Bluebonnets 2016

Taking bluebonnet pictures has never been easy, but it’s verifiably harder with two small children, particularly if one hasn’t had a nap. And spits up a lot. And your camera remote is dead. And your trusty traditional bluebonnet field has gone barren. At least there weren’t any bees…

Anyway, we did it, so here they are.

Bluebonnets 2016-13

First up: the baby. I forgot she can’t sit up yet.

Bluebonnets 2016-15

She never quite nabbed a flower, but she did make it back to the car with a fistful of grass.

Bluebonnets 2016-18

Bluebonnetty Liana 2016

Bluebonnets 2016-9

Liana, having resigned herself to being Talia’s teddy bear

Bluebonnets 2016-8

Talia being mischievous…and wearing 4-5 hair accessories

Bluebonnets 2016-34

A close-up of those hair accessories

Bluebonnets 2016-5

Happy Talia

Bluebonnets 2016-20

Bluebonnetty Family Photo 2016, the Happy Talia Version

Bluebonnets 2016-26

Bluebonnetty Family Photo 2016, the Attentive Liana Version

Bluebonnets 2016-1

And that’s a wrap! Byeeee!

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Liana: 4 Months!

Liana turned 4 months old on Tuesday (February 23). It has been a big month! Mommy went back to work on January 25, so Liana started daycare. It took her a week to learn how to sleep at school and three weeks to get sick. We’ve got our routine down now, but woe be to us if we forget any of the 10 steps of nightly preparedness.

The Picture



Strawberry Shortcake

[More pictures at the end.]


4 months comes with a well check, so these numbers are as official as a doctor’s office can get.

Weight: 15lbs, 75th percentile

Height: 24.5″, 50th percentile

Head: 41cm, 75th percentile

Things We Should Remember

Sleeping patterns: Daycare and daycare illness threw sleep into all kinds of chaos. During the first week of daycare, Liana didn’t sleep too much at school, but instead of having terrible evenings like my sleep book predicted, my tired baby actually went to sleep! For 13 hours! It was amazing, though kind of sad. She was asleep the whole time we were together.

Then she learned how to sleep at school (the secret: thumb-sucking), so she stayed awake for an hour or so before bedtime at home and then started waking maybe once a night again.

Then she got sick and started waking 3 times a night. That hadn’t happened since she was 3 weeks old. The nostalgia didn’t outweigh the misery.

Now we’re back to normal…3 naps a day, bed time between 6 and 8, waking once somewhere between 2 and 5, and up for the day around 7. This is so reliable that I negotiated a pact with Jonathan to cover all the mid-night putting-to-sleep responsibilities because it’s actually a fair time split with my mid-night feeding responsibilities.

Oh, and we’re still swaddling. And she’s in her own room now.

I guess it was a big month for sleep.

Eating habits: I was suuuuuuper stressed about planning a feeding schedule for daycare, all for naught. At first I thought I had to specify the same time every day for her to eat, so I tried hard to arrive at daycare the same time every morning, nurse her right before I left (even if it hadn’t been too long since she last ate), and then leave work earlyish so I could nurse her at the end of the day. That resulted in a crazy surplus of milk from pumping, and a week in I learned that the schedule could just be “every three hours” based on the last time she ate at home. So that’s what it is.

She drinks three 4oz bottles at school every day, and I haven’t had much trouble keeping up. Wrangling the pump and all of its parts was kind of a pain the first week, but I bought a new pump bag that fits everything better, including my laptop! Now that I’ve been doing this for a month, I have a very solid routine for getting all my pump parts to work and then making bottles in the evening.

New discoveries:

  • The Nose Frida?
  • Grabbing the Nose Frida renders it totally ineffective?
  • Her thumb, as distinct from her whole hand.


  • Rolling over from front to back! She did it four times in a row on the 21st. The first time, it seemed like she just moved her head far enough to the left to throw herself off balance. She landed on her side, and it took her another 5 minutes to finish the roll.
  • Grabbing things. Well, that’s at least what I told the doctor. She’s definitely grabbing things as of this writing (2/28), but I honestly don’t know the first day she did it. Oh wait! Grabbing the Nose Frida totally counts! So yeah, grabbing things.

