Monday, September 28, 2009


Last Saturday, while we were eating chicken salad sandwiches in the backyard of our new house, Marin crawled on her knees for the first time. Look out world!

Jason was working hard at hanging drywall, so Marin and I decided that we'd bring him a picnic lunch. Drawn to the shiny silver Diet Pepsi can, Marin crawled right to it, dumped the whole thing all over her, and kept going! At first it didn't really hit me. She has been so close to crawling for so long, and she has been pretty mobile with her army crawl. But all of the sudden I looked up at her and said to Jason, "Wait, did she just crawl there?!" I just kept staring at her and when I saw her moving her little knees and arms, I started shouting way too enthusiastically (who me?), "Jas! She's crawling! She's crawling!!" Our neighbors don't know too much about us, except that we have a constant stream of construction traffic, a big dog that hasn't yet learned where her yard ends and the next one starts and that Marin is crawling.

Of course, the video camera wasn't with us, but we captured a little bit on my camera's video feature. You can see that to encourage Marin to continue crawling, I am bribing her with the Diet Pepsi can. Parenting at its finest.

Proud maternal moment indeed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beauty is in the Eye of the Mother...

Being a mother is the most beautiful way I became ugly.

Seriously, aside from the obvious and inevitable weight gain during pregnancy, motherhood comes with a hefty price tag in the looks department. I am the first to admit that becoming a mother is the most wonderful, beautiful expression of ourselves. I, for one, am finding that at least toward other children, I am a more patient and perhaps more understanding person since Marin was born. But let's be real. All that aside, motherhood is a shirt stained, pony tailed, sticky-hand-wiping, six-pesky-pounds-left-to-lose kinda life.
Here are some examples of my own:

-I've mentioned it in posts before; I sometimes wear clothes that are perhaps just a little too snug. Lie. I regularly wear clothes that down right don't fit. Example: last year's jeans leave a little muffin top? Just throw a baggie shirt over the top and viola. Sitting down is a whole other story. Bending over sometimes just doesn't happen. I wish that I had a little sign to wear that explained my larger derriere: "Just had baby. Don't judge." Or better yet: "Please excuse our mess. Recent childbirth survivor."

- Although I refuse to be that mom whose fashion sense stays frozen in the year in which she became a mother; for every hour I spent reading InStyle and Lucky magazines in my pre-baby life, I spend at least three hours reading Parents or Cookie Magazine and What to Expect the First Year. When I was packing for a recent trip I had to make a desperate call to Molly to ask if chandelier earrings were still cool and to settle the score over an internal debate on whether or not I could wear white jeans after labor day.

- I just finished a book where the main character's son goes off to college. As he does, the mother reflects on him as a little child. Cue the ugly cry. I literally had to contain myself from creating a full on scene on the train, at just the thought of Marin going off to college. The girl isn't even old enough to acquire a grass stain, and I already am wiping dripping mascara off my face at the thought of packing our car with a bed-in-a-bag, shower caddy and a wipe off board for her dorm door.

- Make-up on the weekends? Huh? Oh, right. Are people still doing that? I give make-up three and a half minutes Monday-Friday. Five if I have some extra time. But on Saturday and Sunday, unless there is a occasion that necessitates a babysitter- forgetabouit.

- I used to love to shop for clothes in little boutiques that lined my favorite quaint neighborhood streets. I also was known to stalk the J.Crew website for end of the season sales, so I could load up. Now when I boutique browse I find myself skipping right to the children's stores. (And okay, if I'm being truthful, I also have been doing some shopping for our house, because, well, it is big and empty.) But I realized the other day that I haven't bought non-maternity clothes for myself since... wait for it... April of 2008. Whoa. I'd say that Jason should give me some sort of medal of shopping restraint and fiscal responsibility, except that I have actually still been shopping, and, when the items aren't for me, it makes it all the easier to drop things in the cart. Oh, I love baby clothes! :)

-Shaving my legs: Let's just say that I decided to "treat" myself to taking the time to do this the other day and I had completely forgotten how good it feels. I couldn't stop feeling my legs all day. But that's just it. Shaved legs are absolutely a luxury in my current life.

But although the adventures of becoming a mommy might be littered with breast milk leaks on your last clean shirt, squeezing into last years jeans and blotching what little make-up you have time to apply, off your face at the thought of the inevitability of letting your child go; it really is the most beautiful thing in the world when...

- Your baby learns to reach up for you, and does so every morning from her crib.

- You witness your child and her friend laughing, smiling and playing together.

- Your child has even the smallest success in their development.

