I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! We are having a nice quiet little holiday with just us four. We will miss family in Ohio BUT it is actually nice that Eleanor will be able to wake up in her own bed on Christmas morning.
We're heading to San Antonio afterwards to meet up with friends. Looking forward to seeing more of this big state of Texas!
This morning Eleanor and I were reading during Samuel's nap. We read about Christmas, a boy who worries, a boy who dreamed of having a fish, about a Christmas tree farm, and a Great Doughnut Parade! (to name a few) I think if I had to pick, reading books to my babies is my favorite thing about their childhoods so far. I know that's not a big surprise for a librarian to say, but I never feel unappreciative about the books we have, the books we've been given, and the books we borrow.
As we read this morning I was thinking about when we'd no longer be reading picture books together. I got really sad. I wondered what I'd do with the huge mountain of books we own. It is alot. Hundreds. I buy these books as much for myself as for them. So many favorites. The stories I love. The memories of reading them together I love. Since I am a librarian I don't think it'll look too crazytown to keep them down the road :) And of course there are all the books and programs I've done as a librarian for other children. That will be a continuation for me (I hope).
And then I thought about the fun of what will come after picture books with reading chapter books together......and then both of them reading on their own. Maybe they'd be happy to talk about the books they are reading with me. Maybe Eleanor and I could do a book group together......and then I didn't feel too sad about not reading pictures books together as much. And that of course is years from now!
It's special to get out Christmas books and read them throughout this month. Christmas Farm was my new favorite Christmas book this year even though it came out in 2008. It is a really sweet story
The second photo is Eleanor and the third photo is Samuel :)
I LOVE Charley Harper and the sweet line of children's toys and games that have been out the last few years. I just noticed that new nesting blocks became available last month. Sweet! Of course we already have two sets of nesting blocks (Eric Carle and a museum set), but I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually made their way into our house. *I* want them! We have the memory game, puzzle and flash cards which are great quality, beautiful and excellent for gifts.
I love Christmas! I want to hang onto it as long as I can before the bleh months for me of January through April hit. Maybe it'll be different now that we're down here in Texas and the weather is better though? Here's to hoping!
I wanted to show a photo that I snapped today. We received a Christmas package from my friend Dianna in the mail. She has a talent I long to have in her sewing and crafting and knitting. She always floors me and opening up a package with matching aprons for Eleanor and I, as well as cloth ABCs which eleanor is clutching here, was no exception. I love the expression on my girlie's face. It shows the sweetness of getting a gift and she said, "Ms Dianna must really really love us." :)
Today is our 10th Wedding Anniversary. WOW. A 10th Anniversary is kinda a big deal right? I always imagined we'd take an awesome trip to Europe like our honeymoon which was two weeks in Prague, Budapest and Paris, but with Samuel's recent arrival and Michael's intense start up to his work here, it just didn't seem like the time. And that's cool. I feel just so happy to have our family and Michael to have gotten his new job.
So anniversary gifts. I think the first couple years we did the traditional anniversary gifts. You know, first anniversary is paper, but that kinda fell by the wayside. I have been focusing on more practical gifts and wanted to get Michael something he'd really enjoy.
Fastforward to a Anniversary Beer Sampler! Michael loves beer. Here are 10 beers for every year married. This sampler includes some of his favorite beers like Fat Tire and Abita Turbo Dog, a Czech beer to remind us of part of our honeymoon, and an Indian beer as a nod to what we drank in the UAE. Add in a favorite beer of mine (Amstel Light) to drink with him and some new ones to try :), including a beer from Texas! ha!
I also had a mixtape print personalized that he liked too. I'm looking forward to putting this in a frame in our bedroom. It reminds me of all the mixes we've made each other over the years :)
I want to blog, I really really do, but life keeps getting in the way. We've been busy moving and getting settled into our new home in Texas but more importantly, I've been very busy with this little guy and his big sister. Seriously, Samuel is like the happiest baby. I swear sometimes all you have to do is smile at him if he happens to be fussing and he'll just stop and smile back. So sweet! And chubby!
I look at my last post and laugh because it was such a stressful time recovering from my birth, preparing for our upcoming move, and being in that brand new baby stage that is so intense at first. I wanted to speed up time and I kept looking forward to getting to a calmer time and am so there now. I just want to pause time right now and enjoy every single moment.
We are 3.5 weeks in baby land now. And THANK GOD I am starting to feel better. This time is HARD. It's sweet. It's wonderful. It's intense. It's exhausting. It's -- I'd rather sleep than win a million dollars. It's cooing. It's baby love. All you that are parents know this. How my little guy is going to be a month old in a week is hard to believe. Funny how having a newborn is so special BUT you also wish it away too. Mantras like "this will pass" float through your head all the time and you look forward to when things will get a bit easier and all sussed out.