The Parent Stuff

  • Recovery: I slept on my stomach for the first time since April 2015. With that, I think I’m out of recovery milestones for the next few months…I’ll check back in when I reach pre-baby weight (which, per the aforementioned weight-loss challenge, won’t happen until late this year. Otherwise, I’ll be out of weight to lose, and that will have monetary ramifications ;) ).
  • Back to work: It was harder going back to work this time than it had been with Talia, maybe because I have more work responsibilities and stresses these days, or maybe because I’m trying to be more mindful of baby moments. Of course, now that I’m back and engaged in the challenges and creativity of my job, I am grateful to have the balance of mommy time and work time. If only I can continue to keep the work time from invading home life…
  • Moving update: We set a closing date on our new house – April 6! We probably won’t put the current house on the market until after we move (too hard to keep it show-worthy with cats and little people messing it up on a daily basis). We’ve been slogging through our packing chores, though. Seriously, I’ve been packing for SIX MONTHS now, even with my Marie Kondo mentality. 
  • Goodbye Kia Optima? On the 24th (technically part of Liana’s 5th month, but it’s on my mind), our little Kia Optima got shoved underneath a school bus. The bus had stopped before some railroad tracks, and I had stopped behind it, but the car behind me didn’t stop. It pushed my car into/under the bus, and the hood crumpled up in front of me. No one was hurt (I’d just dropped Liana off at daycare, so I was the only one in the car), but it was rather terrifying. We should find out tomorrow whether the car was totaled or not. Many thanks to David and Greg for letting us borrow their extra car in the meantime.

Runner-Up Pictures


Everything’s hilarious


But seriously, as I was saying…


Striking a power pose



And, in honor of Grandma Jackie’s fondness for babies dressed as strawberries, here’s our whole strawberry heritage:


Sarah, 1981 – 7 months

Talia, 2012 - 6 weeks

Talia, 2012 – 6 weeks

Liana, 2016 - 4 months

Liana, 2016 – 4 months

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Liana: 100 Days!

Sunday (January 31) was Liana’s 100 Day day! I owe my second child just as much kindergarten pre-homework as my first, so here are her 100 Day pictures:


I’m a happy baby!


I can be adorable even if I’m not smiling.

Proof that she looks at faces.

Proof that I look at faces. And they make me smile.

This is exhausting.

This is exhausting. Goodnight.

And now, just for kicks, here are the sisters, side by side (same 100 chart!):

Indeed, a baby born on the first day of kindergarten would look approximately like this on the 100th day.




So, Talia had a lengthy 100 day post because I’d been too sleep-deprived to post monthly updates. Liana, on the other hand, sleeps, so you already know what’s going on with her. Therefore, judge my devotion to this second child not by the length of this post but rather by the fact that it exists at all given that the first child is now a monster toddler (by her own admission, more or less…pretending to be a monster is a favorite game of hers).

Accomplishments (abbreviated)

Longest sleep: 13 hours!!!! Daycare wiped her out last week. She’s regained the ability to wake in the middle of the night this week.

Everything else is pretty much the same as it was in the 3 Month post.


Song: “Part of That World” from the Little Mermaid. I sing it to her on the way to daycare every day, making it her favorite because I say so.

BookBunny’s Noisy Book, because it’s the only book with words that we’ve managed to read her more than once. Maybe that’s not entirely true…we read Shapes somewhat regularly, but it’s not so much a story as it is a list of shapes.

Toys: Hmm. Footy Giraffe? The lamb Talia gave her when she was born? Anything we dangle in front of her face?

Parental Adjustments

Parenting is still hard, but we’ve got some routines nowadays, so 2 kids haven’t totally destroyed us yet. Here are some things.

  • Breastfeeding is still okay. Liana doesn’t really complain much when she’s hungry, so I feed her more on a schedule than on demand, maybe every 3 hours during the day these days? That’s what they do at daycare anyway…4oz ever 3 hours. She’s gaining a million ounces a month.
  • As previously mentioned, Liana is a sleep expert. We haven’t started sleep training yet, but given that she already sleeps through the night, I’m not terribly worried about it. Watch me regret those words in a month…
  • We’ve been on our own without mother-in-law help for a few days now, and we’ve actually been eating dinner (and some lunches) from the grocery store (or freezer)! I was going to give us a pass this week on eating out while we adjusted to life on our own, but that hasn’t been necessary.
  • I started back at work on January 25th. That was hard. I’ve got the routine down now, but I do miss the baby. And I barely get to see Talia because I leave with Liana right as Talia is waking up. That’s temporary…eventually they’ll be on similar schedules, but I miss her, too.

