One year old!

Well, we made it! One year!!! One amazing, intense, stressful, joyful, exhausting, awesome year. The best and hardest year of my entire life.

There are so many witty and eloquent posts about motherhood out there. It intimidates me to even try to put words to this experience, to somehow capture this insane and wonderful life I now have without sounding trite or utterly full of shit. I guess in a nutshell I’d say I’m ridiculously blessed, crazy in love, and sometimes — nay, most of the time — scared out of my mind and completely fucking clueless.

Though upon taking one look and my sweet and adorable peanut, I guess I don’t suck at this gig as much as I think I do.


I’d say we did up the first year celebration pretty good! For Linden’s first birthday present, we made her a play kitchen.

(I should have posted the “before” pic to give you a good sense of what an undertaking this was, but I’m too lazy to go back and find it. Just picture a greasy old oak cabinet and you’re good!)

She LOVED it. Entertainment for hours!

{Please disregard my one-year-old’s ease in clutching a wine glass. I’m not sure where she learned that!}

A lot of sweat and tears went into that thing (for real, we got in a fight and I cried about it), but I love that we made our girl something special that she’ll be able to play with for years.

We also threw L a first birthday bash. (Well, let’s be serious — it’s more like we threw ourselves a birthday bash.) About 20 family and friends came (K’s dad even flew in from Kentucky!), as did a bunch of L’s little buddies. We re-used a bunch of our rustic wedding decor, laid out some autumn-inspired appetizers, served up some beer and wine, and ordered cupcakes from Sweethaus.

It was hard not to go buck wild, but I did allow myself a little crafting (the ONE banner, below). I figure I have years of birthday parties ahead, so why burn myself out in the first year when Linden could care less?

(Side rant: it really chaps my hide when people/blogs make fun of people who Pinterest the hell out of their kids’ parties. SO FREAKING WHAT? Let the mama have her fun! She’s not trying to make you feel less than, I assure you. I’m not saying that I’m personally going to Pinterest the hell out of all of L’s parties, but I love a good craft as much as the next gal.)


It was chilly and Linden was tired, so there was no wild shirtless cake-smashing. She liked her chocolate cupcake though, daintily poking at it until it was all gone.

…and then after L’s first birthday there was Halloween. Y’all, the trifecta of Kevin’s birthday, Linden’s birthday and Halloween all in the same week is a killer. Any bets on how long it takes me to do a Halloween-themed birthday party? :)

(Probably not that long. It was soooooo hard to resist going down that road. But, I want L’s day to be her own. Not every other sugar-hyped kid in America’s.)

We went simple with kitty cat. Meow!


My mom and I took Linden down to UVa’s Lawn, where all the students who live there hand out candy. It was a mob scene that we probably won’t revisit, but it wasn’t so bad for us this year as we weren’t exactly clamoring for any candy.

The pumpkin obsession continues. In fact, I’m a little sad to say goodbye to pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere, but know that a Christmastime replacement lurks just around the corner. What will it be?! Santa? Christmas trees? Those hideously awesome inflatables? Now that we’re in the burbs, I’m anticipating lots of great inflatables. Don’t let me down, burbs!

To move on to the update-y stuff:

– L’s communication is really taking off! Her signing is totally legit now. For example, she was playing with my keys in the shopping cart today at the store and kept dropping them, so I put them away in my bag. She looked at me and signed “more.” She ends every meal with “all done” and is quite prolific with her “milk” sign (though we wheeled all around Trader Joe’s the other day while she signed the hell out of “milk” while pointing to everything.) I think to her milk  just means “hungry.” At the end of the day, she could sign “monkey” for milk, as long as we knew what she was asking for. That’s the point of signing, really. It’s pretty cool!

– Words: “uh-oh” (this is the latest), “Chloe” (back in a different form — “CUH-ee”), “eh-eh” (meaning no, which is what I say when she’s in one of her “danger-zones”), mama and dada (not always used directly). And then of course, the gazillion words that we don’t understand. Her gibberish is quite impressive.


{We did, in fact, name our daughter after a tree!}

– Personality-wise, Linden definitely leans extrovert. She’s pretty social for a one-year-old, I think. At a recent playdate she was hanging tough chasing the older toddlers around, and at our little weekly gymnastics class, she’s always right in the middle of the action, clapping and cheering “yay!” at the end of the mat after all the other toddlers do their log rolls. She’s really easygoing, and doesn’t have many meltdowns. L is the perfect mix of sweet with a little spunk mixed in. (I’m glad I’m keeping this blog so I can come back to these early characterizations to see if they’re still true!)

– She looooooooves Elmo. We bought an Elmo balloon and I just about cried when we had to throw its sad, deflated shape away because I knew how much L loved it (she never even realized it was gone). She is currently obsessed with a book called “Elmo’s Hokey Pokey” that we checked out of the library (because she was obsessed with it there). She literally brings it to me several times a day to sing and dance to. And of course, Elmo on YouTube. I can’t sit at my laptop without someone pawing and whining to get in my lap for some Elmo time.

