February 28, 2011

Putting Two and Two Together

I hear a lot of parents say that their children love animals. 
And most kids do. 
I have heard parents swear up and down that their child will probably be a veterinarian!
 This great love of animals... where could it possibly come from?
Hm. If I was smart, I'd start to replace all the pictures of animals with pictures of me.
Man oh man that kid sure loves his mom.

February 27, 2011

One of those big, flashing neon signs.

Cruz and I are sleeping through reading Proverbs together. To be honest, I have never read through the entire book. Possibly because that Proverbs 31 gal is one intimidating chickie. 

But reading Proverbs out loud has stirred in my heart a desire to pursue wisdom and purity of heart in a new way. We have some new family adventures in front of us, and I can sense that the Lord will be using the months ahead to refine my character. 

Well, the Lord knows I need big bright neon signs before I wise up and start paying attention. So it was no surprise when our sermon at church was the first in a series on Proverbs. 

Our pastor talked about the need for a humble heart in order to gain wisdom. 
And that a humble heart comes from confession. 

And here's some truth, I can no longer just read the words of Proverbs. I need to start living them. 

Dang it. Confession is so hard. 
But here we go...

I have a jealous heart, and am so not proud of it. 

I say a lot things that I regret. I wish I spoke with more grace. That's good to remember: less snark, more grace.

I gossip. And I'm not just talking about celebrities. 

I watch way too much Real Housewives.

I am sorry that I am not always the wife/mama/daughter/friend/coworker that you deserve. 
Thank you all for the grace you continually give me. 

I don't like writing these things down. I'm afraid you'll look at me and think me undeserving. That you'll think badly of me. That you'll know (probably correctly) that in fact you are a better mama than I could hope to be. 

But, man oh man, do I want need to be humble and wise. 

Because look at this guy!

I want to be the kind of child of God that deserves this happiness.

And that starts with knowing that I never will. 

Guess that's grace. 

And there's this too:
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure everything out on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
 he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
   Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
   your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
   give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
   your wine vats will brim over.
But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline;
   don't sulk under his loving correction.
It's the child he loves that 
God corrects;
   a father's delight is behind all this.

{Proverbs 3:5-6}
from The Message

February 25, 2011

it's five a.m.

it is very still in our house
the clock says five
the baby sleeps on my right, my husband on my left
they sleep with the same expression
and i could look at them forever

i tiptoe downstairs 
i leave the lights off, prolonging the moment
before babies need food
need changing

before there is email to be answered
dishes to wash
appointments, cares, laughter

when i am still, quiet and sure

my Bible is open

"but from everlasting to everlasting, the Lord's love is with those who fear Him"

we have been given a singularly perfect gift 
who could measure His love for us?

February 23, 2011

What He Wore on Wednesday

Over the last few mornings, Cruz has woken up early, just to chat with us.
He sits in his crib, babbling, until I come scoop him up.

I really wanted to snap a picture of my happy morning baby.
But those jammies were in no state for photography, ma'am.

Hopefully this will tide you over.

What is with baby shirts with pockets? Should he be stashing his tiny cell phone in there?

Now there's a happy dude. Auntie Co gave these jammies to Cruz when we found out he was going to be a Cruz! The day before her birthday, we had found out that we were having a boy. When we arrived at her party, she had a pink present and a blue present for us. I think to a lot of surprise, we chose the blue! And these sweet jammies were inside. 

Goodnight, y'all!

February 21, 2011

Hi, It's Me. Four Month Old Cruz.

Oh hey guys! It's me, Cruz. And I'm four months old now.

Being four months old is awesome. 

I weigh 14 pounds and am in the 40th percentile in all baby measurement categories. So in proportion.

I know all about toes! I grab these puppies every chance I get. Actually, I grab {everything} I can get my paws on. Toys, hair, stuffed animals, rings... and then everything goes into my mouth. Delish.

I love to look around. Anything with a face is interesting to me! I also love music and dancing. Mama and I play Baby Dance Party every chance we get. I like regular kid's songs and also Katy Perry.

I have a lot to say! Just last night I woke up several times just to talk to my Mama and Daddy. 

This is my new trick:

I flip over every chance I get. As soon as Mama tries to get me dressed, I flip over. She rolls me back, grabs a onesie... I flip over. She rolls me back, grabs a onesie... it's a good game.

I am a really happy baby. I smile, giggle, and chatter all day long. As my Vovo says, "Life is good."