Okay, it’s bed time for Mommy. Sleep while the baby sleeps. Indeed. Bye.

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Liana Ruth: Month 3

My little newborn is now a great big baby, having passed the three month mark last weekend. I can barely cradle her with one arm anymore! I don’t really know how it happened…based on her milk bottle consumption, she doesn’t eat any more than Talia ever did. I suspect she might take after the Dover side of the family…I’ve got some tall relatives.

The Picture

Liana 2 Month-51

The month of hand-chewing

[More pictures at the end.]


I don’t have doctor stats for this month because there wasn’t a well-check, but we think she’s around 14lbs based on our imprecise baby-weighing measures.

Things We Should Remember

Sleeping patterns: Although inconsistent, Liana started sleeping through the night this month. Technically, I think that means more than five hours, but she made it to eight or nine hours a couple of times. Near the end of the month, she established a pattern of sleeping long and soundly for her first shift and then verrrry restlessly for another hour or two. That compelled me to finalllllly figure out how to side-nurse, a feat I never accomplished with Talia. Liana figured it out, and that let the two of us sleep in until 10 or 11am for a few days!

On the difficult side, Liana finally started fussing in the evenings, so we often had to earn her long sleeps with a few hours of rocking, bouncing, and nursing. She also finally became more sensitive to nearby noise, so we’ve been whispering a lot more while she sleeps.

Eating habits: Nothing much changed since last month. Liana continued to eat a lot during the day and less at night. I started pumping after feeding her after her long sleep, often getting 4-5oz, so we’ve built up a decent stockpile of frozen milk.

New discoveries: I THINK she figured out that she can bat at her hanging toys and rock her chair by kicking.


  • Sleeping through the night.
  • Breaking out of her swaddle sack…I suspect next month might be the last of swaddling.
  • Lots more social smiling, especially after eating.
  • Enduring tummy time without freaking out…much appreciated by all involved.
  • Chewing her hands. For most of the month, she WANTED to chew her hands, but she couldn’t help but punch herself in the face while trying.

The Parent Stuff

  • Recovery: I FINALLY felt mostly normal again, even enough to go “jogging” a couple of times with Liana in my jogging stroller. I won’t say I enjoyed it, but I did it.
  • Date nights! Because Jonathan’s mom came back to help out for a few weeks after the holidays, Jonathan and I escaped the house for a couple of dinners alone. Having a few hours alone together, with or without dinner, is still a coveted treat right now.
  • Being healthy: Jonathan and I joined a year-long weight-loss/healthy living challenge that seems to have provided the right amount of motivation to at least eat a bunch of vegetables. Maybe I’ll post more about it elsewhere (I know, I always say that), but the challenge is designed in such a way as to encourage forming good habits instead of unsustainable dieting. Besides meeting our first goal, one of my prouder accomplishments was finding a sweet potato recipe that Jonathan actually liked! See the “smoky sweet potato” recipe here. It’s delicious.
  • “Cooking” with Talia: As part of this drive to be healthy, we took Talia to the farmers’ market to pick out some vegetables (dino kale and rainbow carrots), and we let her use a table knife to cut up some soft fruits for fruit salads. I was especially pleased  with our “chopping” party…we actually did something (however small) productive and cohesive as a family. If we’re going to maintain a household of any sort, I think we’ll have to figure out more of these kinds of activities.

Runner-Up Pictures

This might be a better picture, but it lacks the parrot.

This might be a better picture, but it lacks the parrot.

This might be the current Best Picture Ever, but it also lacks the parrot.

This might be the current Best Picture Ever, but it also lacks the parrot.

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Liana Ruth: Month 2 (only a month late…)

Month 2 = November 23 – December 22

I’m playing catch-up on the past two months of baby life. In an unforeseen turn of events, starting daycare this week is yielding a “natural” bedtime for Liana of 7:00 (which we weren’t expecting for another month or two), and she sleeps like a log. Not a baby, a log. So, I seem to have more time in the evenings now than I did while on maternity leave. True, I spend most of that time washing bottles and pump parts and spit-up stains, but tonight I might be forgetting something I’m supposed to do, so I have time to do this.

