she’s only two for a year.

When you try to dress her she either rolls into a kicking, screaming ball OR magically turns her body into jello (screaming jello).  Have you ever tried to put a pair of shorts on jello legs?  It’s probably easier to dress an alligator.

Her answer to everything is NO.  doesn’t matter what you ask.

She refuses to eat anything that isn’t a cracker.  or a cup of milk.  I’m still trying to figure out how she hasn’t fainted from lack of nutrition.

Buckling her into the car seat is like pinning a drunk gorilla down.  An angry drunk gorilla.

She literally just walked up to me (she’s supposed to be sleeping), handed me her diaper and said, “there’s my poop!”  and grinned.  followed it with, “ok now, better wash my butt!”

She’s only two for a year.

She sings songs at the top of her lungs.  “WE BUILT THIS CIDDY.  WE BUILT THIS CIDDY ON WOCK AND WOLLING!”

She carries plastic animals with her everywhere and whispers to them, “oh you are so coot.  you are my coot new best friend whale.”

She will look at a handful of sand for over 15 min.

She will also eat that same handful of sand.

When I’m working in my garden she comes up and asks how my planets are doing.  That makes me giggle every. single. day.

When she laughs her whole body shakes.

Every morning she exclaims, “I stay in my bed all night!!”  even if she wakes up in our bed. or even if it’s still bedtime and she’s only been laying down for 15 min.

She once wore Buzz Lightyear inflatable wings everywhere for a week.

When she sees a dog, she pants in their face.  I’m pretty sure there’s actual communication going on.

Her tummy is tan from swimming, her legs are constantly bruised from playing, her hair is a mess of tangles no matter how much leave in conditioner I use.

She’s only two for a year.  and it isn’t long enough.





dinosaur eggs.

today Lincoln asked me 47 times if we have a ‘chim-dee’ (chimney).  he then asked 57 times if everyone else in California does.

Jack decided to nap for 20 min.  that’s it.  while I was attempting to rock him back to sleep for the 3rd time, Stella came into the nursery.  She mumbled something about her ‘wost’ cup and needing some ‘moik’ (milk).  I told her as nicely as I could to go wait for me in the living room.  She smiled and shouted, “ok! fanks! here ya go!” and proceeded to shut the door and lock it.  (our landlords reversed the knob in that bedroom, so the push button to lock is on the outside.  probably so their teenage girl couldn’t lock them out, or they could lock her in?!)  I was sitting there with a No-Longer-Sleeping Jack grinning at me, grunting as he tried to wiggle out of my death grip and thinking, “shit.  she just locked me in here.”

this isn’t the first time this has happened.  Matt once got locked in with both Lincoln and Stella.  it was an interesting afternoon is all he will say.  After that I started keeping a supply of q-tips by the changing table so that we had ammo to get out, easy to pick those knob locks with a q-tip.  but alas… put q-tips by a changing table and guess what, they get used.  so, stuck I was……part of me considered curling up in lincoln’s little toddler bed, turning on the the white noise and going to sleep.  but I knew they’d sniff me out after awhile looking for wost cups and moik.  so I pounded on the door and shouted until Lincoln came to investigate.

“why are you being so loud?  you might wake Jack up.”  really?  thanks for the tip.

We rushed up to the store since naptime was tossed out the window.  Jack appeared starving, so I gave him is favorite, greek yoghurt.  he ate the entire thing, I picked him up and he vomited all over me.  greek yoghurt chunks running all down my shirt, into my belly button.  I reeked.  nothing like greek yoghurt baby vomit to really enhance the no-shower-for-three-days look I had going.

