Friday, May 31, 2013

Meeting Ayanna, the Toddler Version

The funny thing about this day and age of Instagram and Facebook is that you feel really in touch with your friends’ (and sometimes acquaintances’) lives even when you haven’t seen them in months or even years. Every day I see cute pictures of my far away friends’ kids in their day to day life and I feel like I’m getting to watch their kids grow up…

And then you get a chance to have an actual visit and you realize that pictures and hash tags are lovely, but they sure can’t hold a candle to the real thing. The last time I got to see Ayanna she was barely 3 months old. Though I’ve watched her grow up over Instagram and chatted with Akanksha almost daily on our momma tribe group iMessage, I still kind of had to pinch myself to believe that this animated, sprinting, giggling toddler was the same little person I had snuggled with just a year ago. We were so lucky to have Jacob + Akanksha come back to Winston for a visit so we could catch up in person, love on their crazy toddler, …. and mostly importantly, introduce Bo and Ayanna. There was a lot of “muuuuuu-wah’s” from Ayanna and a lot of looks of delighted surprise from Bo. Such a fun weekend catching up with old friends – we only wished it ended with a surprise announcement that they were moving back, but no dice. Back to the Instagram and iMessage catch ups for now.




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

10 Months

Bowen :: Ten Months Old

Weight: No appointment this month, so I'm not sure of his official stats. Matt and I did an unofficial height check today and clocked him in at 29.5 inches which would be a huge jump from his 9 month appointment. I'm not sure if that's accurate, but it sure would explain why we are rapidly growing out of clothes. He started this month in 9 month onesies, 12 month rompers and 9 month pajamas. As of today, the 12 month rompers are getting packed up and 12 month pajamas are fitting… but without much room to spare. Hello, growth spurt!

Eats: He dropped the small 4th bottle before bed at the beginning of this month. His 3 bottles are now 8 oz though so he's actually getting the same volume, just less frequency. He's eating 3 meals a day, ranging from a sweet potato pancake to homemade mac n cheese to a pretty wide variety of fruits and veggies. He's still not too keen on picking most foods up, except his beloved Puffs and Cheerios, so I still spoon feed him most of his meals. (Fine by me - easier clean up!)

Sleep: 3rd nap officially gone, down to 2 naps a day. The good news is that by pushing the 1st nap back just a little bit, it's extended from 45 minutes to an hour or more The second nap is usually an hour and fifteen minutes, which is nice to feel like he's getting some solid day sleep. His awake time is about 3 hours, so we've been able to get out of the house a little more often. He's still waking up earlier than he used to and I've given up trying to solve the mystery of his early rising. I've tried both putting him to bed earlier and later and it doesn't seem to make an impact. Oh well… just another life lesson that we're on Bo time. 

Milestones: Rolling, rolling, rolling. Bo is rolling EVERYWHERE. He spies something he wants and it's just tummy-back-tummy-back-tummy-back until he gets it. He's also starting sitting up from a lying down position and he is getting up in a push up position and rocking a bit. I'm just waiting for it all to begin… Other fun milestones are him learning to imitate us. He started clapping in earnest this month, and will do it anytime you say "yay!!!" or "paddy cakes?" to him. He will sometimes blow kisses or wave and can imitate a number of different sounds I make, like clicking his tongue or rolling his R's. Last night when we were having dinner with friends, Kate stuck her tongue out at him and he stuck it right back out at her! First time I had seen him do that. Little monkey. 

Likes: Oatmeal, cheerios, Greek yogurt, rolling, shrieking, yelling, shouting, "petting" Buddy, FaceTime, peek-a-boo, his Daddy, the stacking rings and the stacking cup, being outside, swimming, watching videos of himself. 

Dislikes: getting dressed, touching slimy foods, waiting for meals to be prepared, skipping a nap. 