– I finally grew a pair and gave L some peanut butter! No issues. Wooo! Now it’s our favorite lunch! She also is eating some dairy! Usually a toddler-sized container of yogurt a day, and as far as I can tell, is just fine with it. Per the doctor’s orders, we are still on formula (boo), to keep L on her growth curve. Actually, I’m OK with this (just bummed we have to keep buying the shit). It’s kind of like a little insurance policy with her weight and calories right now. We’re still doing the bottle, with one sippy a day (+ sippys of coconut milk with meals). I don’t have an issue with this either right now (and neither does our ped), though I do think we might have a hard time giving up the ba-ba a few months down the line. Oh well, what is motherhood if not fraught with challenge?

– I am blown away by how often Linden catches something. Nothing major, but it seems like every other week we’re battling the sniffles. It could be a looooooooong winter.

– Sleeping is awesome (except for when it’s not: see above). Naps are generally great — still at two naps at 9 and 1. I’ve noticed that there are some days when the afternoon nap is a struggle and I start to think maybe we’re heading towards one nap, but then the next day she’ll nap like a rock star. While it does make going out in the morning kind of impossible, I’m grateful for the two naps and the much-needed BREAK it gives me. Toddlers are exhausting.


TODDLER. I can’t believe I have a toddler. I actually just can’t believe I’m a mother, someone not only tasked with keeping this child safe and healthy, but someone she’ll look up to, rely on for so much more than the basic needs in life. I’ve never wanted to be better at anything in my life than this new role I’ve been given. Not a better writer, snowboarder, runner. Not richer, thinner, more successful in a career. I know that I’ll never achieve perfection, never win any sort of award for “best mom in the universe,” but damn if I won’t ever stop working my ass off to learn, grow, and be the best possible mother Linden can have.

I love this kid so much it hurts. Happy birthday, Peanut!


One year stats

Weight 17 lbs (10th %tile)
Height 28.5 inches (25th %tile)
Head 18 inches (50th %tile)

Skills Walking, pointing, dancing, pushing, waving, clapping, climbing, signing, saying a few words + a shit ton of babble, imitating noises, clicking her tongue, holding a crayon and making marks on paper

Diaper and clothing size Size 3 diapers, size 12 month clothes (though she can still fit in some 9 months…and one size 3-6 mo dress worn as a shirt :))

Number of teeth 6 – 2 on bottom, 4 on top

Likes Board books, pumpkins, Elmo, swings + going down the slide, the special “Daddy run” around the house, PB sandwiches, bananas + avocados, jumping on the bed and playing on “pillow mountain,” bath time, birds, fish tanks, Chloe

Dislikes Getting her face wiped, wearing barrettes and hats, the word NO (ignores it), being confined for long periods



One year old!

11 months old.

So, I was all excited to come do L’s 11 month update this morning (excited to blog…shocker!) because I had the idea of doing a schedule/day-in-the-life post, which I’ve been meaning to do for, well, the last 10 months. But then I saw the pictures I had posted last week (while trying to start this post…never finished, obviously) and decided that this month was just not the right month for a run down of an average day with L. Too many fun and milestone happenings this month!


L went to the beach for the THIRD time. What a little beach munchkin! She was SO into it this time around. We spent a few days in Corolla, NC with three other families, all with kids under 2. No one is on your wavelength more than a fellow parent of a young child. It’s also interesting to see your kid in the context of other children; a good reminder that what we’re going through is somewhat of a universal experience. You can read/see more on Kath’s blog!


Perhaps the biggest thing that happened this month was weaning. Linden is fully weaned. Boobies no more. Sniff. A friend actually just asked me how I weaned L, and my answer was that it was a gradual months-long process, completely driven by L. I’m thankful for this, actually. It made it easier on my part (though no less sad), as I really didn’t have to come up with any sort of “exit strategy.” My supply just dropped and dropped as Linden nursed less and less, until finally we were down to just a night feeding. And then one night Linden slept all night…and the next night she slept all night…and then, well, that was it. I don’t even remember the day of our last nursing.

I expected to feel emotional, and that I did. I felt pretty bummed for a week or so. Empty, almost. It was very weird, physically, to be devoid of milk for the first time in almost a year. It was also anxiety-inducing not to have the boob to alleviate L’s crying at night. But! We got through it. L drinks her bottles without hesitation and from what I can tell, never gives the ta-tas a second thought. For the first time in a long while, I feel like my old self again. It’s amazing how freaking powerful those pregnancy/breastfeeding hormones are!


L gets 3 meals a day + 4 bottles (23-25 oz of formula). The meal thing is, well, a lot of work. Contrary to BLW advice everywhere, she does NOT eat what we eat. Short-order cook is essentially what I’ve become. And if I’m not cooking, I’m cleaning, washing dishes and bottles, and scraping shit off the floor. It’s a glamorous life over here.

We’ve moved past purees to mostly finger foods, thank god (the only thing L gets from a spoon is yogurt…and she has figured out how to take the spoon from me and put it in her mouth.) L’s favorite foods include: avocado, sweet potatoes, broccoli, eggs, veggie burgers, bananas, strawberries, waffles with coconut butter and blueberries. She doesn’t have a huge repertoire of foods, mainly because we’re still focusing on giving her the highest calorie/fat options possible (so, no pasta and bread). I’d say she’s a decent eater…for the time being :)


Linden is a walking MACHINE! She hardly ever crawls anymore. It’s sort of rough, because she’s still pretty unsteady and falls A LOT…so there are a lot of tears. No major boo boos yet, though!