The Picture

Liana 2 Month-26

Ho ho ho…from tropical parrot-land…


  • Weight: 12lbs !!! Talia was only 10 lbs at this age.
  • Length: 23.5″

Things We Should Remember

  • Sleeping patterns: Starting to have longer sleep periods at night (3-4 hour chunks instead of 1.5-2), but we can’t predict whether the long sleep will be early or late. That means it’s impossible for me and Jonathan to take turns sleeping through the long sleep. During the day, she sometimes sleeps without her swaddle sack, but the difference in wakefulness is noticeable enough that we still swaddle her most of the time.
  • Eating habits: Longer sleep at night means more eating during the day. Thus, we couldn’t always count on 3 hours between feedings, which made it harder to schedule things. I started pumping at 5 weeks a few times a week at night just so we could give Liana her first bottle before the 6 week “deadline”. She took the bottle well, and it didn’t ruin nursing forever. She drinks 4 oz. at each feeding.
  • New discoveries: Liana seemed to enjoy lying on her back on her play mat and cooing at things hanging above her, thereby indicating that she can focus on things hanging above her.
  • Accomplishments: Smiling socially, cooing at toys, holding her head up longer, growing a ton, riding calmly in the car, and waiting calmly in line for 4 hours to get Franklin BBQ. Overall, being calm.

The Parent Stuff

  • Recovery: I still didn’t feel optimally healthy. At my 8-week follow-up appointment, I still had significant pelvic joint pain. The doctor said that wasn’t unheard of and that I should do pilates or walk or something. So I walked, and that hurt more.
  • Taking care of two kids: This was the first month that we were on our own, Jonathan’s mom having gone home. As a result, we basically each owned a kid. Jonathan chauffeured Talia to school every day and handled her bed time routine. I did all Liana stuff until after Talia was in bed. Then we’d transition to our alternating sleep routine. On weekends, Jonathan took Talia to parks or out tricycling, but because I was watching Liana, my weekend days felt very similar to my weekdays. We successfully went to a restaurant as a foursome, and no one screamed.
  • Watching TV: This might have been the month when the Second Child Syndrome set in. In particular, whereas we had a strict rule that Newborn Talia would never see the light of a tv screen while she was awake, Newborn Liana has now been exposed to at least 8 series. Granted, I wasn’t showing them TO her…I was just watching them while I rocked her to sleep seven times a day. Within the span of a one month (starting this month and ending soon after New Years), I watched the following series in their entirety:
    • Master of None
    • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
    • Grace and Frankie
    • Agents of Shield
    • Transparent
    • Bojack Horseman (including the Christmas special!)
    • Man in the High Castle
    • Making a Murderer
    • All of these were worth watching except Grace and Frankie. Nevertheless, I’ll probably watch the next season when it comes out.
  • Jonathan’s birthday: Despite juggling two little kids, we were able to celebrate Jonathan’s birthday a little. Just a little. Some people came to play games, we ate ice cream, and I managed to cover all the Liana night shifts for a solid night without crumbling (thanks to TV!). As a gift, I copped out and promised 35 days of undesirable chores (taking out the trash and cleaning the litter box). As of this writing, those 35 days have technically expired, but I didn’t realize that until now.

Runner-Up Pictures

Liana 2 Month-27

There’s a smile of sorts…

Liana 2 Month-22

Indeed, a right jolly old elf! Now, if we could only get her to look at the camera at the same time. Maybe next month…

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2015 Status: Complete

I’ve been trying to figure out how to summarize last year so that I can move on to other things, so I’m borrowing (well, stealing) this idea from Laura. Chronology is a lot easier than assigning meaning to anything :)

Here are one or two memories from each month of 2015!

January: As with most years, I started with a renewed “commitment” to “exercise” that mainly involved walking on a treadmill every day slowly enough to read at the same time. I’m not sure that lasted more than a month, but I finished the following books:

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Keep only the things that bring you joy, and you’ll truly be able to have a place for everything…because you’ll have so few things. I’ve been working toward that idea ever since.
  • Being Mortal: About balancing the lives that medicine enables with the lives that patients actually want. A really good read.
  • You Can Buy Happiness (And It’s Cheap!): How someone simplified her life and ended up in a tiny house. Not as affecting as the other two books.

