

That's right, world! We've introduced work and bumbos to the mix. Here, Cruz supervises in a cute tiger onesie. In case you missed it, here's what Cruz wore on our first day back at work:

I wasn't looking forward to going back to work, but I was looking forward to this outfit.
{ps: do you see the arch in his eyebrows? Is he Tovi's son or what?}

After a good day at work, Cruz was ready to change and relax.

I wish you could see the cute bears on the feetsies of these pants. This kid moves so fast. And so often. Doesn't he know I'm trying to blog about him constantly??!! You'll just have to settle for looking at his munchable cheeks instead. 

January 10, 2011

Back to Grace

I have about one million ideas for blog posts. I think of them constantly.

But right now I am too exhausted to even think about writing them.

I went back to work today.

Yes, I got to bring Cruz. No, that didn't necessarily make it better. 

Thank you, mom, for the reminder that I need to be patient with myself and to give myself grace when it doesn't go perfectly. 

Thank you, to all of you who committed to praying for us today. I am sitting here with tears on my cheeks, thinking about each one of you. For weeks I have thought about going back to work with the feeling of ice in my stomach. But today. Today I felt an unexplainable peace that allowed me to get through the day. 

Thank you, Jesus, that You provide. You have brought this most precious, amazing gift into our lives. Daily, I am overwhelmed by the fact that You have trusted us with this beautiful boy. He is fearfully and wonderfully made; I know this very well. I have seen Your hand in this situation. I know that I can trust You with our future. You know what lies before us and I trust that You have equipped me, Tovi and Cruz for exactly that. 

January 7, 2011

The Things We've Left Undone

Today is Abby's third birthday! This little ball of fluff is now a big(gish) golden retriever and really one of the greatest blessings in our lives. She's playful, joyful, gentle, and super cute! There were of course some growing pains when she first arrived at our house (I think we got up in the night with her longer than we did with Cruz!), but we couldn't imagine life without her. She truly is part of our family. So today seemed like the perfect day for this post... The Things We've Left Undone...

Yesterday at Trader Joe's, the checker asked me what Cruz and I had been up to. I get this question a lot (obviously-- this is a very normal question), but am often not sure of how to answer. So I told him, "well, we've sung some songs. Looked at pictures in a book. Changed diapers. Napped. And looked at ourselves in the mirror." I've even thought about blogging What We Do All Day as a running diary just so that I can see where all the time goes! 

Before Cruz was born, I would joke with my friend Colette that I envisioned my maternity leave as one long trip to Starbucks. I would read. Cruz would nap. And obviously we would both be wearing amazing outfits. There's been a lack of Starbucks, but everything else has kind of been true. These last two months have been blissful (new Mamas-in-Training hang in there! It gets waaaaay better after five weeks), but I am starting to realize that this has come at a price.

We have a beautiful backyard. I went out there the other day (probably for the first time in months), and realized that it is overgrown with weeds! Mom, I've got a project for you next time you come down to visit! Also, if anyone out there needs limes, oranges or lemons, please pick some.

I can barely hold a conversation. I'm assuming that I am not the first Mama to experience this, but I feel bad about it every time I get together with a girlfriend. Since Cruz was born, I have not been able to give anything else 100% of my attention. Hopefully he is cute enough to distract you all from the fact that my brain is only 90% engaged. 

The first five months of my pregnancy were Hell On Earth. It was like having a combination of food posioning, flu and mono that never ended. Ever. Not surprisingly, I stopped cooking. Then I started commuting to our summer center an hour away from home. I didn't cook. Then I was nine months pregnant and had Dominos on my top-visited websites. Then we had the baby. Then I was on my super intense diet. I miss cooking. 

And Abby. Sweet, sweet pup. Not in a bajillion years would I have guessed that you would be this neglected. It kills me that you don't get a walk everyday and that we don't play with you as much. I can't wait for you to be friends with Cruz and to have a playmate. 

After Christmas, we picked Abby up from the puppy country club. She's always tired and sleeps for a few days after coming home (the Dioji Hangover). But this time, I noticed that she didn't perk back up. I vowed to take her running more often, and we've done better with that. Then two nights ago, Tovi and I noticed strange bumps on her tummy. She had a great appetite and the bumps didn't seem to hurt her, but I still flipped out! Abby is soooooo much a part of our family, and I can't stand the thought of her being hurt or sick. Obviously, I stayed up until 1am googling "dog skin cancer" and scaring the crap out of myself. 

After a night of restless, worried sleep, we walked over to the vet. As it turns out, everything is fine. She picked up a bad case of buggies at Dioji, and she'll be completely okay. But it was definitely a scare I don't want to repeat. As I told Tovi tearfully, I just felt so guilty! What if something had been wrong this whole time and I was too wrapped up in the baby to notice?

So a good reminder to broaden my attention. And an even better reminder was this:
All you need to remember is that
God will never let you down;
He'll never let you be pushed past your limit;
He'll always be there to help you come through it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

January 5, 2011

What He Wore On Wednesday

Woo woo! It's Wednesday!

Someone was still a little sleepy... but don't you love those striped pants?!  I want like seven more pairs. For him. I guess.

Jeans and a cardigan. OMG.

This outfit is kind of boring from the front...

But has a monkey face on the back!
{NOTE: Now that Cruz can roll, tummy time is practically nonexistent! I tried to get a bum picture like five times before I could capture this one. He just flips over so fast!}

Sleepy time! Football jammies.

January 1, 2011

On Smiles

At this moment in time, I happen to know a lot of gals who also have baby boys. According to everything posted online, these baby boys are some of the most adorable and smiley children around! I find myself sitting around thinking, "how do they get their boys to smile this stinkin' much?" And then I feel like a horrible mama because Cruz is smiley but not that smiley.

And then, of course, I remember the truth. I am comparing their best with my worst. For all I know, you, dear reader, could be convinced that Cruz and I sit around (well, that part is true), smiling gorgeous smiles all day long. (*Not that these boys aren't super smiley! I know for a fact that they all have incredible Mamas. This is just my own small Mama journey.) But the point of this particular blog is to give you a glimpse of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have nothing to convince you of. I am not trying to sell you on my skills as a Mama or the benefits of having a baby (unless you are my best friend, and then yes, yes I am trying to sell you on getting pregnant). So back to our smiley pictures...

Full disclosure! Cruz is a paci addict. The majority of his pictures should look like this
What the heck is he doing with his arm? He's been doing this all day long.  So hot for 2011.

It's also just hard to capture those gorgeous smiles! Cruz is fascinated by my iphone (he does not take after the Amish side of the fam), and he gets this dreamy, alert look whenever I try to take a picture of him. For every picture like this:
There are about ten like this:

Although, that is still awfully cute. 

While we're on the subject of full disclosure, remember the outfit I was so excited about the other day? Well, not only did it have spit-up straight down the back (before I put it on)... those are all pieces of clothing that I've acquired post-pregnancy. I am only 8 pounds heavier than I was during my first trimester (when I couldn't keep a meal down for months, so no weight gain there), but wow my clothes just don't fit the same way. Anyone in need of a JCrew/Ann Taylor Loft wardrobe make-over should feel free to stop by my closet and help herself. 

Full disclosure again! I feel like I dress like a total mom now (again, this will change on Jan 10 when We Head Back to Work). I own a pair of jeggings! Profound apologies for any snarky comments I may have made in the past regarding jeggings. They are brilliant and amazing. If only they came in Spit-Up Beige...

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