Bo is such a social little boy. If we are out and about, especially playing with other kids, he rarely gets fussy. (As opposed to when we are home, there's only so many rounds of Paddy-cakes he wants to play with momma before he's ready to move on to the next thing.) He loves to be around other people, and has the quickest smile and most joyful laugh. He is content as can be to sit and watch other kids in the Y daycare or church nursery, and is not phased when another kid "borrows" whatever toy he is playing with. His Buddy dog delights him, and he shrieks and shouts and grabs his fur whenever he's close by. Bless little Buddy, we'll have to work on "gentle hands" soon. He started swim class this month, which we attended with 3 other little friends - Jamie and Zoey, Denise and Sam, Holly and Ben - and he's just happy as can be in the water. I see us getting a lot of mileage out of our pool membership this summer. 

I'm savoring these days where he is happily and easily entertained, yet still remains mostly in the same spot I left him. I can, after all, keep up with a baby who can only roll. I know my days are numbered and in a matter of time, I'll have a curious and MOBILE boy to chase after. 

Matt's parents were here for a weekend while we attended a wedding out of town, and then my mom was here for a week just to visit so he has had lots of grandparent love and attention this month. With the weather warming up, we've been taking a lot more runs together in the BOB and I love peeking down through the little window in the top of the stroller to see him shrieking and waving his hands as we run. 

We've had a fun month with our happy and silly boy. There are still so many moments when I see him as my little baby, but those are quickly being replaced more and more with the suggestions of toddlerhood waiting right around the corner. More and more he looks like a little boy, and I can tell there are more times when he is thinking through his behaviors rather than just reacting to what's happening around him. I try to squeeze him and snuggle him as much as I can right now, because I can already feel him squirming to get down and go explore the next thing. Oh sweet Baby Bo, you are so, so loved.

IMG 4948

IMG 4951

IMG 4954

IMG 4956

IMG 4970

IMG 4984

IMG 4989

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Crowdsource Troubleshooting: Fix My Playroom, Please?

I feel a little silly posting this, for a number of reasons. The first is that I do not particularly like my own voice on video and the last is that this room is an absolute mess, and there's a good five or six other reasons squashed in between those. But I need help with my playroom and I know a bunch of my Internet friends (and real life friends who I interact with on the internet) really excel at figuring out how to effectively use a room. I do not excel at this. Thus, my call to arms via the Internet to troubleshoot my playroom.

This room has plagued me for months. Ideally, I would like it to somehow be a mostly baby-proofed play room. But, I also need to keep our elliptical in there and my desk because we just don't have space in another room for those things.

So, here's my room. Come in and tell me how to fix it. And please try not to focus too much on my semi-Rochester, pseudo-Southern accent.

A few things to note:

I ended up moving the toy chest out from under the book shelves to the side. I am toying with the idea of spray painting the toy chest a solid color - ideas welcome. Labor even more welcome.

The shelf is actually the top hutch of my desk. It's not incredibly stable, and I probably need to bolt it to the wall. And by me, I of course mean Matt. But, I'm thinking with a few canvas baskets on it, it can work as a good toy receptacle.

Oh and the curtains? We had a friend sleep over recently and I realized we had no curtains. So I thumb tacked pillowcases up there. Because that's what 30 year olds do.

Okay, crew! Get to (virtual) work!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Thirty-one. It's the seventeen or the twenty-two of birthdays. The somewhat anticlimactic year following a "big one." I used to think that turning 30 was some sort of milestone in the sense that I thought I would have to have accomplished certain things by the time I was 30 or … well, basically I think I thought I'd be too old to get anything done by the time I hit 31. 

My bones are rather creaky, actually...

I've quite liked getting older. Despite not hitting all the checkmarks on the list my 20 year old self made for me to accomplish before the prior decade was over, I feel pretty good about where I'm at. (And besides, did I really think I wanted to OWN A GYM? Bad idea, 20 year old Megs, bad idea.) 

I'm happier and more comfortable in my skin at 30 than I ever imagined I could be. (20 year old me could have been a little more rigorous in her sunscreen application, but whatevs.) I have clearer priorities and boundaries. I'm more comfortable saying no and less worried about people pleasing. I have a smaller circle of friends, but they are deeper and more meaningful friendships. I have a whole lot less clarity about my career goals than I did a decade ago, but a much greater level of comfort with uncertainty. I have a deep faith, a lovely relationship with my God and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my life - something that I was barely scratching the surface with in my 20's.