Linden went through an extremely fussy week after we got back from the beach. Part of it, I think, was due to a little cold she picked up from the other kids, but part of it was definitely developmental because the next week she was like a completely different kid! It’s amazing how it happens like that (I also believe it was because she spent time with other/older kids — reinforcing my belief in getting her into preschool sooner than later)! She began playing much better independently and started “talking” a lot more. We still don’t have any intelligible real words. She never says “Chloe” anymore. I think it’s normal for an 11-month-old not to say words, but then everyone always asks “what does she say?” and makes me feel like she should have some developed vocabulary? She’s said mama and dada for months now, but to me, unless she’s connecting us with the words, those are NOT real words.

(She actually has — twice — looked at me and said MAMA and reached out her arms. HEART MELT.)


Now, girl is ALL ABOUT the pointing. L points to everything and says “TAT.” She also knows what things are. A favorite game is “where’s Mama’s nose?” She’s knows exactly where Mama’s nose is (ouch!). L also knows the signs for milk, more and all done, but doesn’t exactly use them in the proper context. She’s such a little parrot, and loves imitating all the funny faces and sounds we make.

Her other great love these days is her collection of board books. She will sit for hours…er, minutes…just flipping the pages of each one. I’ve tried to ascertain whether she has a favorite, but I believe she’s an equal opportunist when it comes to her little library. She does currently have a fondness for the Dora Halloween book with flip up thingies inside. I’m thrilled to have a little future English major…hee hee!


We took Linden to the pumpkin patch on a particularly damp and foggy Monday that Kevin happened to have off work. The patch had been pilfered and was essentially empty, but we still managed to end up with the $12 (!) pumpkin, pictured above. I figured the cute picture and experience was worth the over-priced pumpkin (said mothers everywhere). Linden has actually developed a mild obsession with pumpkins, pointing with great fervor at ours on the front porch every time we leave the house and carrying her own little pumpkin all over the house. I thought she was going to lose her shit when she saw the huge pumpkin display at Whole Foods the other morning!


So 11 months is, from what I can tell so far, the beginning of a really adorable stage. Everything she does is just so freaking CUTE. It’s exhausting, of course, chasing her around all the time, but we’re in that sweet spot between baby who still needs her mama and communicative toddler who is becoming an independent little kid.

OK…nap time is over, and so is this post!

11 months old.

10 months old.

This month was a huge month! Among other things, guess who started walking?!

This sweet girl right here!


She started taking a step or two at the end of August, but on September 6, took her first string of 4 steps! (Yep, I wrote that shit down.) My mom and grandmother say they saw her take 4 steps while we were at the beach the week before, however. It’s just so crazy…that tiny little thing walking! It’s oddly reminiscent of me learning to snowboard. Up, go a little bit, fall down. Up, go a little bit, fall down. Oh L, I feel your pain, sweet pea.

So yes, we had another beach trip this month. And it perfectly coincided with L’s very first cold and the worst cold I’ve had in a long time. Isn’t it awesome how that works?


It seems I suffered more than L did, although I have no idea how she managed to be all active and cute on the beach with NO SLEEP. No one slept…and I do mean no one. My poor family. I had to share a room with L (no Kevin on this trip) and on top of being sick, she simply will not sleep if I’m in the room with her. The first night I was up all night soothing her and trying to prevent her from crying and waking everyone up. I tried pulling her into bed with me, but she was up for hours romping all over the bed and eventually became so deliriously overtired that sleep became impossible. The second night was more of the same, and I was so sick and sleep deprived that I eventually left her in our room at 1 am to cry while I went to wake my mom up for moral support. Leaving her to cry was the only way she’d go down. God, just writing about this gives me a panic attack. The whole trip was just the worst, not sleeping and being so sick…and worrying so much about everyone else not sleeping too. And of course poor little L and her runny, stuffy nose and little cough. Ah well…we survived. I’m fully aware that there’s more of this in life to come, so I guess I better get used to it, eh?

(We’re going to the beach with friends this weekend and I’m SO dreading the sleep part. But at least Kevin will be there this time.)


On a healthier note, I ran my first race since Linden arrived on the scene. Admittedly, I half-assed trained for it…but did OK, considering. 4 miles in 43 minutes. I love running, but I do not love a) running on a treadmill and b) running with the jogging stroller. So it’s been a wee bit of challenge to get many miles in with L in tow.


We are pretty much fully weaned. L will have a little nibble here and there (and I’m actually surprised there is any milk in there) but for the most part, we’re donezo. It was hard, but I think I’ve found my peace with it. After all, it is an inevitable part of growing up. I don’t feel guilty or like I failed for weaning so early; rather, I just feel sad. And sort of weird and anxious, as I do with any major change. I just hope I’m through the hardest hormonal shift that comes with this process, something I dreaded.

Along with weaning has come sleeping through the night (consistently, not just a fluke here or there). Lordy be, I thought this day would never come! Linden still wakes up and whimpers or cries once or twice a night but quickly falls back asleep. The greatest thing about this is I am actually able to sleep too! Granted, wake up time is earlier than usual (we’re talking 5 am!) but I supposed that’s better than multiple wake ups and sleeping in later. I feel more rested than I have in a very, very VERY long time. And more rested = more sane.


