Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thankful November 2014

I've been mostly doing these on facebook, but thought it would be nice to collect them here, too, for the future.

Day 1: I'm thankful for my Griffin, who has already taught me so many lessons and had forever changed who I am.

Day 2: I'm so grateful for my Bear. Not a day goes by that I don't thank the universe for him and all his baby wonderfulness.

Day 3: I'm thankful for this time off that affords me the luxury of snuggling with Bear on a hike with a friend. The trails are so lovely this time of year.

Day 4: Thankful for Ryan Whiteside for so very many reasons...even if he does cheat at Trouble.

Day 5: Every time I wear one of my boys (now everyday with B) I'm grateful for babywearing. The snuggles and closeness are unparalleled -- there's is nothing like having that tiny body curled into yours in a cozy and beautiful wrap. It connects me with my ancestors and grounds me. I feel so fortunate to have found something that warms my heart so much.

Day 6: so grateful to have this whole year off with B.

Day 7: I'm thankful for long hikes, Hike it Baby, and the adorable hats Erin has made us.

Day 8: Thankful for my family to be able to have healthy food to eat when so many go hungry.

Day 9: Thankful for the celebration of growing families.

Day 10: Thankful for technology. In the chaos that was today it made my life 10x easier.

Day 11: Thankful for all veterans, especially my hubby. I definitely appreciate the sacrifices these men and women make for our freedom.

Also super thankful for all the people who helped up through the airport today -- from the attendant who carried EVERYTHING to the mama who bought me coffee to the college girl who entertained Griffin -- we met so many helpful souls today.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Where have I been?

It's funny how it always seemed like work was the interferrance with the things I wanted to do; and while it's true that work takes up a tremendous amount of time and energy,  I still find myself yearning for extra hours in the day. It's not that I'm sitting at home doing nothing; taking care of a baby is a lot of work, and we've been really trying to do things like run errands during the day and go on daily hikes. But somehow we still don't have a lot of time in the day between feedings, changings, and snugglings. I guess we are always greedy for more time, no matter how much we have. That makes us voracious for life, right?

That being said, I can't believe it's been so long since I've blogged. There is so much to write about!  I forgot Bear's 3 month letter! I don't know where the time has gone. If I was sticking to my original maternity leave I would be going back to work in just over a week.  Barrett still seems so tiny and snugly, I just couldn't imagine leaving him. It was somehow easier the first time. It's nice that FMLA gives a mother 12 weeks, but we're really fortunate to be able to take those and more. Even at 12 weeks, it's not enough. If our country wants to improve its citizens and education, we have to start with parental leave. Nothing can replace that.

Anyway, here's what we've been up to in more specifics:

Untitled Hikes. Barrett and I are doing this program called Hike It Baby and they have a 30 day challenge. In thirty days you hike thirty miles. "Hiking" is a loose term including anything from genuine wilderness hikes to walking around the block; the purpose is just to get babies outside.

There are local chapters of Hike It Baby, and we're lucky enough to have one down the street in Ann Arbor. They lead hikes in places you might not have explored and it's great to have a group of mamas with you.

It has been wonderful for Barrett and I - I adore that it's an excuse to wrap him, and the fresh air has definitely done us both good. It gives us something to do and work towards everyday. I feel healthier and more at peace with our time outside. He stares at the trees and is quiet as can be, often sleeping through the majority of our hikes but that's ok. We've seen 5 deer so far. Costco had a great deal on a Jawbone UP band and that, combined with my iPhone, has helped us track our walks. So far this month we have 8 miles, meaning we're a few days ahead of schedule. I'm hoping to surpass the 30 mile goal but our trip may make that difficult (or easier, depending on how we look at it).

The weather has been perfect for hikes, too - it's the perfect temperature once we get moving. B is snug as a bug in a rug while wrapped (I try to keep his bald head covered!) and keeps me warm, too. It'll be harder as the weather gets colder, I'm sure, but for now it's been absolutely perfect.

