Raspberry Picking

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This week is pretty jam packed! With all of the sessions and weddings I need to work on combined with this week's schedule, I'm not sure when I'm ever going to feel caught up.

That said, we went raspberry picking for the first time yesterday! Unfortunately, I didn't call for availability and they were pretty much picked clean on Saturday. We were met by someone from the farm though who told us to take a walk through their rows and eat what we wanted, because there wasn't enough to take home or really pay for. To top it off he even offered me some of their vegetables, like cucumbers and kale. He was very generous!

Since we were more there for the experience anyways, we weren't too crushed by the news, although both Tony and I were looking forward to farm fresh raspberries at home.

It was a gorgeous day and my first time trying out my boba carrier, even though Ezra is just a little too small.
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I don't think Tony quite achieved making himself sick due to stuffing himself full of berries, but plenty were had by all!
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I love that we got to just go out and do this on a random Monday. It makes me excited for the future, when I hopefully won't be constrained to a 7:30-4pm schedule.
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Because I can tell you one thing for certain, time is just flying by with these two precious guys. Just look at this picture, is it just me, or can you just seem him already at 8, 12 and 16 years old?
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[Love that he has raspberries on his face!]

Ezra: Two Months

Monday, August 29, 2011

From one to two months, clearly a lot has changed, but some things have stayed the same.
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You started to enjoy baths.
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You continued to enjoy being naked.
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You started to wear some of Isaac's previously worn outfits, which made me happy and sad all at the same time.
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You continued to be adored by your big brother and Daddy.
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And there was no shortage of love from me either! Although, I did notice that I don't actually say "I love you" outloud to you nearly as much as I think it it my head.
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We've continued to spend a lot of quality time together as a family. This summer will be looked back upon with wistfulness for many years to come.
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You've worked on tummy time.
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And smiling.
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Some days are more successful than others.
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It seems as though Isaac may have been a little more vocal and had the opportunity for a little more time spent on the floor, whereas now we're pretty limited to Isaac's nap time. He just can't stay away from you little man, but he also can't stop himself from randomly running and jumping!
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Your smiles still stop me in my tracks. I will literally drop most anything to come running.
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Thankfully you love sharing them.
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You're growing up too fast little man.
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Eh, there you have it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And I'm back at abandoning my babies.

I joke, that's really extreme.

But it's how I feel. There's no comparison to leaving the boys for a wedding, session or client meeting to dropping them off at my Mom's to work.

I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to gradually return to work, because I just can't imagine how terrible it would be to jump in as fast as I had to last time. I really hope that this will help me maintain my supply level as well, since I'll only be away from Ezra every other day and can regulate Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So far I've been extremely disappointed by how much I've been pumping. Irrationally, I think it's because my pump knows that I hate it in all of it's boxy, tan and black ugly glory.

Life has continued in it's fantastic small moment way in the past week and a half.


I never shared the first documented smile I received from Ezra two weeks back. It was the best picture to pull out while I was shooting Sarah and San's wedding. Just a reminder of my wonderful boys waiting for me at home.
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[He's officially wearing 0-3 month and some 3 month outfits]

Unfortunately I haven't gotten one of his big gorgeous smiles in a picture to be proud of, but they just keep getting more and more joyful.
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Isaac is seriously making Tony and I shake our heads in disbelief. The things that come out of his mouth, events that he remembers and ideas that he is able to combine make us wonder what we're in for in the next few years. Dude is too smart. He's been whipping through the 24 piece 3+ puzzles that we had for him, so I bought a few more last week. Each time through he's gotten faster and faster, until now he can complete them in less than 5 minutes. In amazement, I said to him "Isaac you're too smart. You finished that too fast." No joke, his response "Mama, they're not hard."

He is also continuing his desire to be just like his Dad. Case in point.
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[Please note Isaac's are on upside down and that Tony gave himself a haircut.]

My entire life, sitting on the couch.
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Also, it's a good thing that things are still going strong between Levi and Bethany, because Isaac doesn't think anyone else is pretty. No seriously, she's the only person he will say is pretty. He even started to use the teenager "Nooooo." on me when I was asking him if I was pretty [What?]. Later that evening after sharing with Tony that Isaac would not say anyone else was pretty, Tony spent the time while I was at my soccer game coaching Isaac. That evening my shower was interrupted by the sweetest little boy first telling me "Mama, you're handsome!" and quickly corrected to "Mama, you're gorgeous!"