Hmmm, what else? Didn’t I just write one of these updates? Ha ha! Might be time for some bullets!

– Still only has 2 teeth but is cutting her incisors. That’s going to be quite the look — 2 incisors and no front teeth!

– We started swim class this month. It’s pretty cute — we do things like sing songs, kick, chase water toys, etc. L is pretty comfortable in the water but she HATES it when she has to get out on the side of the pool to jump in. I have to basically pry her off my neck. I don’t think she’s scared, I actually just think she’s cold! She shivers most of class, which I hate. I’ve started dressing her in her rash guard suit, and I think that helps a little. We still haven’t purposely gone completely underwater (she’s fallen in face-first in the shallow play area a few times), in part because I don’t think she’s ready and in part because I’m nervous about it! We have 2 classes left, though, so hopefully she’ll get it!

– She definitely had a growth spurt in the last month and is much taller (an inch, I measured!) and her head is bigger (I also measured). I’m pretty sure she’s gained weight too (a pound, by our scale). As long as she sticks to her growth curves, I’m happy!

– I feel like she’s transitioning into a toddler right before my eyes. The walking, yes, but it’s her personality that seems more kid than baby. Everything is so new and exciting! She’s way into clapping and dancing. If you hum “if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands” she starts clapping. She also claps when you say “where’s mommy’s nose?” which is funny because she used to point to my nose, until we clapped YAY for it every time…so now she claps instead of points.

– We’re introducing more foods (no more purees except pouches, hooray!) and have given her cheese a few times. On Sunday we gave her some of our pizza, which ended up being a disaster because I forgot it had roasted garlic on it (gave her horrible gas!) and the tomatoes gave her a really heinous and painful diaper rash. The jury is still out on the cheese, however. I’m a mix of relief and dread about giving up formula in a month. Dread, because it means I have to be super on top of the milk situation and making sure she gets a good balance of nutrients. Relief, because it means I don’t have to buy formula anymore! Formula really is some gross shit. The smell is just awful…I can’t believe she drinks it! Gag.

– Speaking of gross shit…our cloth diapers! We’re still using them, but they’ve become a pain in the ass to deal with. I’m constantly having to strip and bleach them (load in right now being bleached!) and with our energy efficient washer it takes a gazillion cycles to get them clean. L’s poops and pees are definitely not the sweet little ones of the first 6 months.

– Loves: her board books (she sits quietly and turns the pages — it’s adorable), a tiny stuffed duck from my aunt Linda, sunglasses and jewelry (pulling and chewing on), crunching up leaves, wooden puzzle pieces, bath time, shoes, walks and hikes, other people (no stranger anxiety yet!), dogs, the beach, broccoli, Trader Joe’s veggie masala burgers

– Hates: bows, horses, diaper rash, getting her face/nose wiped, eggs


Just one more monthly update before ONE YEAR OLD! I can’t believe it.

10 months old.

Meal planning: an antidote to arguing with your husband.

One of the things Kevin and I argue about most frequently is whose turn it is to make dinner. This has only intensified since having Linden.

(I believe a relationship expert might classify this as “score-keeping.” Oh, we are so guilty of score-keeping. Poster children, I’m telling you. We’re working on it, though.)

I know, maybe I should feel lucky that I have a husband who actually cooks. (And does laundry. And cleans. And grocery shops. And. And…). I do feel lucky. Kev is awesome. But I also feel like cooking is not a gender-specific task. I ALSO feel like being a SAHM does not automatically mean I’m always the one responsible for making dinner… ahem.

Anyway, I love me some domestic endeavors — organizing, cleaning, gardening — but sadly, cooking is not among them. Now, on occasion I enjoy busting out a really delicious meal or hosting a party, but at the end of a long day of baby-wrangling, dinner just feels like another chore. I once told a friend who asked me if I liked to cook: I like to cook, but I hate making dinner.

After one particularly tearful argument that was not entirely about making dinner but sort of was (having a baby does a number to your relationship…that is a fact), I decided I was tired of the stress. Enter meal planning.

Now, I’ve dabbled in meal planning in the past, but it never really stuck. I think part of that had to do with the fact that we ate out SO FREAKING MUCH. Do any of y’all have Timehop? If not, download the app ASAP! It tells you what you were doing 1, 2 and 3 years ago as recorded via social media. Two and 3 years ago I was footloose and fancy free, not with child, and rolling in the dough (comparatively speaking). Every other day I checked in at this bar or that restaurant. And I’m sure we were dropping $50 – $100 a night. I kind of want to shake my old self and say “save that money, dammit, for when you take a year off from work to have a baby!” But you know, who really thinks “baby” when you’re being served up a bottle of Cab Franc and pan-seared salmon with beet-fennel slaw, black quinoa, tabouleh, dill creme fraiche and pumpkin seeds?

(I straight up just pulled that dish off the menu off one of our old favorite neighborhood spots, Root Down.)

(Now I’m really feeling depressed. I’m all lame and old and writing about meal planning when I used to live the young hip urban professional life in Denver. WAH!)