we attempted to dye easter eggs.  what a disaster.  I hate dying eggs.  the dye freaks me out.  they spill everything.  I gave them straws (I know.  Not smart.  It was all I had.  it was that or paring knife) to ‘stir’ the eggs in the paper cups, told Lincoln 47 times to NOT DRINK THE LIQUID.  it was NOT JUICE.  I look over and he’s slurping it down.  seriously?!  after asking, “WHY?  why?!”  he goes, “I was trying to make bubbles and it went the other direction.”  sadly, that answer makes sense.  the eggs turned out ok.  the colors were a little off because I used beet juice and a combo of cake decorator food coloring.  This was really a last minute activity.  Lincoln seemed unimpressed and asked if we could try again with Daddy.  He’s only three and already knows that Daddy tends to follow directions better than Mommy.   Stella was in love.  she kept cuddling the eggs.  whispering, “oh so prwertty.  you so coot!  so coot.”  Later I watched her jam her finger into one crushing it.  she exclaimed in disappointment, “ah! whered de dinosaur?! dere no dinosaur in there!”  she seemed slightly heartbroken.  I guess, what would you expect to pop out of a pink egg?

The lack of sleep is getting to us.  Making all of us punchy.  We packed it up, I gathered up my vomit covered self, grabbed chunky Jack, my purse, the other two crazies, and we left.  Read books out loud during dinner, a communal shower, and all off to bed.  Tomorrow is Friday.  our last day at work.  my last day in the 20s.  I promised Lincoln a Starbucks breakfast.  It has been a hard week.  in the words of the great Dr. Suess, “Today was good.  Today was fun.  Tomorrow is another one.”

I wish we all lived in a world where dinosaurs hatched from pink Easter eggs.

art day!

after a quick trip (and $70!) to beverly’s lincoln, stella and i were ready to have the first of many art days.  i wanted to introduce them not only to the texture and feel of paint, but of the wonderment of changing a blank canvas.  

lincoln at first seemed skeptical of my idea.  i dipped his hand into the paint and tried to show him how to place it on the canvas.  he was too disturbed by the feel of the paint on his hand to really enjoy what he was doing.  i wiped his hands off and handed him a brush and then he went at it, banging and dragging it around the canvas.  i poured some paint on another canvas and held it up to stella who promptly began hitting it with her hands and running her hands all around it.  i tried to assist her in getting a foot print on it but she would just slide right off the canvas (it quickly became a 12×12 acrylic slip n slide) and soon she was covered in paint.  i let her lay there and bang on it some more with her fists but when those little fists started to make their way into her mouth i decided to call art day to an end for her.  she ended up in the kitchen sink, hosed off and wrapped in a towel.  maybe it wasn’t the best activity for a 5 month old.  but really who’s to say? 

there are books upon books of how to raise children (i know this for a fact, i’ve read most of them) there are ‘experts’ and advice givers.  but having two kids has shown me one thing, every single kid is different.  so an expert for one kid is a novice at another.  that even holds true in the same family.  lincoln was a totally different 5 month old than stella is.  i am an expert at lincoln.  i am a study in stella. 

i think the hardest part of being a parent (besides the constant worry) is the underlying feeling that you don’t know what you are doing.  who knows, maybe it’s just me.  maybe everyone else sails through it without an ounce of self-doubt.    but i worry.  about everything.  if she sleeps in my bed will that create confidence or clingy-ness?  if i get frustrated at bedtime and leave the room to let him cry is he going to think i abandoned him?  is 5 months too young to lick up some non toxic paint? lincoln's first artstella's first art

i recently had a spa technician tell me that babies that didn’t get an infant massage every night from their parents were bound to become drug addicts.  i understood her underlying message, spend time with your kids, show them affection, and they will be okay.  ignore them and you will deal with their issues later.  i tell myself that my doubting and worry is proof that i am a good mom.  i care enough to worry about my actions. 

but at the end of the day, after patting lincoln the appropriate amount so that he falls asleep.  and after wrapping stella up and ignoring her so that she can fall asleep, without distracting herself by giggling at me, i know one thing for sure.  i may not be the best mom, i may not write how-to-books.  but i am their best mom.  even with my faults and even if i let them eat paint a little too early, i am still exactly what they need. 

they are my blank canvases, and i am theirs.  and yesterday as we sat, a trio covered in primary colors, with paint in our hair and in between our toes we discovered one thing: there is no right way to create a masterpiece.