February:  We found out we were having a baby! Jonathan made us steaks to celebrate (because I asked him “would you make me a steak if I told you I was pregnant?” And he said yes. So I told him I was pregnant). We didn’t tell Talia until we told the rest of the world a few months later. I also started working significant overtime to develop a hefty training series for work. Despite the extra hours, it was kind of invigorating to be working on a project like that.

March: I maintained my time-and-a-half work schedule throughout the month, and I generally felt blah because of the pregnancy. Ergo, no more walking-and-reading or really much of anything other than work.

April: I finally delivered the 2-week training series and returned to a normal work schedule, so the second half of the month was a lot less stressful. We found out we were having a girl at 12 weeks because her due date was immediately after I would turn 35, so I qualified for early testing. Advanced maternal age FTW! 

May: I don’t actually know what happened in May, so I had to look in my daily sentence journal. Seems that, inspired by that magic cleaning book, we had a garage sale. I’m borderline addicted to having garage sales…I always swear that each will be the last, but this was our fourth. And last. Jonathan and I then spent many evenings playing Paperback, a word-building game that works just dandy with two players. We have a vested interest in finding in-home entertainment like this for the next several years.

June: Jonathan and I took a kid-less trip to Toronto to coincide with a scrum training that he was giving. We visited the CT Tower, Casa Loma (North America’s only castle! From the same time period as Downton Abbey (sort of)!), and Niagara Falls. When we got home, we were inspired by the Ryckmans to start searching for a different house, an idea we’d floated but dropped earlier in the year.

July: We all drove to New Orleans for the 4th of July. There, we took Talia to the zoo (somehow, we only go to that zoo during the summers when I’m pregnant). For the rest of the month, we spent our weekends going to open houses to no avail. However, I stumbled across a house with the loveliest floorplan in Leander, arranged to see it (we hadn’t hired a realtor yet), and learned that we could build one of our own in Pflugerville. Not that Pflugerville was our dream destination, but it was significantly cheaper than Leander, and the drive is a little more fluid.

August: We signed the contract to start building that new house in Pflugerville and then spent all our free time trying to pick out finishes for it (counter tops, backsplashes, floors, etc.). I should print out all the spreadsheets we created…they’d make a riveting scrapbook. We also took Talia to see Greg in the Austin Summer Musical for Children, her first experience going to a “show”. Having volunteered several times to sell tickets and other paraphernalia at that event before having kids, it was neat to be bona fide audience members for once. Last, the 23rd was my fifth NI-versary at work, at which point I officially had been a tech writer longer than I had been a teacher. Weird.

September: Over Labor Day, the three of us drove to Cache, Oklahoma, to visit James and Kristen. We probably got food poisoning at the Cracker Barrel we ate at along the way. In Cache, we drove up to the top of Mt. Scott, ate pears off of James’s mystery fruit tree, and played early ’80’s Candy Land, which is far superior to modern-day Candy Land (which I’d sold at our April garage sale). I was also increasingly uncomfortably pregnant, so I think Jonathan took over bath/bedtime duties with Talia during this month.

October: Forevermore the busiest month of the year. We had another final garage sale on the 10th, Talia’s 3rd birthday party at Kiddie Acres on the 11th, my birthday on the 22nd, a new baby on the 23rd, and Halloween on the 31st (no party for us this year, but Talia went trick-or-treating as Oscar the Grouch). I won a trainer award at work, which was a nice way to wrap up a busy year before maternity leave. Baby-wise, Liana proved to be a very calm, predictable newborn with nursing superpowers, so we got off to a smooth start, even getting to sleep 2 hours at a time.

November: Jonathan’s mom stayed with us right up until Thanksgiving to help with Talia and Liana. That gave me a chance to complete some odd projects like baby books and sleeping. My friend Chad came to visit, and we stood in line for Franklin BBQ with the baby. For Thanksgiving, we stayed here and had dinner by ourselves, ordering food from Whole Foods. That food tasted pretty “whole”, i.e. not salty and overly healthy.