February 18, 2011

Pick Your Poison

There are two phrases that have been cropping up around our house recently.
The first is "pick your poison."

As in, "Hey babe... the Pampers have blow outs up the back, and the Huggies have blow outs down the legs. So when you're putting on a new diaper, pick your poison."

The second phrase is "comedy of errors."

Picture me changing Cruz's diaper. His little feets squirm out of my grasp, he plops them right into the open diaper, then grabs his toes! "Cruz, this is a comedy of errors!" I yell, batting his paws away from his mouth and aiming a baby wipe in his direction. 

Some days both these phrases converge into one terrifying situation. 

Let me preface this next story by saying I get it. Not only would I fail as a mother during olden times (no epidural! no bouncy chair! no free diaper delivery!), but I'm pretty sure we would never leave the house if we lived anywhere but Southern California. A tip of the hat to all you Mamas living across America. And, you know, experiencing weather.

For us, today was not like any other day because it was raining. Yes, I grew up in Seattle. Yes, I should be used to the rain. But no no I am not. As today will prove, I have no good way of transporting a child in anything but perfect weather conditions. We first head to the mall to buy a shower gift. At this point, Cruz is in the stroller, with all sorts of coverings draped over his head to ward off the raindrops. After a quick pop-in at J Crew, we finally make it over the Macy's. Where the store has not one single item on the registry available. 

Yes, says the lady. Look at the paper. You need to order all of these online. 

Ugh. Shopping can drive me crazy. Cruz is beginning to wake up, and I'm losing confidence that I've timed his nap to perfectly coincide with this trip. We get back to the car. It's raining harder and the mamamobile needs gas. Cruz starts to lose it, and I know I'm never going to make it to our next set of errands without feeding him. 

It's starting to pour. 

We drive to Glenda's Party Cove and the parking lot is PACKED. The good people of Santa Barbara are desperate for party supplies, overpriced groceries and fine jewelry at lunch time, I guess. Whatever the reason, I circle the lot many times to the tunes of a wailing baby. I finally find a spot and pop into the backseat to grab Cruz. Nursing in the car is not my favorite. It feels pretty awkward, even when I'm all covered up. It is more awkward when someone sees me hop back into the front seat and thinks that I'm about the pull out. I also think she saw me carrying the baby. So maybe she was just making sure I didn't drive off with Cruz in the front seat, a la Britney Spears. Nevertheless, she sat behind my car for a good five minutes, a line forming behind her. She lays on the horn. Move along, sister. We aren't going anywhere.

Errand, errand, errand and we're finally on to the last stop of the day. The rain is coming down in sheets. Earlier, as I tore through the house looking (unsuccessfully) for my Costco card (our last destination of the day), I cried out in an attempt to maintain my sanity, "Cruz, this is a comedy of errors!" He munched on his fists in agreement. 

I'm carrying Cruz in the Ergo around Costco. We've taken a new card picture together. Cute. The ladies in customer service all come over to take a look at it. I do not take for granted that I find everything I'm looking for (and then some. It is Costco, after all). We step out of the store and it all happens at once.

The rain before is nothing compared to the rain now. It's dark. It's windy. I am pushing a cart full of bulky boxes. I curse feminism as I walk to the car through standing water. Is there no knight in shining armor to swoop down and offer to help load the car? Is a little chivalry too much to ask? I actually consider offering money to a young man I cross paths with {note: my husband was not along for this trip because he was coaching his team in the first round of CIF playoffs and generally kicking butt as a high school soccer coach}. Alone, I face the question mamas have faced for years-- baby or groceries.

Pick your poison. 

If I load the baby into the car first, I keep him as dry as possible. But then he'll be left alone in the car when I return the cart. I have read enough online commentary to know that this is the Worst Thing Moms Do. Also, while taking Cruz out of the Ergo and strapping him back into his car seat, all of the groceries in the cart will get ruined by the rain. So I opt to load the groceries first, keeping the baby out in the wet. Bless him, Cruz just sleeps through the whole thing. 

Was that the right thing to do? Will I have a present for the shower tomorrow? What were all those people doing in the plaza parking lot? We may never know the answers to these questions. But at least we looked great all day long!

February 16, 2011

What He Wore on Wednesday

We bought a new brand of diapers {courtesy of Amazon Mom}. All in hopes of less blow-outs, etc. Well, we made it through a Wednesday with just one outfit!

Well played, Huggies.

I put him in another outfit after his bath just for kicks.

