Friday, December 2, 2011

Milestones and Memories: Week 28-32!

October 9-November 12, 2011

You have grown and changed so much in the past month and a half! You sit up for long stretches at a time unassisted, you smile with a scrunched up nose, you talk and sing and babble. You have become very clear in your communication and desires.  You kiss and snuggle us fiercely.  You have claimed my iPhone as your own (for chewing, taking your own picture, and talking with Dada) . Some of my favorite you-things: You and Legobrother love on each other so hard.  He makes faces and funny sounds and smiles at you and you absolutely BEAM.  He won't go to sleep unless the two of you have a gentle head bonk, and Blue-eyed Brother has taken up the practice as well.  You absolutely love wine glasses and like to watch the liquid slosh and move and with the more sugary wines, you follow the legs as they trickle down the side of the glass.  You love to feel the glass on your gums, too (no wine! only glass!).  You appear to be a wine lover in the making (give it another 20.5 years or so, ok? Dad and I have already discussed that we will teach you to have an incredibly advanced palette, so that you will turn up your nose at the booze your young friends may have readily available!) We co-sleep, and your favorite way to snuggle at night is with your face towards mine,  a leg thrown up over my side, and a little sleep-smile on your face.

You have some favorite toys including Murray the orangishpink lamb-thing (it's creepy, you LOVE him!),  Lucy the pup, Sophie the giraffe, your "Baby's first pocketbook and cellphone" from Jordan, Dad's iPad, the ABC music maker, rings, and the Mozart Magic Cube from Rossi.  You're now bouncing up and down in your musical jumper and it absolutely delights you.  If you are hanging out in it, playing with all of the bells and whistles, and Dad or I come up to you and jump, jump, jump - you do too!

We've been up to a lot! When you were 28 weeks old (10/14), I took you to your first Kirtan while the boys all had movie night together.  Mark Nanni from The Now performed (drums, voice, percussion) and you sang and cooed and looked around with the brightest eyes.  It was so special spending that time with you, snuggling and singing words and songs that have such meaning.   The following week, OmBoys Juice and Smoothie Cafe opened, right by the yoga studio, and we were some of their first customers.  (The Pink and Perky is my very favorite drink.) We went on our own, and we also brought Dad for a lunch date. 

You turned thirty weeks old on the 23rd of October. This was also the weekend that Sri Dharma Mittra came to CNY Yoga.  On Saturday, I attended the Satsang, and on Sunday morning we began our longest ever time apart (about 4.5 hours!). For a little bit of that time, you had your first ever babysitter (Mer!) with neither Mom nor Dad around (Dad was at SYO. Mer reported that you were delightful).  On Sunday, Sri Dharma taught at the Genesee Grande, in the ballroom, and it was incredible.  Meditation, Pranayama, Asana, Lecture... it is hard to write about, because I am still reflecting on all of those lessons learned (or visited) in a time span of less than 24 hours. I asked Lorie if you could accompany me to the psychic development lecture in the afternoon, and she welcomed you freely.  You were a doll, and wanted to coo and sing to the friends all around.  I did not want anyone's meditation to be disturbed, so I nursed you and we listened from a distance.  I think you felt all of the amazing energy in the room.   I left that weekend so inspired and feeling so a part of the CNY-Yoga Center family.  I felt warm with receptiveness, compassion, love and light, doing right because right must be done, and knowing that all in our life is as it is meant to be.  (As I am writing this, it is over a month later, and I can't overstate the impact this weekend had on me. I think hindsight is necessary to pinpoint turning points in one's life, but I think that this was a turning point)  My eating habits have changed, my outlook on life is magnified,  I am loving harder than I have ever loved before.  I am so glad you were there with me that for afternoon.  Perhaps you're on a very early start towards the path of enlightenment. 

During this Thirtieth week of your life, you also sat in a restaurant high chair for the first time, you started to scooooootch backwards on the floor, and you had Maddie visit as a Mother's helper while I taught lessons.  Legobrother was diagnosed with Pneumonia and Dr. P said you needed to be far apart from oneanother.  Both of you hated that.  This also marked the first time that you really noticed the boys leaving when it was time for them to go back to their Mother's house.  You cried (I mean: CRIED) and it broke Dada's and my heart.  I think it will only get harder with time.  On Saturday, your Dada conducted the Faure Requiem at the OnCenter as the Buglisi Dance Company danced.  It was amazing, Bellabean.  You will be so proud of him in your lifetime.  He is amazing, beautiful to watch, and such a gifted artist and musician.

For Halloween, you were a bunny.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Adorable (in my totally biased Mama opinion) ! Blue-eyed Brother was a gangster, and Legoboy was Captain America!  You make quite the threesome.  We went to your brothers' Halloween parade at school, attended parent teacher conferences, had an appointment with Susan (our midwife), and then you helped me pass out candy to Trick-or-Treaters!  Dad traveled to Wisconsin for a gig, and the ladies ruled the house.  The pups and we snuggled tons while he was away, and Friday, we met up with Karen for a windy but wonderful walk at OLP.  Saturday, you had your second trip to Icihiban, where we celebrated Legobrother's 8th birthday.  You loved watching the flames and seat-side cooking. 

Legobrother turned eight on the same day you marked 32 weeks on the 'outside'.  We had a great big breakfast for LB, and then the day moved quickly with an SYO concert for Dad, CW rehearsal for Mom, and your first Daylight savings (so not a big deal for you because instead of waking up at noon, you woke up at 11! Nightowl baby ftw!) You helped me run lots of errands this week (Farmer's co-op, Wegmans, post office, voting, vets for the pups checkup, etc.), and you're getting to be a pro at the new carseat (I wish my seat in the car was as comfy!)