happiest baby on the block, letters to stella


you should hear yourself laugh.  it’s not a laugh, it’s a guffaw.  it’s a cackle.  it’s infectious.  people stop in their tracks to look.  they smile.  your daddy smiles, he  looks so proud when he hears it.  i spend most of my day getting you to laugh.  anything to hear that noise.  your brother gets you to laugh easier and longer than anyone else.  usually you start laughing just when looking at him, if he gets close enough to touch then it’s all over.  peels of laughter. 

you rarely cry.  your face is always in a state of joy, your eyes bright, your lips ready at even given moment to break into a grin so big it seems like your face will break in two.


you haven’t been sleeping well.  up every couple hours.  part of me thinks you aren’t getting enough food, maybe we should start you on cereal.  but for some reason starting you on cereal scares me.  like it’s the beginning of the end of your babyhood.  once you begin eating from a spoon you begin the transition of growing up.  i want you to stay a baby.  you are so cute playing with your feet, your legs in the air.  grasping and mouthing toys.  giggling and rolling.  just stay that way.  i will miss snuggling with you at nights, laying you on my chest and feeling you relax and fall asleep.  when you wake you have the pacifier ring around your mouth.  it’s beyond adorable.  you have been the easiet baby, so happy and cheerful.  you are exactly what this family needed.


you say your mmm’s.  it’s so cute.  you sound like bob wiley at dinner.  “mmmm…..mmmmm”  you talk yourself to sleep.  i caved in and fed you cereal.  you don’t seem to like it.  though the other day you were in the jumper and lincoln was standing next to you eating a granola bar and i saw him breaking it into little pieces and giving it to you.  you were shoving it in your mouth and threw a fit when tootsie took it away, you slammed your arms down and yelled.  so i guess you like food, you just don’t like mush.  you’re smart. 

you love to blow spit bubbles and raspberries.  you act like you are going to crawl, raising up on your legs.  you pull yourself around the room to toys.   you love to hug and kiss.  tomorrow you will be 5 months.  i recently switched you to cloth diapers.  so far so good.


you started army crawling the other day.  i knew it wouldn’t be long til you were on the move.  you would lay there on your stomach and wiggle.  just itching to get moving.  lincoln would strategically place toys just out of your reach, i don’t think he knew that he was in the end helping you to move forward faster.  your aunti calls it the ‘caterpillar crawl’  your butt bobs up and down while you inch forward.  it seems so slow, but if i look away you are across the room in an instant.  i am very proud of you, for learning so fast and being so strong.  nothing seems to phase you, i wish i could learn that skill.  you inch forward, slow and steady.  as we grow older i think we forget how hard it was to move at first, we take our bodies for granted.  i can’t imagine the satisfaction and power you must feel by moving forward and finally grasping the toys you have been eyeing for months.  i wish we as adults would work that hard to achieve something, anything, in our lives.  very few adults would have the conviction to stick it out, inch by inch, sore knees and elbows.  congrats baby girl.

stella by starlight

on september 17, 2009 we celebrated lincoln’s first birthday.  news of a heat wave coming was on the news.  lincoln was tired that night, to tired to eat his cake.  we sat outside under the stars and dined on grilled chicken kabobs, salad, angel food cake.  we all talked and laughed for a long time.  I knew, in my heart I knew that stella was coming.  I went to bed knowing that it was almost over. 

I woke up once for lincoln around midnight and thought then, “guess I was wrong” for some reason I thought if it was going to happen at night it would have happened by then.  It was about 3:45 almost 4:00 in the morning.  I was having bad back pains, and a dream that someone was kicking me.   I woke up again and it was the same pain, and about twenty minutes later.  So at this point I thought, this is strange.  I didn’t fall back asleep, I got up and went to the bathroom and sure enough 20 min later more pains, this time wrapping around to the front.  I got up and went to start timing them, now they were coming about every ten minutes and getting a little stronger.  It was around 5:30.  I text Kirsten and told her to not go to work because I was having contractions but didn’t know if they were real or not yet (she would be Lincoln’s babysitter).  I went and told Matt that I was going to take a shower to see if they went away, I thought I remembered hearing that fake labor pains (which I had been having for WEEKS) would go away in the shower.  They didn’t go away.  So at that point Matt got up and started getting ready, I started getting things together.  The contractions were coming stronger and closer. We were told to go to the hospital when they were 8 min apart because of my history with fast labors, suddenly the contractions were 4-5 min apart so Matt and I started to get nervous.  