December: I kept busy with Christmas stuff throughout most of the month: making cards, writing letters, decorating, not baking. Meanwhile, Jonathan installed a new cooktop and microwave to finish stainless-steelifying the kitchen to improve resale value. That was a lengthy battle that he won just in time for Christmas. We hosted three Christmases at our house: the Mendezes, the Dovers, and Santa. Talia had lots of fun. Liana may have slept for five hours once. The rest of us are still waiting for our long winter’s nap.

And, since I know everyone’s on the edge of their seats, here’s our Christmas ornament for 2015:

Liana's handprint

Liana’s handprint

Yeah, that probably wasn’t a surprise, but here are some fun facts for posterity:

  • Talia helped make the dough.
  • I was going to paint it white like Talia’s, but then I realized I’d sold the white paint at a garage sale because it wasn’t bringing me joy.
  • The lack of hanger in this picture betrays that I didn’t finish this in time to actually hang on the tree.
  • In addition to this ornament, we also got a lacquered maple leaf on our trip to Toronto because we decided that ornaments might be a fun souvenir to start collecting from our vacations. Vacation ornaments won’t displace our “ornament of the year”, but they do increase the story-telling power of the tree. I actually kiiiind of started this last year with a buffalo ornament from our trip to Woolaroc on Talia’s second birthday, but this is the second year that I misplaced it before decorating the tree.

One last thing about ornaments. Talia took an interest in them this year, so as she handled each one, I told her where it came from, who made it, why we have it, etc. There were commemorations of adventures that Jonathan and I had had, baby’s first ornaments, and handmade trinkets from multiple generations. Suddenly, and without careful planning, the Christmas tree had become the device for an oral tradition that I’d always kind of hoped it would be. And so, as we continue building our own traditions for the holiday season, I’m pleased that Christmas can be a time of remembering and sharing the people and stories that have shaped our lives.

Now, on to 2016!

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Talia Project: Finished!

I’m apparently a sucker for Shutterfly discounts. Twice in the past month I’ve ended up with an offer for a “free” photo book, twice I’ve thought “I should quickly whip something together to take advantage of this”, twice I’ve spent 2-3 days of precious nap breaks “quickly” making something, and twice that “free” something has cost me at least $20. And I don’t even like Shutterfly, which makes me feel disloyal to Adoramapix.

That said, I’m really excited about the little book I made Talia for Christmas. Behold, the Talia’s Family book:

Remember, this was just "whipped together"...

I was pleased with the variety of “personality” I found in my family picture stash.

Each inside spread followed this same pattern. There is one spread for each person on the cover. And the cats.

There is one spread like this for each person on the cover. And the cats…they just didn’t make the cut for the cover.

I think this book is perhaps a perfect combination of Talia’s interests at the moment. She’s rather obsessed with both the concept of family members as well as the specific names of all her family members. She asks me and Jonathan multiple times a day “What’s your mommy’s name? What’s your daddy’s name? What’s your mommy’s and daddy’s name?” On top of that, she also likes asking what letter a word starts with. She can identify a few capital letters in print…specifically those that begin some of our names. Sooo, I’d like to think that this is a meaningful way for her to start searching for those letters in a context that she understands. I’m not at all pushing her to read right now…just responding to her cues :)

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Piano Ad and Days 5-7 Status

As previously mentioned sort of, we’re selling some things prior to moving in a few months. A nearly-antique grand piano is one of those things…perhaps you know someone who might be interested:

Beautiful 1920’s Knabe Grand Piano (Craigslist ad)

I hand-scrubbed each of those keys.

I hand-scrubbed each of those keys.

I inherited this piano from my uncle, who was a talented musician. I’ve enjoyed it for over ten years, first at my mom’s house and then in our current house. In fact, one of the criteria when selecting our current house was a space for this piano, and we knocked down a wall to create one. However, time has proven that I am not a talented musician (or at least not a devoted one who can justify maintaining and storing 2.5 pianos in her house), work has shown me that life is a battle of priorities, and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has taught me that it’s okay to say goodbye to things after they have fulfilled their purpose in your life. So, thank you, piano, for enriching our lives, and may you find a worthy new home.


In other news…status!

It took 3 days, but I accomplished my goals for last Friday. Goal debt doesn’t affect my credit score, right?