On Wednesday (11/9/11) you performed with your first quartet.  Blue-eyed Brother was practicing 'Cello, and I asked him if I could join on flute.  Well, when I play flute, Lucie howls/sings/screams, and you thought that all the sounds were quite hilarious, so you joined in and SANG with us! The four of us played/howled/sang to the Banana Boat song until BEB and I could not play because we were laughing so hard.  I SO wish we had video of that moment. 

Every moment with you is a gift, a jewel, a perfect package.  My heart aches at your smiles, breaks with your tears, and absolutely melts at your giggles. I love you endlessly and completely and with every fiber of my being.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Hospital Packing List

When I learned that I was pregnant, I began reading and reading and reading... I read every pregnancy, labor, and birthing book, magazine, blog, and message board that I could get my hands on.  I knew that I wanted to be as well-prepared and well-informed as possible.  I love sharing my knowledge with others (I can't help wanting to teach, it's who I am at the center of my being, no matter the subject) and so some of my posts will be full of information that helped me along our path and things I wish had been in one place when I was researching.  Future posts will include: mama/birth blogs I follow, mama/birth books I read, cloth diapering suggestions, what AP means to us in all of its different forms, how yoga and hypnobirthing make such a great pair - please let me know if you have requests! I have already had some wonderful correspondence with experienced mama friends and great friends who have become pregnant over the past 6-12 months and I have honed some of these posts from letters, facebook messages, emails, and conversations with these lovely mamas and mamas-to-be.  Thank you LJ, AC, TH, AE, KH, JR, BPM, SA, SN, HS and lots of other mamas for wonderful mama chats that helped me develop these posts.

Our Hospital Packing List

I grew up participating in an organization called Pony Club, and the group focused on helping kids become great equestrians, but also even more on being an excellent partner with your horse, taking the best care of them, and valuing horsemanship over all else. Well, my Mom and Dad still cry "pony club!" whenever they see me plan, organize, and pack anything, as packing up a horse for an event, rally, or pony club event taught me to be more than thorough.  (I once overpacked luggage for a trip.  It was over the 50 pound limit.  By thirty pounds.  Oops!) The hospital list? Totally Pony Club. 

Here's what we packed - if you are thinking of putting together your own list, I hope this helps!

Packed for Mama:
Hospitals scare me.  I don't like the smell or feeling or equipment or fear in the air.  90% of me wanted a homebirth, but the 10% that felt comforted by the hospital birth (and the feelings of Handsome Husband) made our decision.  (If I had another baby, home it would be, I think, but that's for another discussion!) Anyway, I wanted to create an atmosphere that was as comfortable and home-like as possible.
  • toiletries: lip balm, hair ties, lotion/face lotion, brush, shampoo/shower gel, makeup (it's nice to be able to spiff up for visitors, pictures), deodorant
  • socks, slippers, flip flops
  • undies, nursing bra(s), day/days after outfit and going home outfit (think comfy yoga clothes, you'll probably look and feel and be your 5 mo. pregnant size)
  • boppy, own pillow and colored pillowcase (colored pillowcase so your pillow doesn't get confused with hospital pillows)
  • mints and snacks (granola bars, little candies)
  • phone charger
  • toilet paper (hospital tp is awful and it is nice to have comfort!)
  • soft home towel in a color other than white (see tp explanation and colored pillowcase explanation)
  • nightgowns/robe (never wore the hospital stuff, didn't ruin either, was SO grateful for the robe after as I was absolutely FREEZING and couldn't warm up for anything)
  • camera/video camera/chargers/cord to hook to laptop
I packed two bags - one for stuff I wanted during labor and one for after.  We arrived to my birthing suite with only the stuff I needed right away, so that it did not feel like we were moving in, and if they had sent us packing (I knew they wouldn't) we wouldn't have had to drag everything out.  Also, I knew labor, delivery, and recovery would be in one suite, and then we would move to another wing - we waited until the move to get the "after" stuff. 
Brought but didn't use:
Keep in mind, I arrived at the hospital at 6pm on Saturday, Isabella was born at 1:58am on Sunday, and we were home by Monday early afternoon.  If I had a longer labor and recovery, or if I had a section, I am sure I would have been at the hospital longer, and required a different list.
  • journal, glasses, magazines, music (I thought I would need entertainment, but my phone was enough and I was laboring quietly with HH, snuggling my baby, or sleeping!! No time or real need for entertainment)
  • pump
  • pads (used the hospital ones)
  • birth plan (had discussed it with my providers ahead of time, and felt so much conviction and no pressure from them to vary - I never brought it out.)
  • many of the snacks/crystal light/tea - the hospital kept decent food coming (super accommodating to veg requests)
  • id/insurance card
  • bathing suit for water labor (modesty was SO gone by the point I was in the tub!)
Packed for Bellabean: 
  • 2 diapers
  • baby blanket
  • receiving blanket
  • going home outfit with hat
  • change of clothing sizes in case she was a super-peanut or mega-monster
 The only things we used for her were the going home outfit and blanket for the car ride! Everything else was hospital provided for the stay (receiving blanket, bulb aspirator, diapers, blankets, clothes)

Packed for HH:
  • comfy clothes for the stay
  • bathing suit
  • night clothes
  • toiletries
  • laptop
  • magazines
  • phone/laptop cords
Packed in the Car:
  • car seat, fully installed
  • garbage bags and towels (just in case we had a highway delivery!)
I felt really prepared with the "stuff" we had packed and ready, and I am comforted by preparation.  Hope this list helps someone someday! Mamas, is there anything you would add? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Bellabean has become so expressive over the past few weeks.  She just started to wave "Hello!" and it seems like it would be an easy progression to start using our hands to communicate in other ways as well.  HH and I both intuitively sign to her as it is (we're both conductors, what would you expect!), so I started to look into Baby Sign Language.  I love the idea! I found a fantastic website (clear explanations, beautiful videos, baby-tailored) called My Smart Hands.  She uses ASL, but explains how modifications can help little hands.   At this point, I am practicing incorporating the signs into our daily conversations and it feels very natural.  Here are the first few words we're using:


I Love You
Change Diaper

As we progress, and the family/needs words become ingrained and natural, I am going to try to incorporate these next words, too! 