We dropped Lincoln off at my mom and dads, my mom came with us.  As Matt, mom, and I drove to the hospital I was concerned the whole way that they would send us home.  My water hadn’t broken and the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and strong, but bareable.  I couldn’t talk through them at all but they weren’t anything like the contractions with Lincoln.  We checked into triage at 7:17 am.  The contractions continued strong and 4 min apart.  We got the same nurse in triage that we had with Lincoln a year ago, she remembered us too.  It was funny.  She checked me then and I was at 5cm.  At my last drs appt I had been 100% effaced and closed.  She said that the baby was at a 0 station.  She went to call Dr. Gerdes to let her know that it would be a fast one again.  She came back  20 min later checked me again and I was at a 7cm.  She left immediately to tell Gerdes that it was gong to be a REALLY fast labor and to get here asap.  I asked at that point if I could get in the shower because the contractions were getting really strong and I hated going through it in that little triage room, it made me feel claustrophobic and trapped.  She got me right to a room  (oddly enough room 18.  Lincoln was born on the 17th in room 17 Stella on the 18th in room 18)  and started the IV.  I tried to talk her out of the IV because I HATE them but she said that they had to because of policy.  We both knew I wasn’t getting drugs, even if I wanted them it was way too late at this point.  She put in the iv but didn’t hook me up to the machine so that I didn’t have to drag the thing everywhere.  Then she wrapped the IV hand in plastic so I could get in the shower. 

I stayed in the shower forever.  The contractions were getting stronger and the shower was a miracle, I was able to get through them.  I just stood there hanging onto the rail and rocking back and forth and praying and breathing.  After a while they said I needed to get out to get checked again, but I got into the bed and they didn’t check me for some reason.  Then I labored in bed for awhile, Gerdes put up a bar over the bed and had the bed so that it was like a chair and I could grab the bar and rock back and forth that way.  That also helped a lot.  It hurt the worst when I was on my back, if I could get up off my back and rock then it was better.  They were getting really close, maybe every 2 min and very very strong.  They started to feel horrible like they did with Lincoln. They were really really bad.  I thought I was going to vomit or cry, or both.  Matt suggested that I get back in the shower so I did.  Then after a couple more contractions I started to feel like I needed to push so they got me out and checked me.  I was at an 8. 

This is when things started to get weird.  Gerdes and the nurse were confused because it was progressing so fast and now seemed to have stopped.  The nurse said that she was going to check me while I contracted, which was horrid.  Having a contraction alone is bad but having one while someone is feeling your cervix is worse.  She said that when I contracted my cervix slacked a bit, kind of opening more.  She and Gerdes said what was going on was that there was so much pressure on the cervix (from her head) that it was getting bruised and swollen and that it was actually starting to close back up.  They said that I was going to start pushing and that they would pull the edge of the cervix back over the baby’s head since I wasn’t fully dilated.  Those of you who have given birth know what that means.  There isn’t much room to work with as is, take away 2 cm and it’s a big deal.  Oh yeah, and she was 9 lbs.  I started to get nervous because pushing without being fully dilated sounded painful and pushing the cervix back over the babies head sounded even more painful.  I kept asking if they were sure and they kept saying “yes, we have to do this.”  My mom later explained that if this hadn’t worked there would be a lot of issues, the baby was too far down in the birth canal for a standard c-section.  So, I started pushing and it was horrid, just as I imagined.  It didn’t burn as bad as it did last time but it felt like it wasn’t going to work.  Everytime I pushed it felt like I wasn’t making any headway.  Finally she was out.  I felt the same relief I did with Lincoln and then they took her and cleaned her up.  They said she was 8 lbs 14 oz, so 2 ozs away from 9 lbs.  So  I  pushed a 9lb baby out of 8 cm, no drugs whatsoever.  It was hell. 