Cruz fans may recognize this onesie from early days. I loved it so much that I bought it in the 6 month size. 
Hipster dinos driving cars! You would do the same.


Here, Cruz is about ten seconds from rolling over. We have a seriously mobile kid...

February 14, 2011

On Love

There are moments in this life when my soul wants to burst with love. 

I sit here thinking of you, of what you mean to my heart and I can barely get the words out. 
Utterly overwhelmed by blessing and goodness and kindness. 

This little chunk is teaching me so much about love, but so many of those lessons are echos of what the people in my life have shown me over the years.

My dad... who lives 1 Corinthians 13. Who prays to truly love those he disagrees with. 

My mamae... the greatest cheerleader a gal could ever have. She makes me feel like I can conquer the world! As I learn to love my son, I am learning just how much you love me, and it is dizzying. 

Cruz's aunties... you know who you are. Your daily doses of honesty and affirmation keep me grounded and challenged. I am seriously blessed by your friendships. 

Tovi, Tovi. We have been together for almost eight years. You are my rock, my strength. You dream big for me. I could not ask for a better husband, best friend, partner and father for our baby. You love me with patience, hope, humor, forgiveness and grace. I love spending forever with you. 

CruzKid, you were born into family with flaws and quirks. But man oh man will we love you all the days of your life. 

Little Baby, Big Stuff (0-4 months edition)

When I was a bride of just five weeks, I attended the wedding of some of our best friends. I was bursting with the pride of being Tovi's wife and filled with the knowledge of what it takes to Be A Good Wife and Run A Home. I wanted to share {everything} I had learned with my friend. I probably did, and she was sweet enough to tolerate my hubris.

Four and a half years later, I actually wasn't that far off the mark. But of course, I chuckle at myself. Such a newbie. So full of pride.

I recognized the same tendancy in myself when trying to pick out a present for a baby shower the other week. I wanted to buy her {everything} that we love and can't live without. I reigned myself in and bought something off her registry.

But I can only reign myself in for so long!

Here it is, the Top Ten Twelve Products We Love!

12. Munchkin Microwave Sterilizers
Bottles, breastpump accessories, pacis, toys... they all go in this bag, into the microwave for 90 seconds and come out clean and germ-free! Easy peesy. 

11. Soothies
This is Cruz's preferred brand of paci. He'll take other brands, but these are fail-safe. 

10. Gerber Organic Cloth Diapers
No, no. We don't cloth diaper this lad. Because I'm working , we made a value choice about going green in everything but diapers (aka, avoiding awkward walks through the office with a poopy diaper in hand). Sorry, Earth. But these puppies make the best burp cloths. Soft and extra absorbent. 

9. The Bouncer
We love our bouncer. Would kiss the bouncer if appropriate. Yup. I would marry that bouncer. How else do you think I get to shower and straighten my hair everyday? One day I was taking Cruz in the stroller and humming to myself, but couldn't quite place the song. I hummed it louder... ah. The bouncer music. 

8. Speaking of strollers...
We really love our BOB. It goes everywhere, is super light, and will be a great runner stroller once Cruz is a little older. Maybe you'll see me and him run the half-marathon together in November?

7. Amazon Mom
When you tell people that you're pregnant, they make a lot of the same remarks. 30% of these remarks are about the cost of diapers. However, thanks to Amazon Mom, the cost of diapers is the least of my concerns. I've really become obsessed with Amazon. I order everything on it. I'm probably single-handedly destroying Mom and Pop businesses in Santa Barbara because I never shop in regular stores! Actually, that's not true at all because if you've ever shopped at a baby store in SB, you'll know that "Mom and Pop" means "this $80 lovey is the least expensive thing we sell." So I embrace Amazon and it's free two-day shipping. 

6. Activity mats of all kinds
I would put one in every room in our house if I could. The bright colors kept Cruz entertained as an infant, and now he can reach all the hanging toys and (most importantly) cram them into his mouth.

5. Mirrors
Cruz is obsessed with looking at us in our mirrors. We spend long moments staring at our good-lookin' selves. 

In the hospital, Cruz ate like a champ. I asked every health professional that came into our room to watch him eat, wanting to be armed with as much information and confidence as possible. When Cruz had trouble with latching on once we got home, I was beyond thankful to have my mom (a former lactation consultant) sit up with us at 4am. When Cruz was still having trouble the next day (and New Mom Panic was setting in), our saint of a pediatrician sent over a lactation consultant. The moral of the story is, breastfeeding is amazing AND hard. It would have been really easy to give up. But with help, education and encouragement, Cruz and I were able to get over our bumps in the road. And when the professionals were gone, I relied heavily on this book. It used to sit beside me for every feeding. Thank you, talented, all-knowing sister-in-law, for this great resource. 