All Done/Finished

Have you signed with your little ones? What words and signs were most important to you?  Are there any that you still use as they are older? "I love you" is certainly a mainstay of our family communication, even between HH and me (and the boys, and the girl, and the grandparents, and the dogs!!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Milestones and Memories: Weeks 25-27

Dear Bellabean,

The fall has been so very beautiful.  I love crunching on the leaves with you in my arms, snuggling up, dressing you in cutecutecute fall clothes and showing you the new sights, sounds, and smells of the new season.  I can't wait to take you pumpkin and apple picking! Here's what we've been up to. 

Week 25: September 18-24
We had a great week together.  Tuesday, I went into school for the first time this school year to help out with Percussion Ensemble.  It was nice to be with my school kids, but I just couldn't wait to be home with you! (Ok, I may have teared up in the car a little bit. Or a lot. <3) When you are a little older, and can wear hearing protection, I will bring you to night rehearsals!

During this week, SU made the move to the ACC.  I am definitely not embracing this! You have many SU outfits, and none of them are emblazoned with Big East logos, so we're still fashionably current.

Thursday, you ate solid food for the very first time! What a step! For your first food, you wore a bib from Auntie Erin that says "Treble Maker" (Adorable!).  We mushed up Avocado and put it on your tray.  You played, and painted, and nommed, and gummed, played with your spoon, and even ate a little! LB sidled up to your high chair and showed you how he ate with a spoon five or six times.  Honest-to-goodness, you took the little spoon and put it right into your mouth with a big bit of avocado! You made the most hilarious face, looked at me like "Um, Mom? This is SO not Mamamilk", but then smiled big because we all cheered!  We're doing a combination of Baby-led Weaning (which is not about stopping nursing, but about starting solids) and home made baby food!

On Friday, we had a lunch date with Karen at the Coppertop, and you were so sweet!

Week 26: September 25-October 1
6 months!
On Monday, I left for Lorie's 5:30 yoga class, and just as I pulled in to park at the Studio, I got a call from Dada.  He was breathless, and at first I was worried that something was the matter, but then I realized he sounded really happy! "You will never believe me, but she just said DADA!!!" Oh my goodness, Bellabean, he was completely and totally ecstatic.  From that night on you've been Dadadadadadaing up a storm!

When we visited Natalie, Lauren, and Pat over the summer, Lauren recommended the book Baby Love for making your food.  The book came in on Monday, we food shopped on Tuesday, and we cooked and prepared your first months of food on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday! It was a blast! No jars for you, little one! Most of the time I was cooking and prepping, I wore you on my back in the Ergo (omg. I linked to a new color that makes my heart flutter! Repeat after me: We don't need a new one only because of the color, We don't need a new one....).  I have never cooked with so much love.  We hand picked every ingredient, cooked together, and marveled at the beautiful colors, textures, and tastes.  At the end of our first cooking experience we had frozen cubes of Carrot, Peas, Apple-Butternut Squash, Pomegranate-Pear.

Friday, we attended our first Music Together class, taught by my friend Steph, whom I met at prenatal yoga.  You love her daughter Amelia, and you knew each other before you were born! You love the Jumping, Jumping song, My Paddle, and the Train Song. We play the CD in the car and before naps and have rewritten almost every song to be Bella-centric.

Auntie Emily came to visit on Saturday! She snuggled with you, we hung out and chatted, went to dinner at Grimaldi's Luna Park with Handsome Dada, and cooked a big breakfast together.  It was a short visit, but so sweet!

Week 27: October 2-8
This last week was wonderful.  The leaves are starting to fall and they really changed towards the end of the week.  You love to have me hold you out on the back deck while you watch the puppies play and the leaves flutter to the ground.

You had your Six month appointment on Monday with Dr. Purnima! You are 19.12lbs and 27.5 inches long! You're now so long that you are wearing new 12 month clothes.  Speaking of clothes, we sent a love-care-package to Jackie V and baby VB this week with clothes that were passed down from Bryanna and her daughter Charlotte, that came from a Crouse Mama (Betsy MH) before her! Jackie and Tom have now dubbed the Crouse Mamas' Club as the 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Onsie'.  I LOVE it! 

We have been introducing foods slowly, and you love the Pomegranate-Pear and Avocado-Bananas, really like the Butternut-Apple (especially with a little banana added) and well, you actually gagged, and made moves similar to those of a hairball-coughing-up cat when we tried the peas.  Perhaps we will try adding some banana to those also! You certainly have a flair for the dramatic and let us know that peas weren't your idea of deliciousness! Unfortunately, for you, I have heard that it takes 14 tries to learn to like something, so we won't give up!

Well, Wednesday you said your first looking-at-Mama "Mama!"  I swear my heart skipped a beat and you better believe I cried!! You are now saying Mama and mamamamamama! and it nearly makes my heart explode every. single. time.

Also on Wednesday, Steve Jobs, past CEO and founder of Apple computers died.  I think that he is one of the most brilliant artists and entrepreneurs to create and innovate during my lifetime, and I will be interested to see how you will learn about him in your life.

I wore you in the Ergo at Wegmans for the first time! You are SO good in your carseat, and seem to enjoy the vantage point, but I usually put you IN the cart rather than on top of it.  Throughout my pregnancy, I read a number of articles about babies getting hurt (some fatally) by falling from being perched on top of a shopping cart.  We had a big bit of shopping to do, and I did not think everything would fit comfortably in the cart with you in it too, so on my back you went! You were great and the best part of the trip was when a four year old boy saw you, grabbed his Mom's arm, and started yelling "Mommy, Mommy! There is a BABY IN A BACKPACK! You don't see that every day! Mommy! A backpack baby!!!!" You dutifully grinned back at him with all of your might!