But I could tell something was wrong from Dr. Gerdes’s face.   She asked the nurse to come over and start massaging my stomach, which sucked because she was doing it really rough and it hurt.  Then I heard Gerdes say, “She won’t stop bleeding and I can’t keep the cervix from coming out”  I asked, “is the cervix supposed to come out?”  She goes, very straight faced, “no.”  At that point I kept feeling gushes of blood flowing from me and I could tell they were getting more and more concerned.  Suddenly they started talking really fast and hooking up all kinds of things to my IV, I heard Gerdes say “start her on Pit”.  It would feel like the bleeding stopped and then it would start gushing again, suddenly four or five other people came running into the room, they flatten the bed and started giving me shots and hooking up more stuff to the IV and everyone was really serious and talking fast to each other so I had a hard time understanding what was going on. 

Matt stood there holding Stella and looking panicked.  I just remember him pacing back and forth staring at me.  My mom kept asking what was going on.  Gerdes told them that I was losing way too much blood and they couldn’t stop the bleeding.  They kept massaging my stomach really hard and trying to keep the cervix in.   I just laid on the table and prayed that everything would be okay and that I wouldn’t lose or damage my cervix because then I knew then I wouldn’t be able to have any more kids.  It kept going, they would get me to stop and then it would start gushing again.  It seemed to go on forever.  Suddenly the other doctors left and everyone seemed calmed down.  I was dizzy from the pain meds that they gave me and was really shaky and I couldn’t stop my teeth from chattering.  It sucked.  I made it through the whole delivery without any meds and then they had to flood me with them because of this so I still had some of the ‘side effects’ from them.  I kept thinking back to Lincoln and how I jumped up 20 min after birth and started eating taco bell.   

Kirsten and Andy and Lincoln came in.  Kirsten and Andy had kept him at my parents house and drove up when my mom called them and said Stella was born.  They all started to take pictures and clean Stella up, I nursed her awhile because they said that nursing would also help contract my uterus and that would help stop the bleeding.

 I had to have Pitocin for the next 12 hours to stop the bleeding and another med that started with an M that I can’t remember to stop the bleeding.  That med I took up until late Saturday and it  made my stomach cramp so bad, I was in a lot of pain most of the time I was in the hospital.  Gerdes ordered vicodin for me for the pain but I didn’t want to take it for fear of being way too sleepy to deal with Stella so I just took Tylenol.  I couldn’t take motrin because it would cause more bleeding.  The Tylenol didn’t really help and on Friday night I was in so much pain I couldn’t sleep.  Finally late Friday night I convinced them to take out the IV.  They took my blood and the tests came back good so the nurse stopped the pitocin, I still had to take the M medicine though.  Saturday I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a car.  They said that the bleeding had stopped to the point that I could take motrin, thank goodness.  The pain started to go away once I took the last M med.  I could barely walk and was sore all over.  It was all from what happened after the delivery.

Miracles happen, everyday.  But a baby is the truest form of a miracle out there.  Everything about the process is miraclous.  Stella was a special kind of miracle.  Her existence was hand choosen by God, and He made sure we knew it.  When Stella was finally born, after squeezing through 8 cm at 9 lbs, she still had (intact) her water sac.  She was, I believe the term is, ‘born in the caul’.  Being born in the caul isn’t odd for premature, smaller babies.  But it is nearly impossible for a larger baby.  Not to mention the tight quaters she came out through, it is unbelievable the the water sac never ripped at any point.  Babies that are born in the caul are said to hold special qualites, to be good luck charms, to be destined for greatness.

On september 18, 2009 at 9:57 am we became a family of four.  The adventure of two under two began, and it couldn’t have had a more dramatic start.