  • Spiffied the piano up a bit, took some pictures, and posted my Craigslist ad. Turns out that cleaning piano keys isn’t the smartest idea while the baby is sleeping.
  • Packed not one, not two, but more than two boxes!
  • Went to doctor and got clearance to stop worrying about aches and pains. Everything will go away eventually. In fact, I can do whatever I want to do, so I walked around with Liana quite a bit yesterday. Now I’m sorer, so “whatever I want to do” = nothing at the moment.
  • Ate all the food I’d made last week! Me:1, Leftovers: 0.
  • Watched all of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt while putting Liana to sleep. Netflix better not run out of original serieses before Liana learns to sleep through the night.


  • Pack more boxes, or perhaps make box-packing schedule.
  • Take donation items to Goodwill.
  • Sell cds from turn of the century.
  • Make one of Talia’s Christmas presents? Heads-up: This might take more than one day.
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Days 3 and 4 Status Report


  • Totally snagged my own scrummaster, got photos taken, finished Christmas card, and placed my order!
    • This picture of Talia showing off her use of adult toe socks as leggings did not make the cut.

      This picture of Talia showing off her use of adult toe socks as leggings did NOT make the cut.

  • Completed and executed on “Christmas research” to surprise Jonathan and Talia:
    • One quarter of our outdoor light stash. I think this is all that's going up this year.

      One quarter of our outdoor light stash. I think this is all that’s going up this year.

      My trusty supervisor. I wore her for the foliage lights, but my back didn't like the extra weight when bending for the stake lights.

      My supervisor, demanding attention. I wore her for the foliage lights, but my back didn’t like the extra weight when bending for the stake lights.

      You might wonder why hanging Christmas lights required “research”. Mainly, it had been a few years since we put up lights (pre-Talia, in fact), so I couldn’t even tell you where the lights were, let alone if they worked.

  • Finished 1 Month page in baby book as well as corresponding blog post.
  • Visited new house:
    • Masonry in progress

      Masonry in progress

  • Made my HEB lasagna meal deal for dinner. It’s the first time Talia cleaned her plate this month.
  • Watched all of Master of None during futile attempts to put Liana to sleep.  Irrationally thrilled that a whole episode and perhaps the entire season hinged on the fig tree analogy from The Bell Jar. I don’t always allude to literature, but when I do, I prefer the fig tree analogy.

Day 5 Goals

  • Attend 6-week follow-up appointment and ask doctor complete list of hypochondriac questions.
  • Clean piano and post ad (does anyone want to buy a grand piano?)
  • Pack a box?
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Liana Ruth: 1 Month Old

Disclaimer: Liana turned 1 month old on November 23, but today is December 2. I started writing this BEFORE November 23, yet it still took me over a week to publish it. Anyway, the point is, the timeframe of this post ends on November 23, not today.

One newborn month down, two more to go! Not that I’m counting. Because, surprisingly, I’m not. That said, I’m looking forward to exploiting Liana’s new superpower during Month 2, eating at untimed intervals! This means that there’s a 2% chance that we’ll get to sleep more than 2.5 hours at a time because we no longer have to wake her up to eat every 3 hours!

One Month Old!

One Month Old!

[More pictures near the end]

According to her baby book, here are the Things We Should Remember:

  • Sleeping patterns: Liana sleeps reliably for 1.5-2 hours between feedings, and sometimes we have to wake her up.
  • Eating habits: She nurses well, upwards of 8 times a day. Although this has gone much more swimmingly than with Talia, it should be noted that nursing is still difficult sometimes…sometimes it still hurts, sometimes I get worried that she’s not eating enough, etc. The big mental difference for me, though, is that I’ve learned that most problems pass and/or mutate into a different problem within a day or two. Nothing feels as doomful as it did with Talia.
  • New discoveries: Not sure what to expect a newborn to discover within her first month. I wrote “Faces?” in the baby book.
  • Accomplishments: Lifting her head, using a pacifier, and requiring 9 new burp cloths to keep pace with spit up.