3. Babywearing
We own a lot of carriers. Tovi prefers the Ergo-- it's comfortable, manly, and Cruz instantly falls asleep in it. We also own the Moby (best for extended wearing) and the LuckyBaby sling (best for in and out). Babywearing is so practical and easy. I love carrying Cruz around this way! And at work it's easy to put him in the sling and carry on with my job. 

My sling from the YodMom

2. Boppy
Or Brestfriend. Whichever. All I know is the nursing is work and these lifesavers make it much more enjoyable. Also, Must-Have Item 2B is extra Boppy covers. Nuff said. 

1. Magic Blanket Swaddle
AAAAA! I think this will be my go-to shower present for years and years to come. My brilliant sister-in-law gave us one, and when Cruz slept like a champ in it, I went out and bought more! We never go anywhere without this swaddle. Ob.Sessed. 

We own two of these!
There are oh so many things I wanted to put on this list! Clearly, I would have had a much harder time being a Mama twenty years ago, never mind the olden days. (Although in the olden days I would have been shipped away to one of those schools for the blind ala Mary in Little House on the Prairie, never to have a child. God bless lasik surgery!)

So enough about me... Mamas, Mama-in-Training and Veteran Mamas, what's on your baby product list?

February 10, 2011

Sarcasm as a Coping Mechanism

I had a cute post planned for today. It was not to be. 

This morning I overheard people I know talking about how you shouldn't have kids in your twenties. You know, because you aren't mature enough. And you just want to party. Um, ahem. I can hear you. Also you know me. Also I'm a pretty good mom so far. So obviously I did the mature thing. 

Sat in my office, cheeks burning, and drank a margarita.

I jest. But it was that kind of day. 

I was pooped on at work. I was peed on as I took Cruz out of the tub. 

I'm still in some of those same clothes because for the first time, I feel like I can't keep up with the laundry. 

Instead of the pasta from Pioneer Woman that I've been drooling over in my cook's heart, I am cooking a hamburger for dinner. Which is actually a step up from the bowl of cereal I contemplated eating earlier. 

I thought I had put my hair up in a high, sexy bun. You know, something that said, I'm so cute I don't even need to try. I looked at myself in the mirror. I look like a Who from Whoville. A Who wearing clothes that may or may not be covered in dirty bath water, spit up and baby urine. 

Hey! Look at the time. Are you trying to mosey on out of here or something? 

Will I convince you to stay if I tell you that Cruz found his toes today? He can curl himself into a delightful ball of baby. Been rocking back and forth all evening, grabbing onto those pups. I've already called Cirque du Soleil to let them know about my Wonder Boy. 

As a parting gift, I leave you with some Chub du Cruz.

February 9, 2011

What He Wore on Wednesday

Every morning, far before the crack of dawn, my alarm goes off. I jump in the shower, get dressed, do my devotions, and if I'm lucky, I'll straighten my hair and maybe even get breakfast. By 6:15, I usually hear a baby crying. But this morning I heard a baby laughing.

Cruz was cracking up in his bed. I'll buy you a latte if you can think of a better way to start the morning.

Tovi says this shirt is dumb. I think it's cute. 

 Lucky for him, the shirt didn't last too long. Since Cruz started putting {everything} in his mouth, there's been a lot of drool, and this is the look he's been rocking:


Here's what was underneath:

 Yup. That's a turtle driving a VW bus. Rock on, Cruz.

February 7, 2011

Dear Lady

Dear Mama-in-Training,

I watched you with your baby, and wanted to bring something to your attention. Remember when you swaddled your son, held him in your arms for two minutes and then laid him down for a nap? Well, I'm sorry to say that you aren't having the real experience of being a mom.* That was just too easy. So after you change seven poopy diapers, feed the baby six times, pump during your 30 hour work week, sing loudly in the car to calm a crying baby, juggle baby and housework, google every developmental milestone, pray over the baby, do tummy time, give him new experiences daily, make faces-read-snuggle-dance all to get that elusive giggle... maybe you could try to keep him up and crying. Because then you'll really feel like a mom. For reals.

Lots of love,
The Lady

* Yup. Actual quote. True story. 