Big sister Eleanor has been great. What a helper! Seriously. "Eleanor, can you run upstairs and get baby Samuel's swaddle?" "Eleanor, can you grab Samuel's binka?" (our word for a pacifier :). "Eleanor, can you throw this diaper in the garbage?" She is eager and happy to help. Of course she also has the tendency to be right in his face when he is trying to go off to sleep too but she's just excited.
I wanted to share some preview photos that my friend, Jessi, took of him a couple weeks ago. I think they show the sibling love perfectly. Funny how I wanted Eleanor to have a sister but now I could not imagine not having a little boy and I know Eleanor will love her bro as much as I love my two younger brothers too.
Our baby, Samuel Bela (pronounced "bay-lah"), arrived a week ago on June 2nd weighing in at 9lbs, 4.5 ounces and 21 inches, nearly a week after his due date. He has the sweetest disposition and is surprising us by how much he sleeps! Such a contrast to our first born who gave us a run for the money at first on the sleep department and screaming - I mean, crying. Of course his most active/fussy time seems to be 3-6 a.m. and it is not easy to wake this one to eat!
So blessed to have Michael taking care of us. He is so tired looking - we all are save Eleanor - who as you can see is major excited to be a big sister! She also had a great time with my amazing mom and grandma who watched her while we were in the hospital. And thanks to Dianna, my best friend, who watched her for an evening while my Mom drove up from Cincy.
Keeping this short as I could go on about our Samuel. I had a very difficult time having him. and it resulted in a c-section. Basically I am recovering from two births. This has been one of the hardest - if not THE hardest - weeks of my life with the pain and worry of recovery, so thankfully I have something special to lift me up during this incredibly emotional time. Isn't he sweet?
Also thanks to my friend, Jessi (photographer extraordinairre, who is expecting her 3rd boy this summer), for visiting us in the hospital and taking the first and last photo :)
This baby is 3 days past his due date and I feel like he is never going to come. Although I have to cut him some slack because he did wait for his dad to defend his dissertation this week and for us to have a great visit with out-of-town family we hadn't seen for nearly two years. But seriously - come on, baby! We want to meet you!
Something I haven't shared on this blog yet but alluded to - we're moving to Texas this July! It's going to be a crazy busy summer with the new baby and move, but I am so proud of Michael in getting a tenure track position at a great university there. Texas is going to be a change for us but we are excited about this great opportunity and finally settling somewhere.
During their visit, our family gave us this adorable Ohio state teether. I've had my eye on this etsy shop for awhile now and it was special to receive. Thank you, Sandy and Joe! It's just perfect for us to remember where our family comes from. I'm proud and glad that both Michael and I were born in Ohio (Cincinnati) and our children as well (Columbus). This was a very touching gift for us to remember our home as we move onto a new one.
After a week or more of rain rain rain, it was so awesome to have a beautiful day like today. We decided to venture out to the Topiary Park right smack in downtown Columbus. It's located right next to Main Library and we used to go here for walks or to throw around a baseball ALL the time when we first got married and moved to Columbus, but it's been awhile now. I actually think the last time I might have been here was when I was pregnant with Eleanor....
Anyway, it's a wonderful place to visit. We had a little simple picnic, looked at the beautiful Topiary which is interpreted from the famous George Seurat's painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte, checked out the baby ducks in the pretty pond, and Michael and Eleanor got in a fun game of hide-and-seek!
The Friends of the Topiary Park and those who maintain it should get big kudos for how gorgeous it is always maintained. It's the start of the season, so of course the bushes will grow into the sculpture. Also neat to visit during winter months as well.
I swear I have some of the most thoughtful and creative friends around. I thought I'd share some of the beautiful sweet handmade items that friends have made for our little guy on the way.
LOOK at this sweater above and the way it buttons! I am really going for the charcoal and dark browns and this sweater and adorable little bunny are perfect. It'll be the perfect size come this Fall/Winter. Thank you, Dianna!
Cathy also made me a sweater and it's itty bitty! gush. Love the pretty green and so soft.
Amanda made these crazy great bibs. Love sock monkey anything and that they are also reversable. I haven't mentioned names yet but you can see how sweetly she embroidered his name here :) Amanda also made me an awesome mei tai which I can't wait to show off once he arrives.
Rebecca is a fellow LOST fan and gave me the biggest smile with this Dharma onesie! ha! On a side note, Michael has no interest at all in baby clothes but when I was showing him this onesie he got a big kick out of it. Can't believe the series finale is next week!
Hope I am not forgetting anything someone has made.....we have received so many nice gifts and sentiments already for baby. So sweet looking at things and trying to picture him in them.