Grandma and Grandpa arrived on Saturday for their birthday celebration visit! BEB and LB made cards, and you signed a card from the family with a beautiful handprint.  We went to Riley's for dinner and had a great end to the week.  

I adore you, Bellabean.  I love you every moment of your day, and I hope you feel the love your Dad, brothers, puppysisters, Grandparents, other loved ones, and I feel for you.  I hope that feeling lasts for your whole life! <3

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Milestones and Memories! Weeks 21-24 - The End of Summer

Baby girl! you're now 6 months old!!! 

The end of Summer and beginning of Fall:

Week 21: August 21-27
The end of summer was full of incredible (and scary!) weather! On the 21st (Sunday), there was a Tornado Watch that turned into a Tornado Warning.  You, Dad, Puppies, and I watched the news and they said that the weather situation was going to come down Rt. 31 and go right over our house, so we battened down the hatches (closed all the shades, took down the outdoor umbrella, put chairs near the house) and had a Tornado party in our basement.  We camped out with computers and phones, a plush blanket, and waited for the warning to end. You entertained us by doing "Happy Baby" and chewing your toes, all while smiling. All safe, phew! On Tuesday we had an earthquake! Dad felt it, but the rest of us had no idea.  The end of the week was full of Hurricane Irene, and making sure we were ready for the rain, but more importantly, that Grandma and Grandpa and all of our other loved ones out east would be safe.   A hurricane, tornado, and earthquake all in one week!
On Friday night, we had a 2.5 hour family dance party that included a totally fantastic (in my humble opinion) playlist (Beatles, Tower of Power, Buddy Rich, music from Rent, Queen, Bill Chase, Bela Fleck, RHCP, DMB, Beyonce, & Chicago, among others) and encompassed cooking, eating, and cleaning up dinner, dancing, and rocking out on piano, bongos, electric guitar, and voice with Handsome Husband, Blue-Eyed Brother, Legobrother, you, and the pups.

On Saturday, you and I had a girls' sleepover in the house that consisted of an early bedtime, lots of snuggles, nursing, and sleeping (Does life get better?) The boys had a sleepover outside in their summer project treehouse (for the first time!). Don't worry, the boys didn't rough it too much - they had streaming wi-fi movies in the tree house (Star Wars, of course), blankets, pirate flags, pillows, and snacks galore, and there was a fire blazing right outside in the fire pit!
During this week, you also started sitting up unassisted for the first time, using a wooden and wire track toy from your cousins: Autumn and Adam.

Week 22: August 28-September 3
Dad went back to work this week and we started figuring out our daily routine together.  You slept in a bit every day, we went on walks, we cleaned and cooked, and made some trips in to my schools.  We also visited Liz and Addison to return my borrowed maternity clothes and pick up some toys and a bumbo; Addison held you and you two snuggled!

Week 23: September 4-10
BEB and LB went back to school this week - 4th and 2nd grade! This was the first September in 25 years (more, if you count pre-school!) that I did not start school, too.  Best. September. Ever! (Now, don't get me wrong, I love my job BUT. This is WAY more fun!) We had a dinner date with Andy, Carrie, and Henry at the start of the week, and at the end of the week, you attended your first brother soccer games!

Week 24: September 11-17
Sunday was Dad's first rehearsal of the new Syracuse Youth Orchestra.  The date of your birth will always be linked in my mind with the start of the end of the SSO/SSYO and then the start of this new endeavor, so it felt really special to watch Dad get this first rehearsal off the ground.  It was also the tenth anniversary of September 11, which you will learn about as you get older.  It will be interesting to see how you read about it and learn about it in your lifetime.  
Monday, you pushed all the way up onto your hands, with straight arms, for the very first time!

This week, according to a paper in BEB's school-work folder, he had to make a list of household line segments. His list: String, pencils, cords, straws, and... Bellabean's drool. Ah, brotherly love! 
We got brave this week and started taking our walks through Radisson with the puppies! You peeked over the edge of your stroller to watch them for almost the whole first walk.  So cute! 
Grandma and Grandpa came to visit and brought Grandma's amazing painting that hangs above our piano in the music room.  I actually missed you a little bit because they snuggled you so thoroughly.

You're just starting to stir from your nap, so I will sign off for now.  Love you SO much Bellabean. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Memories and Milestones: Weeks 19 & 20

Week 19: (8/7-8/13)
Another big week! We started this week with Rachel and Braden's wedding.  It was beautiful, and you got to wear your orange wedding tutu (because everyone has to have an orange wedding tutu, of course).  Monday was the Summer Festival Orchestra concert and you and your fantastic rehearsal/concert companion, Lauren, made the program.  The program listed all of the instruments and performers, and at the bottom was "Bellaphone" with Lauren H. noted as Bellaphonist.  Well, the funny thing was, all of these professional career musicians were in the crowd and many approached your Dad having looked up the Bellaphone on their iPhones, thinking perhaps that there was an instrument new to them.  Dad just held you up in the air and smiled, saying: "Bellaphone." Priceless! We had a great time going out with the Bill and Maggie after.   
orange wedding tutu

This week, you were a smiling machine, giving your best sweet eyes and smiles to everyone.  You splashed in the tub for the first time, and really went at it! You started grabbing and dragging objects, and even grabbed Cow from over your head and pulled him onto your tummy.  When you are happy you kick your legs and wave your arms.  This week you laughed, out loud, at my hair bouncing (I lean over you and bounce my hair over my head) and also at the puppies barking at each other.  We think that you might be a singer (soprano, obv.).  The other day, you were singing to Dada, and he sang back to you.  You would sing a little longer, so he responded by singing a little longer.  Finally, you took a giant breath and saaaaaaaaaaang! Well, he did it back and you BURST into tears! Absolutely, baby-gut-wrenching-to-your-toes inconsolable bawling.  He out diva-ed you and you didn't like it one little bit.