I've never really done a must have list for baby, as one's own boobs just doesn't make for an appealing post, but this time I have one! With Isaac, we never bought any safe swaddlers. We just got by using receiving blankets and around the time he was 3 months old, I honestly prayed over him that nothing would happen if he should break his swaddle while in the bassinet. I knew they weren't the safest, but we'd already gotten by and as always, money was tight. This time, with Ezra I wasn't going to do that to myself or him and when I saw a baby swaddle on mamabargains, I bought! And so the Woombie entered our lives. I must say, I absolutely love it. My only comparison is the Kiddopatamus swaddler with the velcro and hands down, I like the woombie more. At around 6 weeks, Ezra started to break the Kiddopatamus or I would find it wrapped around his shoulders in an odd way. I feel so much better using the Woombie with it's zipper and from the looks of it, Ezra loves that it is snug, but allows him to stretch and move, just as he did in the womb [corny I know, but that's why they named it so!]. Unfortunately this post is just a day too late, as mamabargains just had the Woombie on their site again yesterday and I was thankfully able to grab two of the Big Baby sizes at less than the cost of buying one from their site plus shipping. The newborn size only goes to 13 lbs and I'm afraid we're already starting to max it out!
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[Ezra approves of the Woombie]

I'm trying to keep up on all communication avenues right now, but it's a bit of a struggle. If you're waiting on an email, I apologize! If we're friends and you haven't seen my face, I apologize!

It's Almost Time

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tomorrow I return to someone else's schedule.

Not the schedules of the two little warm bodies I've been responsible for the past few weeks, but back to the grind of corporate America.Link
It's true that I get to ease back into it by working from home twice a week, so we can hopefully avoid a repeat of this scene, but somehow . . . somehow, it seems to be drawing out the inevitable. Almost as if I'm unable to enjoy today, for knowing what tomorrow brings.

But, I did say almost, and I'm going to do my best to fully enjoy it for all it's worth, as we adjust to a new rhythm in our family.
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[8 weeks]

7 Links Meme

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Here, but not here, as today is my first day working at home in my gradual return to work. So, perfect timing for me to change it up a bit today. If you've been reading for awhile, you've probably noticed that I usually don't participate in any memes or other blog related games/awards. I've never meant to come off as snooty or anything similar by choosing not to, but more often than not I didn't like the content. I've just never really liked blogging with a preconceived idea or ever feeling like I had to. With that said, when Bree posted her 7 Links Meme, I really hoped to find my name at the end of the post.

I'm so glad that it was and hope that you enjoy this post as a result.

What this is about:
To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

Rules:
1) Blogger is nominated to take part
2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.
- Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

3) Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.
4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers
5) And so it goes on!
6) The site Trip Base be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on their blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links

1. My Most Beautiful Post(s)
From here:
2009 Apr 25 1311

To here:
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I really think that my most beautiful posts would be the two birthday posts for Isaac.
Isaac: One Year
Isaac: Two Years

2) My most popular post(s)
Without much surprise, my most popular post was Baby Love's Berry Reveal, due in no small part by it's inclusion on designmom.com.
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Also popular were my weekly posts with both Isaac and Ezra.

3) My most controversial post(s)
My most controversial posts were somewhat expected, first this one during the extremely heated '08 presidential year and additionally the more FYI'ish Santa Free Family. Religion and politics, of course I saw that one coming.

4) My most helpful post
I think my most helpful posts have been virtually any that I have opened my heart to be extremely honest. More specifically though, I think my most helpful have been related to our choice to pay off our debt as Dave Ramsey crazieLinks. I've written about our money situations since the very beginning, under Financial Matters. What I find really interesting though is how many people commend me for sharing about our "struggles" when in reality neither Tony or feel like we're struggling with money. For the first time in our lives, we actually know what we're doing with it.

5) A post whose success surprised me
This one was a hard category to fill, because it kind of feels like saying I had no hope for a post, but I was surprised by how much this post seemed to resonate with people: Stuck || Unstuck.

6) A post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
I was kind of surprised that this post admitting that I truly did want to cut Isaac's hair and that there was a definite reason why we were not didn't garner more than 3 comments.

7) The post that I am most proud of
I'm sure if I actually spent the time to dig into my archives I would find a few that I've forgotten about that would fit this bill, but the first post that popped into my head is this post in which I explain my faith and share my testimony.

A lot more detail could probably be shared in just how imperfect I am, but suffice it to say, I am definitely a sinner saved by God's amazing grace.

Now for my five nominations:
Life and Running in Iowa
My Life in Transition
Mama at Home
In Her Shoes and Through Her Lens
La Buena Vida

Nuks

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just for the record, Ezra is using a nuk. Isaac never had one. We didn't try one, not a single time, so I don't know if he would have ended up taking one or not. We had a stash that we were gifted with Isaac, so I pulled out the 0+ pacifiers and remarkably Ezra took to the first one, a 0+ Avent.
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I avoided nuks with Isaac due to an overwhelming fear of the dreaded "nipple confusion." This time though, I honestly forgot that there was such a thing and that it would be recommended to wait until he was at least a few weeks old to introduce it.

Ezra had his first nuk at 4 days old.

And this is how we feel about it.
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It just might be what saved my nipples this time too. I'll admit I was worried that there would be a time that he really wanted to eat and I didn't understand how we'd get through cluster feeding, but turns out it's pretty simple. If he wants to eat, the nuk just won't cut it. Considering he's tipping the scales at over 12 lbs, there's been no issue with eating.