I awoke this morning to beautiful roses and a sweet card from Michael. It was a nice way to start the day! Feeling very loved today. Our little family had lunch out and a nice walk around Ohio State University. Sweet to have strangers smile and wish me a happy mother's day. I guess what says Mama more than holding hands with your preschooler and having a huge pregnant belly! :)
--What I have loved most about motherhood: nursing, watching a little person grow, carrying Eleanor on my hip, reading together, hearing "I love you Mama," recelebrating and experiencing childhood for myself again--like lots of visits to the zoo, area parks, holiday fun, etc.
--What has been hard about motherhood: less sleep, being pulled in a million directions, finding balance at times, more worry
--Looking forward to with eleanor creating more art and other creative pursuits, reading chapter books with her, her learning to read, seeing her become a big sister, finding out more about what interests and passions she'll have
--Looking forward to with the little guy on the way that moment we first meet each other, soaking up all that baby love since I know he'll be my last, nursing again, lots of holding and cuddling, that sweet baby smell, learning what kind of personality he'll have and how he might be different to parent.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the amazing Mamas I feel so lucky to know!!
that's me pictured on this special day at 37.5 weeks! any day now!
This has to be my favorite onesie I've seen of all time. I love it.
For reasons I'll share later, I haven't done any nursery work for the little guy on the way but I am envisioning some cool decals above his crib. I've had a simple tree in mind but wouldn't a collection of mixtapes be awesome?!?! Haven't seen any online though. Might have to get my bestest friend to draw me some (hi Dianna! ;)
For months I've been loosely thinking about the music I want to have ready for the birth. I've jotted down a song or artist here or there but not done any gathering yet. Need to get on that. Will be funny if we don't end up listening to any of it but I hope it's part of things. Music and smells really hold an experience with you - add to it so well, don't you think?
I've become a crap blogger, I know, but thought I'd check in and say hello. We have alot going on now but some exciting things ahead, so maybe I'll get my act together and be present here more soon enough. One of the exciting things is baby is due in 4.5 weeks, although I doubt I am going to go that long. And I have other big life changing news to share soon, but it'll have to wait for now. Let's just say our summer is going to be all kinds of exciting crazy and I hope we're up for it!
--I'm nesting and getting many things ready for baby from organizing his clothes to getting our changing table/dresser set with supplies to getting my hospital bag started.
--I haven't been seeing Michael a great deal as he finishes his dissertation these next few weeks, BUT I have been daydreaming of the great couple days we had earlier in the month. It was a no-kiddo pre-baby getaway while Eleanor stayed at my parents. My first nights away from her EVER. Long overdue. We had everything and anything ahead we wanted to do and nothing we had to do. So great.
--Girlie is talking lately about nothing beyond being a big sister. She's major stoked about the little guy coming. The other day after talking excitedly about being a big sister she exclaimed "I'm going to be too tall for houses!"
--I'm smiling as I see flowers come up in our yard. I even see the startings of this gorgeous 3 foot lilly beginning to slowly emerge.
Sometimes when Eleanor and I are running into the library and grabbing books quickly we can take home a jackpot of great reads OR an ok stack that is pretty alright. This week we definitely grabbed some great ones. Here are some that we are really enjoying.
The Hello Goodbye Window by Norton Juster and Chris Raschka--when this was honored with the Caldecott Medal a couple years ago, I liked it, but in revisiting it, it's a top favorite of mine now. Such beautiful illustrations and emphasis on family and imagination.
Now that Eleanor is in her big girl bed, she loves The Magic Bed by John Burningham. I love all his books and of course a book about a bed that flies and travels at night is pretty cool. His Hushabye is my favorite though. Wish it was still in print.
A book that is coming back into print this Fall that I think is my all-time favorite picture book for babies and toddlers is The Baby Goes Beep by Rebecca O'Connell. We're reading alot about babies over here and this is fabulous. I don't know if I've ever enjoyed reading a book to a Baby Laptime crowd more, with Baby Cakes by Karma Wilson as a second.
For me, I have felt starved for a great book for awhile now and our book group is reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak which I am a little over halfway through and cannot recommend enough. From the first page it's brillant and you are told the that in the prologue the narrator will introduce himself--the colors--and the book thief. That was enough to hook me. I am wondering now what Zusak's other books are like.
The title of this blog was inspired by the utopian novel by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of The Yellow Wallpaper. The word itself has went further and captured for me a special sense of "place" for me and my daughter Eleanor. A free copy of the book can be read online by clicking the image.
Check out my first blog--Al Ain Notebook--written during our family's year abroad in the United Arab Emirates (2008-2009)
Books Read 2010
03. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
02. Never Let Me Go by Kazup Ishiguaro
01. Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
Books Read 2009
23. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
22. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
20. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
19. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
18. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
17. Stuart Little by EB White
16. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
15. Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
14. The Olive Readers by Christine Aziz
13. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
12. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
10. Princess: The True Story of Life Inside the Saudi Arabia's Royal Family by Jean Sasson