I always thought 30 was going to feel like "the end of my 20's." Turns out it feels more like the start of my 30's. And I'm rather optimistic that if things got this much better over a decade, my 40 year old self will be wincing at how wizened my 30 year old self thought she was. Actually, I pretty much hope so. 

My oh so anticlimactic birthday was celebrated with lovely, wonderful friends and family. And of course, wherever I go, my 20 pound little buddy goes too - so I really was never alone on my birthday! Bo and I visited Matt at work for lunch (a rarity to see his "office"), and then my parents FaceTimed with me while I opened presents from them. The next day Pam came through town on her way south for a wedding, and we had lunch at Mary's. A wino visit for my birthday! That night, Katie & Dylan and Mike all came into town and we had a really yummy dinner at Mozelle's. The next night, they stayed and the Forseys, Glenns and McCurry's came for a cookout. I even got to prolong the celebration into the next week when Teri and Anna met me at Camino for a birthday drink. I just kept looking around at the great people in my life who were there just to celebrate my creaky bones getting another year older and just feeling so, so richly blessed. Ready for what the next 9 years of this decade have in store for me...

IMG 4905

IMG 4900

IMG 4907

IMG 4898

IMG 0447

IMG 0458

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin

Favorite activity of the moment: sitting in front of his bookshelf and pulling every single book off one by one and tossing them behind him.

I’m hoping one day he will be as passionate about reading them as he is about throwing them.





Thursday, May 9, 2013

More Stories About Bo. And an Awful Lot of Photos.

April! It just kind of came and went before I had time to blink. I sort of thought April would be kind of slow and relaxed after we got home from the beach, but... joke's on me! And here it is, nearly mid-May. Thoughts of first birthday parties are already starting to swirl in my head… how can it be?

I haven't blogged in awhile because I haven't felt like I had anything in particular to say … or maybe that it's I had too much to say, and didn't know where to start or what to leave out. But I have taken a whole lot of really cute pictures and they need a place to go so I thought I'd just open up a blank post and see what happens. 

Bo has had a bunch of play dates recently… it's amazing to me to see how much in the last month he's changed in the way he interacts with other little kids. He is fascinated to watch big kids play, and loves when they show interest in him. I love watching his friendship with Zoey bloom and hear her sweet voice when she says "Bo! Bo! Bo!" when she spies him. 

About a month ago, he started rolling and now he is unstoppable. It cracks me up to see him spot something across the room that he wants and just roll - roll - roll over to get it. He can also scoot backwards when he's on our hardwood floors, but on the carpet it sort of looks like he's doing the worm. I know I've been pretty lucky he's been a little slow to get moving, but I'm pretty terrified for what awaits me once he really does.

When he's falling asleep, he pulls his arm into his shirt and sucks on the sleeve. I often find him after a nap with his arm totally inside his shirt. Today I learned the hard way how important those long sleeves really are - he went down for a nap in short sleeves and kept grabbing at his wrists for the longest time, confused. When he woke up mid-nap, it became VERY apparent than no sleeves meant no self soothing and NO going back to sleep. Lesson learned. My boy doesn't need a paci, a blankie or a lovey to sleep - just long sleeves. Funny boy.

We started swim classes this week. It is really just a fun excuse to play in the pool at the Y before it's warm enough to go to the pool at the club, but so far, he seems to love it. They have us do things like put them on a kick board and encourage them to kick but Bo's clearly much more in it for the socializing than the skills. He's  content to smile at all the other kids, slap the water and hear his "outside voice" echo in the loud pool room.

He has what my mom refers to as a "healthy curiosity." Kid doesn't miss a beat. He wants to hold everything he sees me holding, eat everything he sees me eating (my new diet: don't eat in front of Bo!), drink everything he sees me drinking. He is endlessly amused by every day household items like empty water bottles, the crinkle of an empty paper bag, straws, spoons and of course, the magical glow of the iPhone. I've made a point to try and put my phone away when I'm around him more - which is probably a good thing to do anyways - because the minute he sees it, he wants nothing more in the world than to hold it. With his gums. 