We had dinner at Julie's with friends and you were a doll.  The owner, waitstaff, and various customers came to visit you because you were so sweet! We also had a visit with James W. and his Grandma and I had my first-ever Reiki session with Karen M.

We traveled to CT again this week to see Grandma and Grandpa, and also to travel to the Cape for Eric and Kate's wedding!  As I was packing (8/11), you were in your crib (it is side-carred to our bed) and had your first flip over! You went from back to tummy! Then I put you back and you did it again! SO cool.

On our way to CT you slept the entire time and never cried, we chilled with Grandma and Grandpa, and Auntie Barbara Jean, Uncle Bill, Uncle Doug and Linda came over for a lovely picnic.

Our trip to the Cape was wonderful.  You met KatieRay, Yoni & Elena, Mike & Anna, saw Lauren, Pat, and Natalie again, and, of course, met the couple of the weekend: Eric & Kate, and Eric's daughter, Bailey. (KatieRay reads this blog, and was hoping that I would someday write about my birthing experience with you.  Mostly because she hopes I thought of her lots during the process, which I think is hilarious.  I never, in my life, thought I would hear KatieRay say that she hoped I thought of her in Labor. Funny thing is, now when I think of labor, I think of KatieRay.  Well done, Katie!) We saw a gorgeous sunset on the beach, dined with friends, lazed in the sand with Elena, shopped in Orleans, and you were a rockstar the whole time.  While I was at the wedding, you were at The Lobster Claw, and you and Dad were so cute that you earned him a free rootbeer float! Nicely done!
Our beach night - Auntie Katie's in the middle :-)

Week 20: (8/14-8/20)
This was get-into-the-swing-of-schoolyear-week for Dad, and prep-school-stuff-for-my-sub-week for me. We were slow on the activities and events, but you really got great with your hands and had a number of firsts! You passed a coaster and some of your toys back and forth between hands for the first time. You began squealing with laughter at tummy kisses, and you sat up, unassisted, for about 20 seconds at a time! You also found your feet with your hands and have been doing happy baby ever since.  Right now you are showing left hand preferences (like Mama!) but your right hand always catches up quickly.

Midweek, Erin and Kim came over, and we had a wonderful visit (with some excitement!!!!) and they came bearing a thirtieth birthday present! It is a gorgeous Tiffany frame with a picture of you and me and behind that picture, a photo of Erin, Kim, and me.  The frame sits on my office desk so that I can see you when I am working. What a beautiful present! At the end of this week, we had the Jones family over for dinner, and as I was getting dressed you were doing tummy time, though, not for long! You had your very first tummy to back flip! You looked shocked and thrilled all at once.

Bellabean, before I met you, people explained to me that loving your baby was different than any other love. I believed them, but I could not possibly understand.  I love your father as much as love is possible, I love my dear friends, I love my family, I love and have loved the furry family in my life, but loving you is like suddenly realizing that there are more senses than the five you've always known, or realizing you can now see in dimensions other than the three in front of you.  This love is new and bold and life-changing and all-encompassing and different and wonderful. I love you until the end of the numbers.   

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lovebursts and babykisses

My college roommate, Katieah, and I often used the word loveburst.  We defined loveburst as one of those moments when you feel so much love and emotion and happiness that it actually feels as if your heart wells up and nearly explodes out of your chest.  You are usually left with a silly expression on your face, and possibly even some happy-tears.

New cause of lovebursts:

Bellabean has started giving baby kisses.  Until these started, I didn't know they were a thing with lil' ones. This is how her baby kisses happen... She:
  •  looks at you
  •  looks at you like she wants to eat you (lovingly, of course)
  •  gives a big smile
  •  puts up her tiny hands to your face
  •  squeezes the daylights out of your cheeks/neck/eyesockets
  •  pulls your cheeks/neck/eyesockets towards her with all of her might while leaning in and planting the wettest, open mouthed, tongue lolling kiss on the side of your face or tip of your nose 
  •  holds on for dear life
  •  often sings or smiles, or laughs all while kissing on you
Although there is occasionally some discomfort (baby nails in the eyesockets, yes?) it is one of the sweetest things I have ever experienced.  When she kisses on my nose, I will kiss back and usually get her chin.  This makes her laugh big ole' baby belly laughs and leaves us both in a pile of giggling girl.

What are your favorite loveburst moments?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Milestones and Memories, Weeks 17&18!

Miss Bellabean: I cannot believe that you are nearly five months old.  I am catching up on the past four weeks in two separate posts <3

