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February 25, 2013

So we are no longer part of the landed gentry. … well at least not for the next few weeks.

In the summer of 2008, Masa and I bought a sweet little house. We brought our babies home there, and watched them grow into toddlers (one of whom doesn’t yet toddle.) We dreamed up many projects, some of which were executed, and some that never were.

Nearly five years have passed since we first set foot on land we own. And now? someone else owns it. We closed escrow on our sale last week. We’re leasing it back from the buyer for a few months till the house that we’re buying is ready for us, and I’ll tell you one thing: that’s a weird feeling. IT’s still MY house… but then again, it’s not.

But, theoretically, if all goes well, sometime in May or early June we’ll be picking up and moving our little homestead about 2 miles east to a bigger and better fit, complete with good schools and a Target mere steps away. I’m excited and scared and nervous and anxious to get it all going and begin this new chapter.

Mostly, though, I think I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that we landed in the right spot for our boys to flourish. Our first little house is the first place they’ve lived, but this new one is going to be the home they remember. I’m really excited about that.

Hopefully once things are rolling along a little further, I’ll share some photos with you and some ideas for what we’ll do to really make it ours. Until then I’m pretty much drowning in loan documents and escrow paperwork.



February 14, 2013
The Birthday Boy enjoying his cupcake

The Birthday Boy enjoying his cupcake

This week, my sweet little man turned one.  We threw him a party, gave him some presents, helped him open a gazillion presents that other people gave him.  I made him some (relatively) healthy cupcakes, which he LOVED, and there was merriment all around.

And I only cried a little bit.

This has been a very emotional week for me, and not only because my baby turned one.  But everything is related to that monumental event.  My husband and I had a difficult discussion about whether and when to stop preventing the possibility of a second child (and the consensus was: not yet).   I took a big step toward day weaning on days when we are apart, by quitting pumping at work.  I started looking into switching to a part time schedule, which has implications for our income and for my career, but also for my sanity.  And my BABY TURNED ONE.

Oh I guess I mentioned that already.

I am feeling very sentimental, but I don’t think I have it in me to do one of those posts telling my little boy how much I love him and how much he’s changed.  Though of course, both of those things are definitely true.  I look back at photos of him as a newborn and have to squint my eyes and tilt my head to see the resemblance to this cheeky little monkey that is climbing all over everyone and everything.

But right now, all I want to do is drink him in, every moment of his adorableness.  I don’t want to miss a second if I can avoid it.  I love watching him grow and change, and I want to be as present as I possibly can.

So happy birthday, baby boy.  May the second year of your life be even more incredible and enjoyable for all of us than the first.

My Jude

January 28, 2013

So it’s happened. That thing I’ve been avoiding thinking about for the last month or so. That thing that I knew was just around the corner, but still refused to acknowledge till it was upon me.

My baby boy turned one.

I have such mixed feelings about this milestone that I really can’t make up my mind where I fall on the matter.

I’m sad. Of COURSE I’m sad. He’s my last baby, and he’s not a baby much longer. Naturally there’s a hefty portion of my heart that is breaking for those sweet stolen moments with a tiny baby in a milk coma. For baby smiles and the ease that comes with a child that doesn’t get into anything.

And I’m excited. There is so much ahead. The next six months are going to be astounding. He’s going to change so much and I’m thrilled to watch it. First steps and more words and continuing to learn to play with his brother.

I realize I don’t talk about him much. So I’ll take this opportunity to sort of record a few things about this little being I pushed into the world a year and a day ago.

My Jude is a sweet boy. He loves giving hugs and kisses. Unfortunately for us, his “hugs” and “kisses” usually involve headbutting us with his rather large noggin. When I walk in the room after coming home from work, he lights up and starts frantically trying to escape his high chair (I usually arrive during dinner). But when Masa comes in? or Gus? it’s the same exact reaction. He loves his family. That much is obvious.

His favorite thing right now is to stare at new people (or people he’s known forever) for a few minutes before lighting up and crooning “HIIIIIII!!!” or even “HIIIII juju!” He loves rolling a ball back and forth, and is beginning to learn how to throw overhand. We might have another sports nut on our hand like our eldest. Jude dances to any scrap of music he hears. He’ll sit back and bounce on his little booty while clapping his hands wildly. It’s even cuter than it sounds. Right now almost everything is either “dat?” or “doo.” And when he wants something he points at it and rotates his wrist back and forth while chanting “doo!?” or “dat!?” or some minor variation thereof.