So back to meal planning, which, for better or for worse, is my life now. Meal planning has totally, TOTALLY made life so much better this week. On Sunday we sat down and each picked a few meals to make to fill in 6 nights (we picked Saturday night for eating out…old habits die hard). Then we made a grocery list with the exact items we needed for those meals, plus the regular stuff like bread, cereal, yogurt, eggs etc. I then went to Whole Foods with the list and, get this: only spent $107*!! And that was WITH Linden’s formula (which at $30 a can is not cheap).

Not only did we problem solve an issue that’s been plaguing us for months, but we SAVED MONEY.

(* Disclaimer: did not include wine or coffee, which I buy at Trader Joe’s.)

Yeah, so no more opening the fridge door and seeing nothing to make. No more “whose turn is it to make dinner” passive aggressiveness — even though we didn’t go so far as assign meals to each other, the absence of stress of deciding what to make has made me not care if I’ve done it two nights in a row. No more buying random shit that never gets eaten (I’m looking at you, packets of Trader Joe’s instant seaweed salad). No more dropping major bucks on groceries when we’re on a serious budget these days.

Meal planning, you have done this family good. Can’t believe we didn’t do this sooner!

*   *    *

There’s a whole post in me about how hard having a baby is on a relationship, only I don’t know where to start. I was reading the blog of a pregnant woman the other day who wrote about how annoying it was that people kept telling her a baby would affect her marriage. She insisted — INSISTED — that nothing would change between her husband and her. I can’t fault her for that, really, because it sounds like exactly the sort of thing I would have written. A baby just mixing right into your normal life, solid bond, supportive spouse…and all that.

The thing is, you don’t know how a baby will affect your marriage until you’re actually in it. I mean, I do think it’s a safe generalization to say that it’s not going to be easy. There are many variables to each parenting situation, but I do know we all share a few of the same stressors no matter who we are: sleep deprivation, hormones, time, money.

Kev and I are doing pretty well — big picture. As I mentioned above, our biggest issue is the game of “who is the most tired?” or “who did the most work today?” or “whose turn is it?” I don’t feel comfortable blabbing Kev’s side of things, but I know one of my issues is the assumption that because I “stay home all day,” I should have boundless energy and time and get everything done around the house because K is the one out making a paycheck so we can survive. I have a lot of guilt over this (despite Kev reassuring me that he does NOT think this — and I believe him), coupled with some resentment and feeling underappreciated. It doesn’t help that our culture/media paints this picture of women who pull together a delicious homecooked meal with no complaint after a day of no naps and lots of whining as these strong, selfless, amazing mamas.

And I don’t know about you guys, but all the blogs and articles that get re-posted to Facebook about not being a perfect mom don’t help. I wish it were just an unspoken thing that yeah, we’re not all perfect moms. Why is it even a topic? I guess it’s because we all just need continual reassurance that what we’re feeling and doing is normal and fine and that we’re not living in the 50s anymore. It’s still such a fight — against ourselves and our own expectations, primarily — and the over-abundance of those kinds of posts are evidence of that.

I’m blabbing now…

Anyway, if anyone is reading this who feels the same as I, please comment! I don’t think we talk about this enough.

ps. This is an old article that we were talking about recently with friends about how having children affects your happiness and marriage. It gave me some comfort!





Meal planning: an antidote to arguing with your husband.

9 months old.

9 months in, 9 months out!

If you asked me which felt longer, in or out, I’d probably say out, but only because of the enormity of what has happened in the last 9 months. It feels like Linden has been in our lives so much longer than 9 months. I almost can’t remember what it felt like without her.

(Almost. Yeah, so lately I’ve had some moments of missing my old childless life. I feel like I’ve written this before. I’m not pining away 24/7 for child-free living, it’s not that. I don’t wish I didn’t have Linden (as if I really need to say that). I think that I’m just feeling more like my old self now that we’re not in that super intense all-consuming newborn stage, and maybe I’m just a little impatient to get back to all the things I used to do BL (Before Linden). Realistically, I know it’s gonna be awhile before I can spend a Sunday lounging around reading the NY Times after a drunk/hungover brunch (ahhhh…miss those days). And it’s OK. Hangovers suck major balls anyway. I do NOT miss those.)

Anyway, as usual, this monthly update is totally tardy for the party. So I’m relying on my notes…again. Thank god for notes! Sometimes I think I should have just gone the paper baby book route.


Standing. L is all about the standing. This month she mastered being able to stand on her own without holding on to anything. One of her favorite places to stand is at the back door, where she looks outside for the dog and adorably says what I consider to be her first word: Chloe. Though obviously her diction is a little off…it’s more like “COE-eee.” But we know what she means. And more importantly, so does Chloe!

(Brief Chloe update: things are going pretty well! Aside from some toy chewing and an errant growl or two — L likes to crawl up to Chloe and “pet” her — Chloe and L are sisters from another mister. Especially now that solid food is in the picture. I still don’t trust Chloe and L alone — and I firmly believe that’s a bad idea no matter WHO your dog is — but it’s obvious Chloe understands L rolls with our pack. We still love our Chloe, but she is definitely more “dog” than “daughter” these days. She has accepted this happily, she would like you to all know. As long as the walks, hikes and treats keep comin’…oh, and her place in our bed. Yes, she STILL sleeps in our bed.)