Week 17: (7/24-7/30)
I  turned thirty this week! Funny, but I was more interested in your four month birthday than I was my thirtieth.  You guys got me new yoga mats! I wore through my old Jade mat (bits and pieces were coming off as I practiced) and now have a new Jade Harmony mat in Orchid and a mat to go underneath. You really started playing with toys this week - Lola the pink poodle, Bug, and rings really kept your fascination.  You found your mouth in these past few weeks and have been mouthing everything you can grab.  When we side-lie nurse, you have started doing these leg-kick spinning quarter turns, and I think it will be soon that you are turning from back to tummy.  I would be interested to see if cloth diapered babies turn later... I think the junk in your trunk, due to CDing, makes it hard for you to push over!
On Sunday, you went with me to the All Night Eggplant for the first time, where we had a date with Erin YM and Jen.  You were (as always, really!) such a great brunchmate.
On Monday we had our first Summer Festival Orchestra rehearsal.  Lauren stayed with you during the rehearsal and played with you the whole time.  She told me that you danced to the music and only made sounds when we stopped playing.  You had many visitors during the rehearsal, and charmed them with smiles.  We went to Zebb's for veggie burgers and guacamole after.
Tuesday, during the day, Dad started building the treehouse! Bill and Marty helped, and by the end of the day, it was up in a basic form! That night, the three of us went to Francesca's for the first time, for a dinner with Frank and as a birthday dinner for me, as we would have rehearsal on my actual birthday.  Frank gave you a purple ball that vibrates and bounces when you pull a string and you absolutely LOVED it! I posted some video of the giggles.  I've never uploaded a movie on Blogger... hope it works! The meal was spectacular.  Truly wonderful.  On the way down, at least.  I was then sick to my tummy for the next 20 or so hours.  You (thank goodness!) and Dad didn't get sick at all, phew!
Wednesday was my birthday, and I was sick for the whole day! You were amazing.  You just snuggled with me for the whole day, never fussed, and kept me great company.  The 27th was also your fourth month birthday! You pushed buttons on the Musical Bouncer for the first time! You were amazed that pushing the buttons made music, and your eyes just lit up when you figured out that YOU were making the music happen!
By the way, due to magic and other happenings, I am taking off the first semester of school for the 2011-2012 school year.  I am so. SO. relieved.  I would stay home with you until you went to full time school, if I could, no hesitation at all.  We're playing lotto, hoping it might happen :-) Thursday was interview day for my school replacement, and it marked the longest I have ever been away from you - about 4 hours!
Saturday was your first trip to Skaneateles.  We lounged on the shoreline, ate a picnic lunch with Dad and the boys, read Harry Potter aloud, and got icecream.  A great end to a great week!

Week 18: (7/31-8/6)
You had your four month appointment this week, and you weighed in at 16lbs, 7oz. and 25.5 inches long! You are still in the upper 90%s for both measurements! To all of those who hinted that a vegetarian nursed baby would not thrive.... there is no withering-away going on here! You have a clean and great bill of health!
This week, you grabbed objects, put your teething rings on your arms like bracelets (over, and over, and over!), and wore your first necklace! You have an amber teething necklace by "Inspired by Finn," and I am sure it really works.  Your upper right first tooth is working its way down, and when you are wearing the amber, it seems that you drool less and are more content (aren't you glad I discuss your drooling on here?)  Even if it doesn't work, you look adorable and we get compliments and questions on it wherever we go. 
We had a great weekend! Your Maya Wrap came and we started wearing it around.  You lovelovelove to be worn, and as much as I like the Ergo for some things (doing chores and having arms while still holding you!), the Maya Wrap is so easy and snuggly.  This week was World Breastfeeding Week, and we participated in the Big Latch On! in Syracuse. 
Mamas and Babies at The Big Latch On! in Syracuse
Word has it that we did not beat the world record, but it was a great time meeting mamas and babes in the attempt. You also had your very first trip to Carousel Mall.  You loved the lights and sounds and we went to Coach, Banana Republic, and Gymboree.  Could life get any better for Bella and Mama? You are the proud owner of an orange and pink tutu, so No!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Milestones & Memories

This entry is to Bellabean and will be one of many - I would like to write about our pregnancy, her birthday/my birth-day, and her first months with us.  Every day (since the very beginning, really) was/is a whole new world for us, and already the physical memories of pregnancy are fading... I want to be able to tell her what it was like, how every day was full of wonder and discovery and joy (and some morning sickness... :-)) and how she feels like magic to me.  
Bellabean, you are 15 weeks and five days old. You will turn four months old next week, on my thirtieth birthday!  I cannot believe that you are already four months old almost as much as I cannot believe that I have not known you for every moment of my life.  My heart is bound to yours, and I am sure that it has been forever.

Our fourth trimester together is over and you have graduated from Newborn to Infant.  They say that you should start slowly, stay at home, 'nap when she naps'... well... we haven't quite done that.  You've been busy, little one!! Here are some of my favorite milestones and memories from your first one hundred and seventeen days.

Birthday Week!
March 27 - Your birthday! 1:58am, on your due date, a very punctual girl (as if there would be any other way for us, right?)!   You weighed 8 pounds 2 oz (as I was when I was born!) and were 20 1/4 inches long when you arrived earthside after a totally amazing labor and birth.  From the moment we first snuggled chest to chest, you lifted your head (strong girl!) and looked at me, your Dad, and started taking in the world. You nursed and then slept in my arms, made little squeeks, and we got to see you sleep-smile for the first time.  Our hearts were yours before we knew you, but I understood, in those moments, what all those Mamas had told me: everything changes right then.  You met Grandma and Grandpa about 40 minutes after you were born, met your brothers at 4pm the next day, and met Auntie Erin and Clinton, too!
March 28 - Your homecoming! We went home the next day, because you and I felt great and it is so much better to be at home.
April 1 - We visited friends at WHS.  I think you recognized the chaos and voices, sounds and spirits around you.
April 2 - We visited CNY Yoga to see if Edie would be there.  She was at a retreat, but you met Lisa, Claire, and Julie.  Also, Auntie Angie came to visit for the weekend!

One Week
April 7 - Grandma and Grandpa went home to CT and Dad, you, and I started to figure out life without their amazing help.
I was aching to start taking you for walks, but around the time you were born we had a streak of Nineteen Days of RAIN! Amazing! The weather allowed for us to be total snugglebugs, though. 
April 9 - We went back to CNY Yoga and you got to meet Edie (you could not take your eyes off of her - I swear you recognized her voice!) and all of the still-pregnant ladies we practiced with each Saturday.  We started prenatal yoga together when I was 4 weeks and 6 days pregnant and practiced in those classes for the next 35 weeks.  What an amazing experience... more on that another time.  Also: Your first concert! We went to see Dad conduct at the Central Winds' concert and we danced together to both the Beatles Medley and Phantom of the Opera.

