Monday, 30 September 2013

Big news!

So after....

...9 years,
 8 apartments
 2 rental homes,
1 basement (!),
9 different cities,
5 different states,
7 cross-country moves...

...and let's not forget our two most cherished belongings that came along in 2010 and 2012...

we are proud to finally call ourselves...homeowners.

We closed on a house today! I'm excited to share pictures very soon. I'm also overwhelmed and scared like a deer in headlights but I'm told this is all normal. It seems fitting for such a big rite of passage day. 
Here we go!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Dani, you've been here 10 months.

This post's title isn't wholly accurate. You're actually closer to 10 1/2 months than you are to 10. (although in all honesty this post has been sitting on the docket for nearly 2 weeks now. things just take awhile to get done lately.) And you know what that means; practically 11 months old. Eleven! Which is just a tiny baby hiccup away from twelve. One year. Everyone (and I mean everyone) said that the second baby's babyhood goes by much faster than the first and I have to say that the general right. I don't know if I can throw excuses around like a cross-country move and endless house hunting in there, but it's been so bittersweet to realize my little sleepy bundle of curled-up baby is now a standing, almost-cruising, nap-resisting, much bigger baby. I won't say the T word that rhymes with doddler but you're sadly past the newborn stage. In between it all. Chubby feet, stubby toes (like her Papa's), four of the most adorable teeth I've ever seen gleaming in your mouth every time you smile, which is a lot. Even when tired you can usually still eek out a smile.

Ten months means you do a lot of pulling up to stand, exploring everything there is to explore (and with a Mila around there is never a shortage of that). Crawling a little, pulling up on whatever, and doing it all over again. And every so often we'll hear in your sweet whisper voice a-ba-ba-ba-BAAAAA which I swear is my favorite of the baby babble clusters. It was with Wugs as well. When I a-ba-ba-ba-BAAAAA back to you you'll get this huge smile on your face (there's those teeth again!) and start happily crawling towards me. You're so happy it's almost more like a prance than a crawl, every hand and knee hitting the floor with cheery intent. To me! You're coming to me and that big smile is for me. I'm always so honored and thankful to be yours, as long as you want.

Dani, you are sunshine. When you hear music, you start dancing from your perch on the floor. And when you dance, you dance from her gut. Really. It's like a gravity-assisted sit-up as you push that soft belly of yours forward and backward, and lately when you really get excited (again, often) you'll flap her arms and clap. I think you're trying to become airborne and this is what's going to get you off the ground. Straight to flying, my little bird.

I call you Nai lately. Papa's called you Scrubby from day one (actually I think he announced it on day two) because he said you looked like a teeny scrub monkey. All squinty-eyed, wrinkly and burrowing into whomever's arm crook you happened to be happily sleeping in. I never got on board with the Scrubby or Scrubs though. When you're overtired and upset you make this ninga-ninga-ninga sound and I started cooing it back to you in sympathy.  And then Nai somehow sprang up from Ninga. I know, we're crazy silly around here. I think you'll fit right in. We've already seen some glimpses of your humor--spitting water back out at your Papa for dramatic effect, blowing raspberries at the funniest moments, open-mouth kisses while trying to eat our noses while we egg you on. You're gonna do just fine.

Your favorite things: the B. toys interactive symphony toy...actually, any and all kind of music but your legs kick most wildly the second I turn on the 'solid gold oldies' music channel on tv. You're still crazy about Papa's guitar playing and he even calls it his milk (poor substitute but hey. He tries.) Your favorite corners of this home are the cabinet where diapers are kept (you love undoing all my nice folding) and the tub. Gosh do you make a beeline for that tub, just to pull up to stand there and see what there is to see there. It's your version of the Gold Rush.

You're in that tough 'tweener stage where you're starting to drop one of your naps, yet you still desperately need the rest. Ah. I think I remember this with Wugs. Mila's sleep patterns are all a little hazy and I imagine I'll be saying the same about you come a few years' time. I'll miss being able to curl up so perfectly around you and nap in our warm little cocoon. I'll miss scooping you up out of your crib at 1 am and us drifting off to sleep together for the rest of the night. And I need a few months' distance from it right now but I'm sure eventually I'll miss those nights where you're wide awake at 3 am and ready to party. Me rocking you sleepily in the living room and dreaming of sleep.

Oh Dani Lu. I think back to my pregnancy with you, fraught with anxiety and worry, feeling like I was cheating on Mila for bringing another child into her world, wondering how I could possibly be as lovestruck crazy for another child like I was (am!) with Wugs. I got amazing advice and reassurance from close friends. Underneath it all they just seemed to know something I didn't, something inexplicable. There was a quiet confidence and conviction to their words when they talked about growing their family, adding to it--taking away individualized attention yes, but gaining so much more. 

I get it now. I get it although words fail me too. I just know that I am deeply in love with you. All that anxiety fell by the wayside the second they placed you, still with umbilical cord attached, onto my chest. In its place came this fierce, protective love. You were there all along, Daniela Lu. 

I've loved getting to know you these last 10 months. I can't imagine the joy that is to come. Thank you for coming to our family.

*And also unrelated but it reminds me in the tiniest bit of one of our favorite songs, it's hilarious, go see.

Friday, 13 September 2013

A lil' party.