He's fun, he's busy, he's a little bit dramatic, he's funny, he's sweet. I could fill up pages and pages of blog posts just talking about our days, which is why I sometimes just don't write at all. I feel like I have so much I could say, that just a little bit won't do it justice. But, these are some snapshots of our life right now and they give me a perfect segway for an random, not in any order, not totally related to these stories photo dump.

IMG 4818

IMG 4820

IMG 4769

IMG 3515

IMG 4689

IMG 4667

IMG 4661

IMG 3352

IMG 4656

IMG 4650

IMG 4645

IMG 4697

IMG 4696

IMG 0002

IMG 4845

IMG 4855

IMG 4860

IMG 4864


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Leaning In, Leaning Back and Making Choices {A Book Review}

My book club is meeting tonight at 6 pm to discuss our most recent read, Lean In. I have been anticipating the conversation for almost a month - all of us crowded around a large, wooden table with generous pours of wine and cheese or pastries to accompany our conversations. I have been curiously awaiting the opinions of the women in this group - most in their late 20's or early 30s, working professional, (most) pre-children. They're the demographic I think Sandberg was thinking of when she wrote it, and I'm wondering how the book resonated with them as they turned the pages and read her words.

I won't know, because I won't be there. At 6 pm, I'll be giving my baby his last bottle, sniffing the almond smell of his shampoo lingering from his bath and watching his long eyelashes fall heavy on his cheek. I'll be missing a conversation I've waited eagerly for, but that's okay. I'll be right where I'm supposed to be. 

It's hard sometimes, to miss out on stuff you want to do. That's just part and parcel of parenting, right? I told myself early on one day "the sooner you accept that you are no longer in control, the easier this will be." And I did and it has been, and it's allowed me to realize that the days of my baby (and future babies?) being so tiny are going to be heartbreakingly short. Rather than lament the missed book clubs, cancelled lunch dates or inability to keep up with my former 4-times-a-week Dance Trance schedule, acknowledging the brevity of this time period in my life has allowed me to savor it. And when I do, it is breathtaking how sweet it is. 

I consider it an absolute privilege that I have the opportunity to be home with Bo. I try to make sure Matt knows how much I appreciate the fact that he heads out the door to work every day and affords us both the chance for me to be home with our baby. I know it is not what every woman chooses to do and I know that there are many women who would choose to do so but are not able to. I know there are many women who are torn between both. I don't begrudge anyone their path.  I simply acknowledge how fortunate I was to be able to choose. 

That's why it surprised me that I liked Sheryl Sandberg's book as much as I did. As a woman who had chosen to put her career on hold and stay home with her baby, I expected to whole-heartedly disagree with her message. Before I read the book, what I had gathered from other reviews of it was that it was a rah-rah-rah book for women who wanted to be leaders in the workplace, who wanted to push forward mightily with their careers and be the next CEO. I've never had grand ambition of that manner and didn't expect to resonate with the Sheryl, who obviously does. 

And her book certainly was a rah-rah-rah message for woman who want to be leaders in the workplace. There's plenty of motivation and inspiration for the next generation of women who want to sit at the table and take the helm. But, what surprised me the most, was how the overarching theme of her book was not that this was the only path that women should be on… the book was about having the opportunity to choose. Choice is the very thing I am most thankful for, and what I wish every woman had. What I believe every woman should have. 

I didn't love everything about the book, and I didn't agree with everything in it. In fact, I sometimes found it contradictory or confusing - which could be slightly accounted for the fact that I listened to it in my car and probably had my attention divided between the road, the book, the baby in the car seat and the anxious dog in the way back. But I didn't hate it or passionately disagree with it, which is exactly what I anticipated going into it. 

I was genuinely surprised by how much I learned from it or points I found myself nodding along in agreement to. Some of the research she shared that resonated with me helped me recognize critical moments throughout my own education and career. And then, some of the moments I wholeheartedly disagreed with her forced me to think through and articulate (at least to myself) what some of my values and belief were. 

In short (and because nap time is almost over), it is a good read. It's a worthy read. I think anything that broadens the conversation about the choices women have to make, or should be able to make, is a good thing. It's a book I'd recommend anyone read, if only to be able to add their own voice to the conversation. Even if on some days it feels like the only leadership skills you're currently using are directing the plastic spoon to keep mashed bananas out of someone's hair...