Two Weeks
April 13 - We visited Dad up at SU and you were a rockstar :-)
April 14 - We visited OHMS and saw many friends and kids
April 16 - First big girl bath, tub and all and the SRN baseball season started and you were an excellent cheerleader (or sleeping-team-encourager) for your brothers and their teams

Three Weeks
April 17 - I went back to my first Yoga class post delivery

Four Weeks 
April 27- One month old and you smiled your first awake honest-to-goodness smile. Also, we tried a pacifier for the first time that night.  The smile will stick with me for the rest of my life
April 28 - First time playing piano (with your butt, but still!)
Sometime in there, we went to The Mission for the first time! Mmmm.

Five Weeks 
May 4 - Blue-Eyed Brother read you your first Dr. Seuss book

Six Weeks 
May 8 - Mothers' Day and your first trip to Pastabilities!

Seven Weeks
May 16 - Playdate (more of a Mamadate) at Steph's house to meet Amelia and Grace.  This was a breakthrough day for me - hanging out with Steph, watching her be a Mama to her girls was so important to me and our get-together happened at just the right time.
May 19 - BEB's first Orchestra Concert (Hello, 'Cello!) and WHS Band Concert all in one night!
May 21 - S(S)YO Concert.  The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra started its downward trip to bankruptcy on the night of your birth.  In these seven weeks, as the SSO faced its demise, your Dad worked tirelessly (seriously.  through entire nights even while facing new-baby-Dad-exhaustion.) to ensure that all the kids of the SSY(S)O/SY(S)O would have a final concert.  It felt SO great to be there with you to celebrate those young musicians whose rebirth paralleled your new life.

Eight Weeks
Playdates with Isaiah and Evelyn M, the Jack's family, and the Warrens.  We had a busy week! Dad finished up SYO auditions, during which you and I took walks every day through the Radisson paths.  I finished your Thank You cards (which totaled more than 250! Wow!  If you ever forget that you are loved (though I hope to make that impossible for you!) remember how many people celebrated your new life.  I can't wait to get a chance to introduce you to all of those amazing people in our family, and our friends in life and at my work and your Dad's work.

Nine Weeks
May 28-31 - First trip to CT to see Grandma and Grandpa! You traveled in the car like a complete champ
June 2 - First campfire in the backyard with boys, M&D, puppies, and marshmallows!

Ten Weeks
You fell in love with Froggy this week.  He sings Froggy Went A Courtin' and says Ribbit, Ribbit! when you squeeze his tummy.  When you are in the car and he spins so that he faces away from you, you cry! When he is in your hands, you gnaw on his foot (lovebites, I'm sure).  Dada says Ribbit, Ribbit! to you, like Froggy does, and you just light up every time. 
June 5 - First swing in the hammock with Dad

Eleven Weeks
June 14 - You had your first experience in the bouncy chair and let us know that William Tell is your favorite tune for bouncin'.  You also had your very first back and forth phone conversation with Dad.  It was totally stinkin' adorable.  He would give you loves on the phone and you squeeked, squealed, and cooed to him.
June 15 and 16 - You SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT.  Amazing, terrifying, and SO completely needed for those two days.  It hasn't happened since, but we have gotten really good at the night wakings so that we're up for less than a minute each time, usually. 
June 16- Started family reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  You are SO focused during reading time and I think you like to hear the different accents and voiced we do.

Twelve Weeks
June 19 - Father's Day & First trip to Dinosaur BBQ! (We nursed in Dinosaur BBQ, btw)
June 23 - Last nap in the Newborn Napper egg and you moved to the Pack n' Play for times that you aren't right in our bed.

Thirteen Weeks
June 26 - Yankees Game!
June 27 - Beach in CT!
June 28 - Miniature Golf and your Dad and my Anniversary Dinner with the whole family at Max-a-Mia
June 29 - Six Flags for the whole day
June 30 -  Playdate with Natalie (daughter of Pat and Lauren!) and you belly laughed for the very first time because Dad was kissing your neck and lovin' on you. 
July 1 - Went to Cousin Michael and Ananta's wedding and Dada, you, and I danced together
July 2 - You met Shira and her family.  She and I reconnected when I was ten weeks pregnant with you, and she was a wonderful support and friend for our pregnancy.

Fourteen Weeks 
We sidecarred your crib, and that is working out splendidly for sleeping. 
July 8 - We had a playdate at Diane's and you absolutely fell in love with her daughter Evelyn.  You sat in a wide-leg pose with her and had a conversation back and forth for five minutes straight.  We have it on video! It was AMAZING to witness. 
July 9 - You took your first swim! Dad bought you swimmis and you wore your pink hat into the Radisson Pool.  You kicked and smiled and were a complete natural.

Fifteen Weeks
You started really singing with us! Last week, I sang Twinkle, Twinkle to you, on "Ha," in the lowest key I could, and it completely and totally cracked you up every time, especially the lowest notes.  This week you have been singing with us!! Dad and I sing to you every day.  Real songs, Bellabean songs, Real songs with Bellabean lyrics... it is one of my favorite things to do, and you have started singing back to us on "Ha" as well.  Proud musician mama? Absolutely.
Also, you sit with me every day while I practice flute, snuggled up right next to me.  I practice what I need to practice, but throw in a Bella Had a Little Lamb, Twinkle, and Baa Baa Blacksheep for fun and it always gets a smile from you.  While the boys watched a movie the other night, I practiced in my office and the lighting was perfect and made the flute just sparkle. You couldn't take your eyes off of it, and grabbed the footjoint and held on as I played.  Then, of course, you chewed on it a little.
This week, I noticed that every time Lucie barks like she wants to kick some squirrel butt, you smile! We started doing animal sounds with you, and that makes you laugh, too.  Seeing you smile, and laugh, and scrunch up your eyes because something seems funny is a complete joy. I will never stop trying to find that smile.  