Linden is a very busy, very agile, VERY MOBILE baby. I actually started to freak out a little that her gross motor skills were so far ahead of the game that surely, SURELY she’d never learn to speak or read. And so I began furiously reading her books and listening to NPR :)

(While we’re on the subject of NPR: I’m really making a concerted effort to stay up on current events. There’s nothing like having a baby to make you feel dumber than a doorknob. Seriously. The stupid cliches of moms only talking about soccer games and coupons aren’t far off. Obviously my favorite topic right now is Linden — and the whole new experience of birthing and raising her — and while I shouldn’t feel guilty about that, I definitely feel like I’ve neglected the rest of the world around me. I guess being a first-time mama will do that to a girl.)


As I was saying, this peanut is on the move. Into everything. And everything into her: the hardest part of this mobility is, by far, that Linden pops everything into her mouth. That stray piece of dog food in the corner of the kitchen under the cabinet? Linden will find it. A teeny tiny piece of plastic wrap clinging invisibly to the hardwood floors? You will be fishing it out of Linden’s mouth in a matter of minutes. Dear god is it exhausting! Though let’s be real —  at least I now have a little validation behind my obsessive daily vacuuming compulsion!

She never stops moving, ever. I heard about this one guy who did everything his kid did in a day (up and down, crawling, climbing, running, etc etc) and how freaking worked he was at the end of it. Man, I believe it. Nursing/bottle feeding is not a relaxing task unless it’s sleepy in the middle of the night. While eating L pulls my hair, grabs my nose, kicks her feet, squirms. Diaper changing is a wrestling match — a gross wrestling match if there’s poo — and we said goodbye to the changing table for good weeks ago, opting for the safe floor. Oh, and forget about snuggles…if I’m lucky, I get about a milisecond of snuggle before she spies the remote control, phone or keys. And then she’s off again!


Because of all this crawling and standing action, Linden’s growth rate slowed, as we found out at her 9 month check up. She wasn’t getting enough calories to make up for all that she was burning racing around the house like a sand crab. I felt horrible and guilty and anxious about it, of course (but really…what’s new?!). Our doctor said she sees it a lot once babies become mobile, and advised us to feed her high calorie foods (avocado, bananas, sweet potato, meat, yogurt (we do coconut), cheese (goat) etc), stay away from low calorie things that just fill her up (like pasta) and whenever possible, top her meals with olive oil or coconut oil for extra calories. We also started to give her more formula (one could argue this lead to her early weaning…and they might be right. Though I really believe she was never getting enough breast milk in the first place, either because it wasn’t there or she wasn’t into nursing…which made it not there) and feeding her three meals a day (we were just doing two). It seems to be working, as I think she’s beefing up (as much as little L can beef up). I do dread the toddler years, as I imagine it will be a battle to make sure she eats enough. L is generally just not a huge eater!

(Not sure if I need to point this out, but it’s not about what L looks like or her general stature. It’s about her getting the calories and nutrients she needs to grow and develop.)


Sleeping vastly improved this month as we settled into our quiet, comfy new home. It took a few nights of CIO, but we finally ended up back where we started, with the one nightly wake up at around 3:30 am. HALLELUJAH! Naps got soooo much better too — up to 2 hours in the morning, and an hour to an hour and a half in the afternoon. 9 and 1, baby! It’s a major relief after last month’s sleep shit show. Pretty awesome.

One thing that was not so awesome — and threw a brief little monkey wrench into our glorious sleep pattern — was Linden’s first fever. Oh, all those times I worried L might have had a fever? HA! No, when a baby has a fever…YOU KNOW. We went out to dinner with friends that night, and L was definitely not feeling well. She had gotten a Hep B vaccine earlier that day, so I chalked it up to that. She woke up crying later that night at an off time and for whatever reason (mama’s instinct), I got up to go to her. Poor peanut was hotter than fire. I woke Kevin up in a panic and we took her temperature. I was sure it would be like 105 and we’d be driving soon to the ER. But no, it was 99.9, a low fever in baby terms. We gave her some Tylenol, I nursed her for some fluids, and she fell asleep in my arms.

(Turns out, it wasn’t the vaccine. I think she had hand, foot and mouth! She had a low appetite for a few days and little blisters on her feet and hands. No official diagnosis, and no kids we hang with had it, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.)


In general, 9 months was a good month, thanks to getting back into a nice routine. My heart just swells with pride at this cutie; I’m still amazed she’s mine! She’s just such a sweet, curious, happy, adorable, talented, cute, funny, easy-going, smart  munchkin. I love her so much it’s almost painful.



9 months old.

Like you need another breastfeeding post to read this month.

Hey, so it’s National Breastfeeding Month! A LOT has been written (some interesting, some redundant) about breastfeeding this month. I haven’t really felt the urge to add to the cacophony of “breast is best!” or “it’s a mother’s choice to feed formula!” because to be honest, I’m pretty Switzerland on the subject. I’ve currently got a foot in both camps, as Linden gets boob AND formula.

But I do sort of want to record my feelings about my experience, seeing as it’s about to end in just a few short months. For the “baby book” and all :)

First let me just say that breastfeeding is pretty fucking hard! It’s one of those things — like parenting as a whole, I suppose — that is at once rewarding and challenging as hell. I simultaneously love it and hate it. For the most part, we got off to a good start. My milk came in, Linden quickly learned to latch, and after getting over the initial pain, we cruised along for a few weeks with me thinking, hey this shit is cake!