- Your baby hugs you tightly for comfort when they meet someone new.

And when they bury their little head in your neck when they are tired... even if their face is covered in pureed squash and it means sending your shirt directly to the dry cleaners....

There is just nothing more beautiful than being a mommy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Walking (with aid) Before She Crawls (on her knees)...

On Saturday, Marin took her first steps! Granted, I was holding her up, but she moved her little legs forward and took her first steps none the less! It's not "real" walking of course, but we got excited about it none the less.

She still hasn't crawled on her knees. She crawls all over the place on her belly, like an army crawl, however. My Grandma said that my dad never did crawl on his knees; he opted for the army crawl, too. And the first time I crawled it was to the coffee table, only to pull myself up and walk across the room. I just skipped crawling all together.

Perhaps Marin is following in the Martin footsteps (literally!), and going right to the good stuff. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy With Pappy!!

The grandkids call Jason's dad, Bill, Pappy. At first I admitted that it reminded me of my dreaded once yearly female exam. But the name stuck, and after a weekend with Marin when she was itty bitty, Bill proudly exclaimed, "She is happy with Pappy!", and now the title of Pappy is endearing.

Last weekend, while Jason and I were touring the northeast, (for my cousin's wedding in D.C. followed by our dear friend's wedding in Nantucket), Marin spent the weekend at Pappy and Nana's. Bill said it best: "Marin was happy with Pappy all weekend long!"

Aunt Lindsay decided to join in on the sleepover, too. They all had a great time visiting with many of Jason's relatives. Lindsay got a few pictures of the weekend's highlights, including a little snuggle with Marin's Great Grandpa Hinrichs. They also played in the leaves in the yard, went for stroller rides, and cheered the Illini to victory! It sounds like it was a weekend filled with Marin's leg kicks, arm flaps, and gigantic grins; all true tests of the great time that she had!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Martha Stewart Had a Nanny...

I've been thinking about something lately. Why do women have to have it all? Better yet, why do we have to have it all, and act like it is easy? It's not easy. Everyone knows that. So why do we extend our perfectly manicured hands in a wave to our neighbors with a lip glossed smile as if to say, "Here I am, totally together!" Why is that normal? It's not normal.

Take the other day for example. I showed up to work wearing a skirt that was too small, and unwashed hair slicked back in a ponytail (headband hopefully hiding the grease). Marin woke up early that morning, and I'd literally rather look a mess in order to get 15 uninterrupted minutes with her, than have a warm shower. As I was racing to daycare I was thinking about all I had to get done at work that day, and then as soon as I dropped her off I wanted to call in sick. When I actually got to work, all I could think about was Marin, and when I got home that night the next days work was never far from my mind. Meanwhile, I'm not as helpful to Jason as I'd like to be with the house, my friendships are sitting fourth string on the last season of the game, my boss is asking more and more of me, my life is in boxes at some storage shed across town, my house is literally ripped down to the studs and Marin is growing up before my eyes.

I told Jason the other day that I feel like I have my hands in all these different pots, and they are all overcooked and boiling over. I'm spread so thin, and not feeling adequate in any area. What gives? Some days I feel like a rope that is rapidly unraveling at both ends. When the ends meet in the middle what will be left of me?

I know I'm not alone in this. Other moms have half admitted they feel the same when I have brought it up to them. So why is there so much stress on being perfect? Why can't we be heroes for being good enough? For trying as hard as we can. You don't win the bake sale for bakery bought cookies because you "tried". So why don't we just say, "I'm a mom. I'm exhausted. I'm totally spent. My clothes don't always fit right, and my hair isn't always washed. I may not be the super star at work that I was before, because guess what- I'm late to the meeting because I was washing pureed peas off my skirt. I haven't returned your call about last weekend because I honestly haven't had a minute to even locate my phone. But guess what. I love my baby. I love being a mom. I'm not perfect. I don't even have the time to try and be perfect. And this is who I am." I think there is honor in that.

You know the mom with the freshly waxed car... and eyebrows.... and the perfectly shiny hair? Three days after birth, she's back in her skinny jeans. You want to hate her. Then you find out that she also volunteers at the nursing home, knits her kids a new scarf each winter, and just made partner. To top it off she's the nicest person you ever met. How does she do it? My mom was this mom. My friend Erica is this mom. My friend Molly will be this mom one day.