Despite our earlier beliefs and luck, Jude has not been a stellar sleeper. He’ll sleep train in a few days and be ok for a while but any disruption will set us back. And we’ve had many disruptions. Basically someone has been sick in our house since about Thanksgiving. Jude’s currently in his third round of antibiotics – this time for a double ear infection. We’ve also taken a few weekend trips here or there which always set us back. Contrary to what so many parents I know have vowed, our boys actually DO wake each other up frequently. We are looking forward to a day when we don’t have to have them in the same room anymore.

He’s currently not showing much interest in bipedalism. He pulls up to standing on everything, but beyond that there’s not much yet. He hasn’t stood on his own (that I’ve seen) for more than a split second or so. Only very recently (like yesterday) has he actually consented to walking while holding onto someones hands. Usually he just sinks back down to his general tush and crawls.

The crawling is adorable though, so you won’t find me pushing walking!

Watching my two boys together fills something in my heart that I didn’t even know was lacking. It’s truly the most amazing thing I have witnessed and I hope beyond all hope that they are best friends their whole lives. That no matter what else happens in the world, they always have each other to lean on. That they always have their shared experiences to build on. As much as Jude loves Gus, I know that Gus is also completely enthralled with his baby brother. Even though the shouts of “Juuuu-uuuude!!! Dooooonnn’t!” and the like are already beginning, there’s no one who can get a smile out of my GusGus like his little brother.

So yeah. The whole first birthday thing is bittersweet, that’s for sure. But life, I’ve got to say, is so much more sweet than bitter. I am basking in the beauty every day.

Happy birthday my little jujube. I never knew my heart could be this full.

Grown Up

January 10, 2013

The title of this post might make you think I’m about to lament how fast my baby is growing, and how I can’t keep up, etc. etc.  And while those things may be somewhat true….I’m going to be a bit more self-centered for a minute.

I’m talking about myself.  Friday is my birthday.  I’m turning 32.

32 is one of those numbers that doesn’t really have any official significance, yet somehow it sounds sooooo grown up to me.  I’m turning 32.  Sure, it’s still fairly young in the grand scheme of things.  And sure, I still have so much of my life ahead of me.  And no, I’m not “old” for a new mom by current standards.

But oh my GOD I’m turning 32.

I don’t tend to put a lot of stock in the number of my age.  But now that I’m a mom, and I’ve got a few grey hairs, and a lot more lines around my eyes, it means a little more to me.  There is a child who calls me Mama.  There is a man who calls me his wife, and we’re no longer newlyweds.  I have a career, and have been at the same job for over six years.  I’m not straight out of school, I’m not just starting out in the real world.  I actually live here, and I own property, and I have responsibilities.  LOTS of responsibilities.

I’m turning 32.  It just has such a strange ring to it.  I know when my husband turned 32 he acted like it was a big deal, and I thought he was being melodramatic and having some kind of early mid-life crisis.  But now I can kind of see what he meant.  For some reason this feels like the age at which you simply can’t deny that you’re a grown-up.  We can cover up those dark circles, squeeze our hips into boot cut jeans, dye our hair, do what we have to to look younger.  But we’re still grown ups, and there’s no denying it.

I’m not concerned or sad about this.  It’s just a very strange feeling.  At some point I grew up, and I feel like I didn’t even notice.

That said, I still make up silly songs about my cats and my baby, and I still talk in funny voices and make strange sound effects for my own amusement.  I still get the giggles when people say inappropriate things.  I still get giddy when we see animals while we’re out and about, and I still do a little jig and wave my arms somewhat manically when I’m really excited (something my son has apparently inherited from me).  I’m not OLD, people.  I’m just grown up.  I don’t have any plans to become the former any time soon.

out with the old, in with the new

January 1, 2013

In the venerable words of the Counting Crows: It’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe, maybe this month will be better than the last.

Ok maybe that’s not exactly how the song goes, but it’s how I feel right now. December has been a sick month in our house. It’s been going around and around and each bug seems worse than the one before.

This New Year is bittersweet for me. Leaving 2012 behind means leaving behind parts of my life that I will always hold dear. Pregnancy. Childbirth. Those first few weeks with a newborn that, as hard as they are, are so blissful. So insulated from the world. These are no small ticket items in my heart. And I have to admit to being a little choked at the thought of bidding goodbye to a year that held so much.

Like Laura, I think 2012 will be a hard one to top. And that’s ok. In every life there must be a best year. And I do hope mine is ahead. But if ever a year outshines 2012, I know it will always rank among the rare few at the very very top.

Gosh I didn’t think I’d be so emotional. Maybe it’s because my dear aunt Flo decided to crash our New Year’s celebration.  Maybe it’s because sleep has been scarce and amoxicillin abundant in our home. Maybe I just really loved being pregnant, giving birth, and wondering over a new baby on both occasions that I have been so so incredibly lucky to experience. Maybe I am a little sad it’s over.

But all of that is SO last year… on to 2013! Let’s look forward.