But then L started to have weight gain issues, and breastfeeding became my number one source of anxiety. I worried all the time about my milk supply. I worried about Linden taking in enough milk. I stressed over her reflux, her milk protein intolerance, and my diet. It was all-consuming, and it was hard. But I stuck with it. I don’t think I’m some rock star or deserve a medal or anything for that. It’s more that I’m stubborn — and that Linden probably couldn’t tolerate formula even if I did decide to go that route in the early months, which of course only added to my stress. I felt I sort of HAD to breastfeed.

You read all the time about formula-feeding mothers getting comments like “if you love your baby, you’d breastfeed” or “don’t you know that breastfeeding is best?” I don’t know, do people actually say this stuff out loud? It just seems so…un-PC these days! I feel like people are still pretty accepting of formula use, despite all the breastfeeding hype. We had an incident in our mother’s group where a mom posted on her Facebook page that our group judged her for formula feeding and that we thought we were “God’s gift to motherhood.” Well, I was at this meet up and no one even talked about feeding — breast or otherwise. Not once. So there’s no way anyone would have even known how she fed her child (not to mention her kid was almost 2 years old…formula was probably not on anyone’s radar for a child that age). But for whatever reason, she made it up and promptly everyone felt bad, in particular the breastfeeding mothers in the group, who all worried that maybe they had said something — anything — that came across as remotely judgmental.

Anyway, the purpose of that story is to segue to the point that formula-feeding mothers aren’t the only ones left feeling not-so-wonderful about their feeding method. I sometimes feel like I have to tip-toe around the fact that I breastfeed, lest I come across as being judgmental towards those who don’t. I got kicked out of a winery for breastfeeding in public. An old friendship of mine disintegrated because, among other things, she sent me a message accusing me of being a “snobby mom with snobby mom friends who think we’re the best mothers in the universe” for breastfeeding and then posted some unkind things about breastfeeding mothers on Facebook. Obviously this made me sad for lots of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I DON’T think I’m any better for breastfeeding. It worked for us, mostly, but we still struggled with it. It was not an easy thing to do by any stretch of the imagination. Rewarding and at times amazing, yes. Easy, no. Sometimes I feel like I just got lucky.

Formula feeding entered the picture at 7 months. I introduced formula for several reasons: L needed an extra bottle at night for the calories (and because she lost interest in nursing before bed), I wasn’t pumping very much and it was time consuming to get what we needed, and I started working for my mom on the weekends, leaving L for 4+ hours at a time. I started with soy formula, and thankfully, Linden was able to tolerate it. I initially had some reservations about the use of soy, but at the end of the day, felt that Linden’s growth and caloric intake was way more important than the inconclusive research surrounding soy use in infants. My doctor was 100% supportive of it as well, which was all I needed to move forward with soy formula supplementation without feeling much apprehension or guilt.

So yeah, surprisingly I hardly feel any guilt about giving Linden formula. Do I wish I had a robust, plentiful milk supply and a great nurser so that I could breastfeed longer? Totally! And I do feel a little twinge of giving-upness, like that feeling you get when you stop to walk in a race in which you’d hoped to run the whole time. But I don’t feel like I’m doing bad by my child by giving her a bottle. Nor have I ever once felt judged by anyone for my choice to do so. (Maybe that’s simply my good taste in mom friends, though…ha ha :)) If anything, I feel like I am doing better for her, because she’s able to get the extra calories she needs. Maybe I would have felt differently much earlier in L’s life, but as it stands now, I’m pretty a-OK with giving her formula.

( UGH, see? I feel like I have to insert a caveat here to say that no, I don’t think I’m better than any other mother who does feel guilt. Guilt is a normal feeling. I have guilt about many, many things in my life…formula feeding is just not one of them.)

(Another side note: recently, I was actually marveling over formula. Think if we didn’t have it? How many children would be under-nourished, or die? If you think about it, it is a life saver for many, many children! Though I guess someone out there is bound to argue with that…blame it on Nestle and modern childbirth and whatnot.)

Currently at 10 months, Linden is getting more formula than breastmilk because she seems to have lost interest in nursing. This is definitely a chicken-egg situation. Is she not nursing because there’s not enough milk? Or is there not enough milk because she’s not nursing? I guess I will never know the answer to that! But we are actively, albeit slowly, weaning, and that has stirred up a ton of emotions in me: relief, sadness, anxiety, rejection, to name a few. I know breastfeeding experts say that it’s very rare a child weans before age one (and if they do, it’s because they’ve been supplemented with formula), but I truly believe Linden is ready. It’s sad because, well, she’s growing up and changing and it feels like she doesn’t need me anymore, but also kind of cool because I didn’t have to entirely make the decision for her.

A couple of final thoughts:

I wish feeding one’s baby was not made out to be such a black and white issue. It’s not formula at one end and breastfeeding on the other, but rather a long continuum on which most mothers fall. I’d venture to say that there are many, many moms like me who do both. In fact, we’re probably the majority. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and when it comes down to it, all I’m trying to do is feed my kid, not make some sort of statement about what kind of mother/person I am.