I am a big fan of the team. The "momtourage". Yes, Martha Stewart makes a perfect roast and serves it at a beautifully decorated table topped with a homemade centerpiece from her garden. But guess what. Martha Stewart had a nanny. And, she went to jail. :)

Sure, Marin eats homemade organic food. But Jason made the last batch. And yes, Marin will have a handmade Halloween costume, but her Auntie Molly is making it for her. I believe a woman is only as good as the sum of her parts. So its fine by me if Marin learns humility from her Grandpa and a sense of humor from her Auntie Mika. She can learn grammar from Grandma, and all about sports from her Pappy. Daddy will make her feel confident and beautiful and Auntie Molly can teach her math. Aunt Vee can teach her about the farm, and Nana can teach her how to spot a good sale. Uncle Jake can teach her how to sing, and Aunt Katy can show her how to balance her checkbook. Aunt Lindsay can teach her the meaning of "Oskee Wow Wow!" Maybe she'll see that I can't do it all. And that's just fine by me. I can teach her, that as long as you try your hardest, you'll always be your best.

Now excuse me while I proudly slip into yesterday's t-shirt.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

7 months old!!!

Seriously?! Are you honestly telling me another month has passed by? I have become an official cliche; the time seriously flies by. Every mother on the planet warned me, "Enjoy her; times goes so quickly." I'd just smile politely and think, "yay, yay... I've heard that a million times." But sure enough, here I am seven months later saying that very thing. Where does the time go? How is it POSSIBLE that Marin is already seven months old?! She's a character I'll tell you. Here are some things that she's been up to:

**She cracks herself (and us) up at every turn. She is an EXTREMELY happy baby. She is constantly charming the pants of people with her ear to ear grin. It lights up a room and is completely contagious.

** She is very excitable. When she sees something she likes (dogs for sure!) she kicks her legs like crazy and squeals. Marin's love affair with Norah continues, and she has added Buddy, the 80 pound golden retriever at daycare, to her brood. Her attraction to Buddy is his fur. Since Norah has short hair, she is completely gaga with Buddy's think hair. Most days when we pick her up she is fist full of it in her hands. Luckily, Buddy is a gentle giant. Norah remains a perfect canine sister. Her ears are constantly pulled and her eyes are poked out more times that I'd stand for, at least.

** Marin is a good little eater. So far she has had peas, (yikes- remember? We tried again, and they stayed down this time), carrots and green beans. She eats her food right up, and is very interested in holding her own spoon like a big girl. Next up- sippy cups. She's definitely ready. She watches us drink out of a glass like it was the most interesting thing in the world.

** She's very strong. She sits up like a champ, totally unaided, totally unsupported. She pulls herself half way up, but can't get herself all the way up. She is even starting to try to pull herself up on things.

** She is scooting all over the place. It's not what I'd call a traditional crawl yet, but it gets her where she needs to go. She sorta swims on land. She pushes off with her toes, and then reaches her arms out in front of her and pulls herself forward. She rotates like this until she gets where she wants to be. She has started to pull herself up on all fours, and is rocking back and forth a lot! Any second now she is going to just take off and crawl.

** Her favorite toys are still the excersaucer and her brightly colored board books. She also is really into small stuffed dollies. Everything still goes right into her mouth. Everything. No teeth yet though.

** Marin is a recent gadget girl. She loves buttons. Buttons on the computer, the phone, my blackberry. She loves to push the buttons; especially if they make noise.

** We still sing songs. She recognizes her favorites now and gets really excited to hear them. She loves to dance, or should I say bounce up and down. She loves the twist. No, I'm not joking. :) "Come on baby, let's do the twist..."

** She's sleeping like a champ. We put her down sleepy but not asleep around 7:30pm and she sleeps straight through without a peep until 7am. Thank you Jesus.

** Marin is still totally chill. I'm still completely amazed by this, but know better than to complain. She goes with the flow and is easy with change.

** Marin loves the park (and the stroller ride there). She especially loves the swing!

** She loves her new house and her new yard. We take a lot of walks there and have picnics in the yard with her dollies and favorite books. (I promise pictures of the progress soon...I'm working on a little something. :))

We're loving every single second with her. She is the absolute brightest spot in both of our lives. When we go in to get her in the morning, she smiles back at us from her crib and kicks her legs and it absolutely warms my heart with the deepest love I have ever felt.

We are very blessed with our darling little Marin. We think she is a perfect little peanut. Now if only we could slow down time...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hello? Is this thing on?

I know, I know... I've been away a while. Remember my post about the crazy weekend I had? Well, life has been a little bit like a continuation of that ever since. In fact, in the next 10 days I am going to be traveling to three states on two separate coasts. Yeah. I'm that cool. :)

Here are some recent pictures of Marin in the meantime...