Barrett has been growing up a storm. He's quick to smile these days, and still just as laid back. He loves babbling first thing in the morning and I'm rooting for his first word to be mama. There's a lot of flailing limbs but he's discovered his hands are DELICIOUS and that he can flail just enough to grab onto some toys. It's pretty cute.

So that's what we've been up to. Next week the boys and I leave for Florida and will venture to Disney with their grandma for the first time. Griffin is SUPER excited.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Griffin's first Lego kit.

IMG_6837 I have been waiting four long years for this moment. With baited breath, I've been dying for the moment where the love of Legos finally hits our house and settles in. The box of gifted Legos has sat on the toy shelf a long time with nary a glance from Griffin, even when friends hop with excitement as I pull them down. And this week, the moment happened when Duplos became too easy and a love for Legos was finally born.

I think it was the trip to Legoland in Chicago that inspired this urge to build, and this is a set I actually bought there (it was one of those, "just-in-case-we-REALLY-need-a-distraction" purchases). He spied it on the counter and immediately asked to build it. It was the perfect thing to do while Brother Bear slept peacefully in his bouncer.

We checked out the directions together, and Griffin used his emerging knowledge of letters and numbers to help with the directions. He actually put most of the Spider-Man glider together himself - he probably did steps one through eleven alone, and asked me to complete the last two with the tiny pieces. His attention to detail and ability to manipulate such tiny pieces was impressive.


IMG_6841 He was tickled at the finished product, and hasn't stopped playing with it. These Legos have pretty much traveled everywhere with us since their creation. And I realized that my love for Legos never included these sets - all my Lego creations were originals because I just had one giant tub of them (and am so sad they disappeared when I left for college). I'm trying hard not to be that obsessive mom who doesn't want him to lose a piece. It's not about the final product, is it? It's totally about the creation. I love the creativeness he gets from working with these. So much, in fact, that I don't even mind stepping on a Lego or two with a barefoot. At least not yet, anyway.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Finding trust: A lesson in humanity.

We looked at the river front map for no less than twenty minutes today.
One evening last week I found myself in a CVS in the middle of Detroit, fighting off panic. I thought the baby's fever was back and envisioned the worst - another 16 days in the hospital, another infection to fight. Tears threatened to burst through at any second, and all I could think about was what were going to do with another hospital stay.

 I ran through that CVS with not one but two additional thermometers to add to our collection. I was relieved to see there was only one person in line in front of me, but quickly realized the checkout wasn't going as fast as I had expected. My credit card was in my hand, ready to be swiped; my wallet was open for me to return the card quickly. Anxiety spread through my body as I calculated whether I had enough cash and/or it was ridiculous enough to leave a $20 on the counter for two cheap thermometers and to run out the door. I was starting to really panic.

For whatever reason, I felt that panic and fear leave me as I watched the gentleman in front of me. He was in a wheelchair, his body moving in slow and deliberate movements, and super polite to the cashier. He asked the cashier to swipe his card for him, and shared his pin so the cashier could enter it. The gentleman asked for help putting his card in his wallet and then in his bag. I marveled at his trust; he didn't know this cashier at all and was so confident about asking for his help and his trustworthiness. The cashier didn't hesitate once to help him. It was such a pure interaction.  Just a few hours before I had been standing next to a couple who perpetuated - in their children, nonetheless-  the fear of Detroit people have, and here was the most blind faith trust I had ever seen in a person. But what happened next surprised me most, because the man in the wheelchair asked me to put his purchase in the bag hanging off the back of his wheelchair.

I set my things down on the counter, took the bag from the cashier and put it in the man's wheelchair. He trusted me too, and I felt honored. I felt blessed, for I had done nothing to deserve this trust other than exist in line behind him. He thanked me, and I assumed he'd be on his way. Yet he then quickly spun his wheelchair around and said, "I thought I should see the face of the person I'm thanking." He smiled warmly at me, thanked us both again, and left.