In order to stop my wallowing weirdness I’m going to make a top ten list of things I’m looking forward to in 2013!

1. My baby sister’s wedding in July. She picked out her wedding dress this weekend and oh my goodness my baby sister is getting MARRIED.
2. Jude’s firsts: steps. words. tantrums.
3. Masa getting the Big Snip. (yes, contrary to my angstiness above, I’m looking forward to this. more thoughts at a later date.)
4. Finding a home that we can raise our boys in for the next couple of decades.
5. Family camping trip(s).
6. Seeing a good friend of mine through the first few months of motherhood. She’s due in March and I’m so excited for them.
7. Not having to worry about saving up leave time anymore. The last few years have been all about conserving leave for maternity. Now I get to take a sick day when I need it without worrying it will cost me time away from my future baby.
8. Getting back into running. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this one.
9. Sleep. Sleep has been a disaster in our house, for many varied and compounded reasons. But by a year from now, things have to be better. Right? … right?
10. Last but not least! Masa and I will have been together for 10 years in May. I’m looking forward to this milestone in our relationship. Heck maybe we’ll even try to take a romantic night away. Or maybe we’ll just smile at each other over the chaos and know that these – all of these – are the best years of our lives.

Happy New Year friends. May love find you, laughter bless you and happiness grace your 2013.


Farewell to the Best Year Ever

December 31, 2012

I’m not trying to set myself up for disappointment in the next year.  I know every year new adventures await us, and 2013 may prove to be even more amazing than 2012.  Maybe.  Possibly.  But I have to say, I kind of doubt it.

2012 was, hands down, the most significant and incredible year of my life.  I finally got to meet this tiny person who made big deep grooves in my heart (in a good way) and entrenched himself there for all eternity.  This little man who started out as a squishy, chubby new baby.   He took over our home and our lives and everything that we held dear.  And I can’t imagine ever experiencing anything so wonderful again for the rest of my life.  I’ll let you know if I do, believe me.

Ethan, fresh out of the box

Ethan, fresh out of the box, with Daddy

I got to stay home from work almost the entire year, which was the greatest blessing ever.  I got to see my husband as a father.  I got to see myself as a mother.  It’s all been an unbelievable ride.

So now we enter into a new year, and our little baby will become a toddler.  He will get cuter every day, I’m sure.  He’ll continue to amaze us with how quickly he learns new skills and sounds and even words.  He will continue to be the greatest love of our lives.  And perhaps a year from now I’ll look back in disbelief at 2013 and say it was EVEN BETTER than 2012.  I’ll try to keep my mind open.  This year will be a tough one to top.

Happy new year!

Happy new year!

twenty babies.

December 15, 2012

Yesterday, I took Gus on Autopia at Disneyland. He drove, and I got a glimpse into my future just twelve short years from now.

When we left the ride and found Masa and Jude, I checked my phone. There was a text from my step-father letting me know that he’d spoken with my brother-in-law. That my sister and her family were all ok.

I looked at Masa quizzically, showing him the text message. “Oh yeah,” he said, then lowered his voice, “there was a mass shooting at an elementary school near the town where your sister lives. I just saw the headline as you were coming off the ride.”

Mass Shooting. Elementary School. Four words so completely incongruous with my surroundings, somewhere between Captain EO and Space Mountain.

He said the name of the school and I knew that it wasn’t the one my eight-year-old nephew attends. There was relief for an instant, but only an instant. Because there were twenty nephews, and nieces, and sisters and brothers. Twenty babies of mothers and fathers who believed that in a few fleeting years they’d be teaching those babies to drive. Who packed lunches while prodding those babies for the sixteenth time to put on their socks and wear their jackets. Mothers and Fathers who’d held every hurt and calmed every fear and always laid them down on their backs in the crib because you do everything EVERYTHING you can do to protect your babies.

Twenty babies.

And you know what I keep coming back to? Its not the families or the parents or the politics of guns. Though god knows I ache ACHE for those parents and families. But what I keep coming back to is how terrified those little ones must have been. How confused. How desperately they must have wanted their mothers. And how their heartbroken, flattened, mothers would have taken their places in a heartbeat. This is what I haven’t been able to get past quite yet.

It’s times like these that I hope, against all of my usual beliefs, that there is a God out there somewhere. And that those angels – all twenty-six of them – are being held tight in loving arms right now.

I’m sorry. I don’t have anything constructive to say here. I don’t have any light to shed or political rantings to put forth.  The news trickles in and I can’t read past the headlines. They say that teacher hid her students in cupboards. That she saved them all. I’ve looked at her picture a lot. I hope she knows what she did.

Mostly, it just hurts. It hurts a lot.

And I wanted to write it out.