We threw Mila a little party on the Saturday after her birthday, nothing huge but it was the first birthday being back home where we actually had more than  two people to invite. Until then the California birthdays consisted of our dear friends Rylan and Cori, our huge supports and constant partners in crime on lots of adventures we had in those first couple years. And of course my parents, who never miss their girls' birthday. Which don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining! I loved those simple little birthday 'parties' and they'll forever hold a special place in my heart. But since being back Wugs has been to a few of our friends' birthday parties and she catches on quick, that girl. She knew that when her turn came around she was getting a party. With cake. And singing. And she was going to get the first piece of cake because dangit, she always had to wait her turn when it was other peoples' big day. These are the issues that weigh on one's mind when you're turning three. I don't know if we'll always do the party thing but this is how we did it for three.

I kept trying to explain the concept of a party theme...what do you like? what is your favorite thing? what would you like your party to be about? but Mila kept coming back to one singular focus. Cake. So cake it was. It spawned these invites, which once armed with an electric knife was actually an easy project. Wugs, Dani and I walked to the post office to mail them and the older gentleman behind me in line not-so-quietly asked the teller DID SHE JUST MAIL SLICES OF CAKE? when he thought we were out of earshot. Haha.
this is the only shot I've got of one! I could kick myself for not taking a pic of them all clustered together..late night crafting...bad lighting...that's my excuse anyway.

Everything else fell into place with the help of some organized planning. And some late nights but that's how I tick. The balloons' fringe I made using tissue paper I already had on hand and together Marm and I have a pretty rockin collection of blankets and tablecloths which we put to work on my parents' front lawn, complete with a slip 'n slide (is it just me or have these gotten waaaaaaay smaller since we were kids? or is it just one of those nostalgic things that are better in the mind than in reality?), kiddie pool meant for giant bubbles that didn't quite...bubble, and sprinklers. And I wasn't going to include a pinata (I know, even after my profession of pinata love!) but I saw one for $20 at Kmart and doctored it up with crepe paper in colors I liked. Clearly they're way young for the pinata stage yet but we all had a good laugh about how much pent-up frustration Steve was getting out by helping the littles with their whacks. Oh and bitter side rant, don't buy the huge 32" balloons calling your name online without calling your local party store first and verifying that it will not require a kidney plus a goodly wad of cash for them to inflate. You know, 'cause you may end up with some unused balloons that are "non-returnable." Bitter side rant over.

the littlest party guest :)

M requested chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting.

kindly note my number 3 cake :) and another M request, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting.

Squirreling away her cake as though it were matchsticks in a blackout.

"soon it's my turn." Sob.


she may be 3 but she still has the toddler belly. So I'm okay with it. Mostly.

oh those cheeks.

Mila pretty much spent the entire party with this little lady. Completely smitten. Little mama Wugs.

And in case you were wondering, Mila did get that first piece of cake. Oh yes. 

We love celebrating you, Wugs.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Turning 3.

Mila's birthday was two weeks ago. I think in her mind it took forever to get here, she had been rotely saying August twenty-ninth in her little singsong voice so proudly for so long now that when I announced it was August one morning she was all, Um, why are you guys not celebrating me yet? As it is with littles. They anticipate and anticipate and anticipate and you just hope you can do everything in your power to make it as amazing as they're hoping for.

The night before her birthday along with her usual bedtime prayer and Edelweiss singing Steve and I read Mila this poem from The Birthday Book:
When I have said my evening prayer, 
And my clothes are folded on my chair, 
And mama and papa switch off the light,
I'll still be two years old tonight. 
But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I'll be three years old...
3 kisses when I wake,
3 candles on my cake.
A goodnight kiss for the two year old
To send her to sleep and dreaming
And blessings on the three year old
Who'll climb out of bed in the morning.

Wugs had a few sweet requests for her birthday that we did our best to honor. 1) Breakfast in bed. 2) Hide all her presents "in the bushes." (I think she was remembering Easter on that one? Since we don't have an outside space of our own yet we hid presents around our apartment.) 3) Dinner at Sonic -and this is crucial- in the car. (One time! We went one time to Sonic when we were in a bind and it's ruined her palate for all other foodie adventures! Sheesh. It's like the chicken mcnugget fiasco last summer.)

Huge thank you's to the Best Papa Ever for getting up at five am for a donut run in the name of Wugs' breakfast. And, funny story, the night before after Steve and I had blown up balloons and gleefully chucked them into sleeping Mila's room we were taping up crepe paper streamers in the doorway--this is midnightish mind you--and we suddenly hear a tremendous POP from inside the room. We looked at each other, jaws gaped like there goes the neighborhood! We both had the same vision of balloons popping all over the place, waking up a scared Mila, and I was terrified that the gigantic gold number 3 balloon I ordered online was going to go to waste. But thankfully it was just the one rogue balloon that popped. Crisis averted. Sigh of relief for the tired parents.

It was a great day. Marmousch was with us most of the day so Mila was on cloud 9. There was a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and after our dutiful Sonic dinner we headed to the beach for sparklers. Had it been up to Dani she would have gone swimming in that salty water, that nugget is ready to go. But the newly-crowned 3 year old was thrilled just to run like a flitting sandpiper bird in the sand, chasing the waves and in turn getting chased by her Papa. 

My late summer girl, my firstborn, who was a week late to the party and likely would've stayed inside me longer had medical intervention not taken over. Stubborn as ever. Beautiful as ever. Perfect in every way for us. I still (often!) turn to Steve and say we made that! and yet she's her own person now, she's taking off running in every sense of the word and we are so honored to be on this wild ride with her. Love you Wugs. Happy THREE.

poor Marm crammed in the disappearing middle seat

photoshoot at Sonic! keepin' it classy.

don't let that face fool you...she LOVED it.