And this is just my most recent favorite.
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MishMash

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

- I made my first "Green" Monster smoothie, even if it was more purplish due to the mixed frozen berries. I'm a big fan! I'm holding steady at about 12 lbs higher than my pre-pregnancy weight, so I'm looking to drop a few pounds and breastfeeding is not my outlet! Instead it still seems to be the reason why I hang onto weight.

- Isaac has been sleeping in his crib, except for two days last week when we were dealing with a random high fever. He usually wakes at least once a night and either Tony or I will make our way down to sleep on the floor next to the crib until Isaac goes back to sleep. It's not perfect, but for right now it's completely workable.

- Isaac has been completely contrary lately and it's not uncommon for an unprovoked conversation to begin with "I don't love Jesus. I don't love Daddy. I don't love you. I don't love Ezra." Needless to say, it's very upsetting.

- We seem to have hit the lull of maternity leave, where not much is on the schedule, so there hasn't been much to blog about. On second thought, I guess there has been some blogworthy topics, but I just haven't felt the need to get on the computer.

- As I wrote about previously, I was away from the boys for 12 1/2 hours on Saturday. It went really, really well. I was doing what I love and I knew that Tony was well equipped to handle the boys. It's so odd to me how traumatic Isaac's first bottle was, when Tony gave Ezra his without a second thought from me. And how I left without much hesitation on Saturday. Oh to be the 2nd child, I swear you are just as loved Ezra.

- The countdown is on until my first work from home on Tuesday. Both boys will be going to my Mom's so I'll need to dip into my pumping stash, but I feel good about the 14 or so bags I've built up so far. I was emailing my boss today and I'm really in disbelief the time has already come.

- But not to be so Debbie Downer, we've still got plenty of fun things to do before the complete end of my leave. There's the State Fair, raspberry picking and potentially even a trip to a water park!

- Other than that though, I'm exceptionally content for my days to look like the below.
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- There's still plenty of brotherly love going on.
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Unimaginable Choice

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Last night was my first extended period away from Ezra, and by extended I mean 12 1/2 hours. Don't forget that 1/2 hour, it'd hardly be like to fail to include it. Of course it was for a good reason, my first wedding post-Ezra, for an amazing couple, Sarah and San. God certainly was being favorable to me in arranging my wedding schedule this year, from the two weddings I had while pregnant to getting back in the swing of things with the sweetest couple.

It was definitely hard to get out of the door. Isaac was being an absolute dear and calling out to me as I left "Goodbye mama! Have a great day mama! I'm gonna miss you mama! Love you mama!" and telling Tony that he wanted to watch me leave from the window, not to mention the sweet little kissable bundle that was Ezra. Once I got in the car though, I was able to turn my mind completely to the task of the day, delivering fabulous photos to Sarah and San. Thankfully, I had virtually a perfect day and only grew teary eyed once, when San danced with his mother.

The day was broken into three chunks of time for me, as I had to take three small breaks to allow for pumping. And as I pulled my equipment together to sit in the bathroom and pump for the last time of the day, I read an article that completely shook me.

It was this article regarding Somalia's famine.

It wasn't the news that "The United States estimates that more than 29,000 Somali children under age 5 have died in the famine in the last three months."

I'd heard that before and while it moved me, I've felt helpless in hearing that even while aid is short, that additionally hindering help are the Somali militants circumventing delivery to those most in need.

But this article shocked me with the choice that 100's of Somali parents may be experiencing, the decision to choose which children may potentially live or die.

To read that a 29 year old Somali mother with a one year old and 4 year old had to choose to leave her unconscious 4 year old son on the side of the road to ensure the survival of herself and her 1 year old is beyond my comprehension. He was alive. Unconscious, the most vulnerable that he could be, but alive and left to die, if not for a miracle. And this is happening, today, right now.

There was no cell phone to quickly call a relative, friend, policeman or ambulance. It was simply her and her two children, fighting for survival.

And here I sit a day after reading the article, an almost 28 year old mother of a 2 year old and 7 week old. One is nursing and the other napping, and my biggest complaints are that our air conditioning went out and that I have a to work outside of the home.

Really?

Really?

We are such a blessed nation. But it also goes beyond being blessed, there is just so much extravagance.

Tony and prayed for that mother and all the others who have found themselves in her position last night, but it didn't give me much peace.

My heart still has not recovered from imagining my Isaac being in the place of her deserted son or being unable to help that mother.

Acknowledging and being thankful for how blessed we are just doesn't seem to cut it either.

Checking In

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This week has been mainly errand driven, with my 6 week check up, passport application, birth certificate requests, client meetings and the like. Additionally, it's becoming more and more apparent to me that my leave is on the downswing, as my first wedding back is this Saturday[YAY!] and next week is my last full week of leave before beginning my twice a week work from home schedule.

I'm just soaking it up. All of it. And reminding myself how blessed I am to have this additional time with both my boys. I can't say it enough, pure and simple, this is how I want to live. Darn bills need paying though. As Tony reminds me, there is a goal in sight. At least it's in sight.
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[All but two courtesy of Isaac]

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