The Parent Stuff

It occurs to me that, as a record of an era, a baby book misses half the story: that of us parents. This isn’t exactly an exercise in narcissism; rather, since Talia was born, I’ve felt a little like I’m reliving my own childhood, just through my parents’ eyes. I already had my own memories of reading books, sleeping in a big girl bed, and even meeting a new sibling, but now I’m reliving those same scenes from the other side. The shift in perspective helps me understand now why my dad might not have wanted to play Candy Land fifty times a day (but was happy enough to play three) or why he might have needed to “rest his eyes” sometimes in the evening. I know why my mom recorded a dozen audio cassettes of babies sleeping that surely no one but her would really want to listen to. Among other things, parenting is a balance of your own health and needs with absorbing the fleeting magic of each stage in your kids’ lives.

All that is to say that, if I’m going to capture the Kid Magic stuff (which “eats 8 times a day” surely represents…surely…), I should also document the Parent Life stuff. The Kid Magic is for me. The Parent Life is for the kids…in 35 years…

  • Recovery: I’ve been focused on healing from my c-section and trying not to feel guilty for letting Chay and Jonathan do so much work. During my first week home, I read a timely article about how strange it is that American culture dotes on and coddles pregnant women but then expects a new mom to bounce right back to her regular self ASAP after the baby is born. That’s not how it works. In my post-c-section case, I was on heavy painkillers the first two weeks, lesser painkillers the next two weeks, and still sore in a number of places throughout. Unlike with my first pregnancy, my pelvic joints still ache a month later, making me reluctant to move around as much as I might like. Therefore, I’m SO grateful to have a husband and family that appreciate these realities even though maternity leave makes it seem like I should have time to transform into Super Mom. That time is maybe enough to transform into Shadow of Former Self.
  • Doing non-baby things: During Liana’s naps, I’ve worked on several projects: baby books for both girls, a photo book of our Kalalau Trail hike last year, packing for the move in a few months, and sleeping. Honestly, though, I’m going a bit stir crazy. Not being able to drive or go upstairs severely limited my options, so I’m looking forward to expanding my agenda next month. Jonathan, for his part, was able to return to work within the second week. He’s made it out of the house for a couple of social things, and he’s spent a fair amount of his limited free time processing and editing photos.
  • Pros and cons of knowing what we’re doing: In a weird contradiction of expectations, having an easy newborn and a more rehearsed approach to sharing childcare duties seems to create a bit of isolation between Jonathan and me. On weekends, we’re each unofficially in charge of a single child, which often leads Jonathan out of the house with Talia while I watch Liana. Overnight, we have separate shifts with the baby to allow the other person to get good rest in the silence of the guest room, away from the goat noises of our sweetly sleeping newborn. These strategies make things a lot more manageable but at the expense of the shared “fight-for-our-sanity” struggles we endured with newborn Talia.
  • Typical evenings: That said, we have a good hour of evening time most nights for eating dinner together and watching taped Stephen Colbert and John Oliver shows.
  • Looking forward to things: THAT said, I’m looking forward to the 1.5 weeks of vacation that Jonathan has to spend in December during Month 2 :)

The Runner-Up Pictures

Here are a few other pictures from Liana’s 1-Month Photoshoot.

Liana 1 Month-11

Yawning newborns are cute because they put their whole body into it.

This is a more accurate portrayal of the photoshoot. Most of the pictures are from a split-second after I removed my hand.

This is a more accurate portrayal of the photoshoot. Most of the pictures are from a split-second after I removed my hand.

If you wait too long, she slunk down into the newborn blog that you might expect.

If you wait too long, she slinks down into the newborn blob that you might expect. With the pictures we took, we could make a great stop-motion video of her slowly blobbulating and then tumbling over.

A Note about the Parrot

Sadly, we aren’t taking Liana’s picture with the Talia Tree because of our pending move in the spring. Sunny G.G. Parrot is our replacement. It’s a nice replacement…my uncle Greg won it for me at Worlds of Fun circa 1995, and it’s clearly held up well for a carnival prize (unlike Teddy, a small bear my dad won for me circa 1983. I still have Teddy, but he’s kind of disgusting).

A sidenote: I took several months to name the parrot (foreshadowing my difficulty with naming babies, I guess), but it’s full name is Sunny Greg Gerferbu Parrot. Sunny seemed like a nice parrot name, Greg is surely an obvious choice, Gerferbu was a codeword of some sort among me and my neighborhood friends, and Parrot is what you might call a parrot.

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