Breastmilk, formula, goat’s milk, magic juju juice…WHO CARES! I can honestly say that I have zero judgment when it comes to how other mothers feed their children. Truly. (OK, so maybe I judge when I see a little kid housing some Mickie Ds. But even then, it’s not like Linden is never going to experience a Happy Meal!) I guess what I do take issue with is how divisive and at times dramatic the conversation has become. Can we not just talk about baby stuff without getting our panties all in a wad? I mean, seriously. Motherhood is hard for everyone, no matter where your munchkin gets her milk!






Like you need another breastfeeding post to read this month.

8 months old.


Linden is almost 10 months old and I’m just getting around to her 8 month update.

I’ll be honest: if it weren’t for these monthly updates, you’d be hard pressed to find me ’round here at all anymore. I’ve completely lost my blogging mojo. Not sure if it’s all that’s been going on with moving and such, a momentary lack of interest, or something bigger but…I’m not feeling it. And that sucks, because I want to feel it. I need to keep writing in my life more than ever right now. Any ideas as to how to get my ass back on the blogging train?!

Anyway… thank god I took NOTES about Linden’s 8th month because otherwise, I’d be totally making some shit up since it was SO long ago. Two months in babytime is like 25 years. A lot happens in two months, is what I’m saying.

8 months was hard. That I know for sure.

We were basically homeless. We moved out of our tiny Belmont bungalow and into another even tinier Belmont bungalow (only for 2.5 weeks, thankfully!) that we affectionately called  the “hippie hovel” due to its charmingly crunchy vibe.

Linden checking out the book selection at the Hippie Hovel

The HH was a one bedroom, meaning we said goodbye to sleep. Holy shit that was rough. I know it was mainly due to us being in the same room and the change in living situation, but I think L also went through a sleep regression/Wonder Week in that same time period, which was a double-whammy of awesomeness. Lord, I haven’t been that delirious since the 4 month sleep regression!

Linden also perfected her crawling and her pulling up. Girlfriend officially became unstoppable. We thus spent a lot of time out doing things, because an extremely mobile baby and a 500 sf cottage do not mix.


Mirror fun at the Richmond Children’s Museum

We visited our friend Sara at the Richmond Children’s Museum (which had this awesome play area for babies) and spent another day with my mom in Richmond at Maymont Park. We went to the pool a few times, had a couple of play dates with my mom’s group, went for a hike in Shenandoah National Park (where we got in trouble with the NFS for having Chloe off leash…in the parking lot, where she had just jumped out of the car. Grrr.), visited a winery, went to the gym, went to Target (twice). I know this sounds like some SAHM life of luxury but I assure you, these were measures I needed to take to stay busy, aka stay fucking SANE. It was really hard staying in a non-babyproofed house in which L would not sleep. I’m telling you: CRAZYTOWN.


L sees her first bear at Maymont Park


Swimming at Washington Park pool


Hiking in Shenandoah National Park

After checking out of the hippie hovel, we spent a few equally rough days at my mom’s (no sleeping there either) before heading to heaven. Ahhhhhhh.


We all know that babies need routine to feel safe and secure, and the same is true for me. I don’t function well without my own clean, organized and stable environment. I had a few not-so-pretty breakdowns, despite knowing that all of this was just temporary. Someone posted an article about how moving can traumatize a baby under a year old for life on my mom’s group Facebook page and I freaking lost it. We’re talking major mom guilt that I was ruining L’s ability to have meaningful relationships later in life (yes, the article actually said that moving a child would do that), anger at the housing market in this town for putting us in this situation to begin with, and, of course, a big ass dose of sleep deprivation making everything seem a gazillion times worse than it probably was.


Though wouldn’t you know it, it was all just temporary. We are now nice and settled into our lovely new home, about which I’ll write very soon. It’s clean, organized and stable. Mama’s happy. Linden’s happy. Things are on the up and up!


From my notes:

– L finally got some teeth! Her bottom two poked through at the beginning of July.

– Loves waving and clapping.

– Almost mastered her pincer grasp.

– Still breastfeeding, with a formula and/or pumped bottle at night. Tried some dairy and it did not agree, so we’re still dairy-free. Can’t believe it’s been almost 6 months without CHEESE!

– Transitioned from three to two naps a day.

– Likes: strawberries, balls, sunglasses, watching videos of herself, ripping paper, sticking everything in her mouth, the beach!

Second to “she’s so small,” the comment I get most is how “alert” Linden is. I think what people mean when they say that is how, I don’t know, mature she sort of looks….expressive, maybe. A lot of babies her age seem really babyish, kind of just chubby little blobs, but there’s something about Linden that’s very child-like. Of course I’m her mama and will say this regardless, but she’s very bright. That peanut does not miss a beat. She is tuned in to everything!

Despite it being such a rough month, I am really loving this age. Her personality is becoming so apparent: she’s energetic, independent, easygoing, sweet, and just a little mischievous and spunky too. I hope that it’s not true that we’ve screwed L up for life with all the change, and instead made her more adaptable and able to roll with the punches.

*   *   *

P.S. A little note, more for myself: L turned 9 months on July 24. I generally write updates at the end of the month, not on the day she turns that monthly age…i.e. not on June 24 when she turned 8 months, but on July 23 at the end of 8 months.

8 months old.