February 6, 2011

Passing the Fist

Back when Cruz resided in my tummy and was to known to the world as Baby E, we did two 3D ultrasounds. The first time, I took my mom along, as she lives far away and hadn't been to any Baby E appointments. The second time, Tovi and I went together. While we had a great experience all around, the ultrasounds were frankly a little disappointing. In the first, Baby E looked a lot like Horatio Sanz playing Saddam Houssein. True Story. I spent the next few weeks seriously worried about how cute my kid was going to be. During the second ultrasound, we could barely see the baby's face (lesson learned) because he chewed on his teensy fists for about thirty minutes. 

So we knew from an early age that this kid would want something to suck on.

Have you ever seen my copy of The Baby Book by Dr Sears? We recently received our new yellow pages phone book. The Baby Book is at least three times as thick, and no where in those many many pages does it promote using a pacifier. Instead, says the good doctor, let the baby suck on your finger. Rub his back and sing him a lullaby. Ha. Give a mama-in-training some help, Dr Sears!

{Does it count as more granola if the pacis are BPA free?}

Given the amount of fist sucking we saw in womb, I knew Cruz would want to use one, and I packed one in our hospital bag when he was born. And guess what? The kid LOVED it. 

I felt like I was breaking all the rules! By now, you should know that I love stripes, long showers, and following the rules. Cruz was only two days old and I was already rebelling against Dr. Sears! I remember lying in the hospital, Cruz peacefully sucking on his paci, it might have been the middle of the night. The nurse walked in the room and rather than get in trouble for letting him have a pacifier, I snatched it straight out of the baby's mouth and stuffed it under my pillow. I just hate breaking the rules! "Why is he crying?" asked my confused husband. "He was just fine." 

"He's just a baby," I said innocently. "He's going to cry."

 I don't know where I developed my paci complex. Maybe I thought it was cheating because it's such a surefire way of calming my baby down. I haven't suffered! Maybe it's because I never took one as a child, so inherently they're "bad." Whatever the case, I've always been a little defensive and apologetic about Cruz's addiction.

He's growing out of it.
He just really needs to suck on something.
If he doesn't have a paci, he tries to suck on his hands and scratches his face.
You know, things like that.

By the time Cruz was three months old, we had an official paci king on our hands. Those little suckers are everywhere in our house. I even Amazon'd a pack up to my parents' as back-up when we visited at Christmas. 

The day before I went back to work, I attended the baby shower of a good friend. She is a few years older than me, and most of her friends already have kids, which meant I was surrounded by veteran Mamas. During the lunch, Cruz was winding down for a nap and wanted his paci. I pulled one out of the diaper bag and made some self-deprecating comment about it. I never thought I'd be the kind of mom that let her kid use one, but you know how that goes...

The gal across the table looked me straight in the eye and said, "Oh please. We line our kid's crib with pacifiers in case he loses one the night. He falls asleep with one in his mouth and two in his hands." Next to her, the mom said, "They're all addicts. Only people without babies will tell you they're bad." One by one, every Mama at the table 'fessed up to pacifier use. 

There are so many expectations I've put on myself. Things I should or shouldn't do as a parent, based on nothing but what I think other people will approve of. But Cruz is patiently showing me how to parent him. As I relax into that, I am finding a lot of grace. Letting go of expectations is incredibly freeing. And while I'm learning, my paci king still reigns supreme. 

February 2, 2011

It probably isn't a good sign...

... that this is Cruz's reaction to my dancing

What He Wore On Wednesday

This is my second week back at full-time hours at work. While not everything is how I intend for it to be, I think we're doing alright! Frankly, it's a pretty empowering feeling to know that I'm working thirty hours a week, raising my son, cheering for my husband, writing a blog, being a bridesmaid and occasionally going for a run (re: fitting into my bridesmaid dress!).

Just don't ask me about my kitchen floors or the last time I plucked my eyebrows.

Want to see some pictures of a chubby baby? I thought you'd never ask!

These dog jammies are the cat's pajamas.

Do you agree the babies in handmade beanies are the cutest thing ever?

Hanging out at work, chewing on stuff, making sure Mama stays on task!

We came home at lunch to change, play and then Cruz hangs out with his babysitter. Who knows how long he wore this outfit...

because when I came home he was wearing this one!

As I took this picture, this outfit was finished for the day. True story. So then we were off to Auntie Sarah's house!

And finished off the day with new striped jammers.

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