The man didn't know a thing about me other than my spot in line. He didn't know my gender, my race, my upkeep, my financial appearance, my history, my body language, my urgency. What he did know was trust in humanity -- that we are all, in our hearts, better people than we often appear. Even though he knew neither myself nor the cashier, he blindly gave us his trust because we were in this moment with him as fellow human beings.  The other things about us didn't matter, because no matter who was behind him or ringing up his things, he must have believed that there was enough good in those individuals that they could be trusted.

This man didn't just give me trust, he gave me a sign from the universe. We can all trust a little more blindly, a little more lovingly. Some people might say he trusted without abandon because he had no choice. I don't think that's true though. He had a choice, just like the rest of us do. But his choice always erred on the side of belief, whereas the rest of us seem to err on the side of fear. Belief seems to be a much happier way to live. People may surprise us in a good way sometimes. Humanity might just have more hope than we expect. What a lovely surprise that would be for us all to learn.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dear Barrett, month 1

1 month old! 11lbs, 22 inches. #barrettgrowsup #barrettinthehospital
Dearest Bear:

You've been earthside for a full month now. We've enjoyed very much getting to know you and your adorableness.  So far you have been very laid back and patient, not at all what I expected from a second child.  If you're upset or want something, you're pretty content to let us know for awhile. We usually pick up on whatever it is you need but if we don't, there's no issue letting us know.

Captain America came to visit Barrett! @mottchildrenWe were home two weeks before your fever, and I'm sad to report that you're spending your one month birthday at Mott Children's Hospital at U of M. All said and done, we will have been here sixteen days.  Mostly they've been uneventful days filled with your mega dose of the special antibiotic, vital checks (you, like all babies, despise your temperature read under your arm and your blood pressure taken), and checks. There were some tough times, like the day you blew through your fourth IV or the day they inserted the picc line. More or less, though, you've weathered this storm like a champ. Daddy and Griffin have visited every day, having dinner with us. You still adore sleeping snug on daddy. There's no one you sleep better on than him.

You have the cutest quirk: your noisiness. Everyone comments on it. You eat noisily, you breath noisily. You make these soft grunting sounds when you want something (usually to eat). It makes the doctors and nurses laugh especially - sometimes they can hear you eating from the hallway! I joke that this will make dating hard at sixteen; I'll have to make sure you eat before any dates so you don't scare them away. :)

In the last thirty days you've grown like a week! Starting at 8lbs, 7 oz, you are now up to 11lbs! I can almost not believe it. You've grown 2 inches from birth, putting you at

Your brother may have been a long and thin baby from the get-go but you are definitely more robust. We love having a chunky adorable baby. Just gotta stay healthy, little one.

Baby Barrett
Your biggest fan of all time is your brother. He adores you like I've never seen a brother adore his younger sibling. From the moment you were born he has taken care of you; when he came to visit you in the hospital at birth he wore a superhero shirt and told everyone he wore a cape to protect you like a good superhero. Griffin grills the nurses to see if what they're doing is going to hurt you, and then tells them he will protect you. Mostly he calls you "my baby" and wants to know where you are at any given moment.  There's nothing that boy wouldn't do for you, my sweet Barrett. Nothing. It broke my heart when the doctors told us they didn't think he'd be able to visit in the hospital because not only could I not imagine going two weeks without seeing Griffin but I knew his heart would be crushed if he was told he couldn't see you for two weeks. Thankfully the doctors changed their minds and came up with a way for you to still see your big brother. I don't think they could have found a way to keep him from you anyway. He has drawn you pictures, snuggled with you, and protected you. He can't wait for you to be home!

Bear, there's not a single thing about you that we don't love and adore. You are the best fourth member our family could have ever asked for. You are exactly perfect in every single way, and even after just thirty days I can hardly remember a time where you weren't in my life. Sometimes I watch you sleep and just marvel at your beauty and perfection. How did such an amazing creature come to be? I feel so fortunate to be your mama, little one. Thank you for choosing us to be your family. I hope we'll do right by you.


Mama and family

Baby Barrett 

P.S.: If you're curious about the letter I wrote your brother on his first monthly birthday, you can find it here