Can you believe we have done all of this? You are incredible.  Everyone who meets you comments on how you are such a wonderful baby: inquisitive, engaging, happy, and calm, and I couldn't agree more! You hold up your head (as you did since day one), look towards sounds, stare at everyone who loves on you, make the most adorable sounds, sing and coo and talk and squeek and squeal, make sounds like a 'baby dinosaur' or a 'saver-toof-tiger!', as Dad and I say, sit in the boppy, leg kick on the bouncy chair and whenever you are feeling ecstatic, stare at your hands and toes, get kisses from Sophie the Giraffe and smile, blow bubbles, hold toys and rattles, love on your Froggy, and you make my heart grow in love by leaps and bounds every day.  I love you, Bellabean.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless (at least, fewer words) Wednesday

Hey, Bellybean! Want some rootbeer**?
Who me, have rootbeer**? Of course not, Mom!

**note: no babies actually drank any root beer in the making of this Wordless Wednesday! Can you tell these three are going to get into some trouble together down the road?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Harry's Now Part of the Family

Bean (BB's Nickname: Bella + looked like a jelly bean on her Dad's chest when a newborn --> Bella Bean --> Bean) is currently sleeping, hands thrown above her head in her very favorite sleeping position (that does not include being sprawled on Dad's chest or curled up tummy to tummy with Mom) and I am sitting next to her with a moment to write.

 We have started something new.  Since we are sleeping in the pig-pile-o-beds (Metro Mattress folks have STILL not rescheduled their check-out-our-rotten-bed appointment (see earlier post The Perfect Moment)) I figured reading time ought to be a family affair.  Handsome Husband and I have suggested to Blue-Eyed Boy that he give Harry Potter a try, but he resisted every time, saying, "I'm more of a Percy Jackson kind of guy..." but we KNEW he would absolutely love the books once he started.  Anyway, last Wednesday night, I grabbed my copy and started reading without telling the boys WHAT I was reading.  BEB kept reading the book he had with him, and never even looked up once.  Legoboy seemed mildly interested, but it was late, so I only read for a little bit, and felt a little defeated.  The next night, determined to try at least one more time, I summarized what we had read before and all of a sudden BEB took over for me, explaining everything I had read, with details and names that I would have never even included. He was listening!

Well, since that first night, we have read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone each and every night before bed.  LB and BEB on their bed, Bellabean on HH's lap or mine, and the puppies snuggled in to whoever will scruffle their tummies.  It has been a blast! Every time HH or I hint at closing up shop for the night, the boys beg for more! Just one more page! Music to our ears.  The boys are now at their Mom's house for a few nights and HH and I agree that we will really miss reading the story!

A few things about the experience:
  • I haven't read the first book in years, although I have seen the movie myriad times.  (Like the movie The Replacements, HP1 is always on TV. You know how it's five o'clock somewhere? Well, Harry Potter and Keanu Reeves are on a movie channel somewhere.)  There are so many details in the book that are not in the movie, and it is such a pleasure to revisit them.   
  • Hagrid's voice and language? Easy to read in your head but TOUGH to read out loud!!! 
  • We have taken to hiding the book after we read, otherwise Josh will haul off with it and finish on his own.  The boys are back here on Friday and then we have them for over a week for vacation! We can't wait to get back to reading. 
  • It is really nice to be read to.  HH and I have been taking turns and it is awesome to snuggle back with Bellabean and listen to the story.  
I am so glad the boys are readers, and it is so exciting to share HP with them.  Do you have suggestions for books for the boys?  Did you/do you read as a family?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Music for Bellabean

Right after Bellabean was born, a friend of mine, Karen, posted a question on her facebook page: "What music should my son be listening to? What music should he know?"  I have pulled the EMERGENCY STATION SWITCH over and over with the boys in recent months, because something raunchy but completely attractive (great rhythm/drums/beat & catchy) came on the radio.  Of course, the boys protest loudly... Blue-Eyed Boy came home singing Ke$ha the other day, and it nearly made my head explode.  Bellabean and the boys will know current music because that's what's on their friends' iPods (who am I kidding: iTouch and iPhones) but they must know great music too.  I was so lucky to grow up with a Dad with a badass collection of great music who had it playing constantly.  The minute CDs came onto the scene he had a CD player and replaced all of his records with CDs. The minute he bought a car with a tape player, he spent hours copying all of those CDs onto Maxell tapes to play in the car, and that is how I learned about CSN(&Y), The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, Bob Marley, Melanie, Shuggie Otis, Janis, Grace Slick, CCR, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, The Byrds, Rush, Jethro Tull, Joni, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, all sorts of Psychedelic Rockers, Hendrix, The Moody Blues, Neil Young, Santana, Clapton... the list could go on for ages.

I am grateful for the exposure to Great music.  While Bellabean and were I getting to know each other and learning to nurse together, Karen's facebook question inspired me to make a playlist of my own.  Rather than it taking days (months!) to copy tapes, it took about a three days of post-nursing-sleeping-on-mama's-tummy-time to click and drag songs from my 12,000+ iTunes songlist into a playlist called "Feeding Bella".  The playlist "Feeding Bella" has served to accompany her nursings, of course, but also hopefully start to feed her musical soul as my Dad did for me.

So... here's the list! Eclectic, for sure, but truly a joy for me to put together and share with Bellabean, BEB, and LB.  Many of the songs have stories or memories for me, which I can't wait to bore them with in time.  Some are guilty pleasures (that I am a bit embarrassed to post!).  Some are musical necessity. There is a classical playlist in the works, but you will notice this one is absent of any strictly-classical music.  We always play this list on shuffle whether on walks, nursings, snugglings, or in the car, though I do usually select the song to start.  Enjoy! 

ADELE    Rolling In the Deep
Anna Nalick    Breathe
Backstreet Boys    The Call
Bear Naked Ladies and Sarah McLaughlin    God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman
The Beatles    Norwegian Wood
The Beatles    Penny Lane
Beatles    The Inner Light
Beatles    Lady Madonna
Beatles    Hey Jude
The Beatles    Got To Get You Into My Life
The Beatles    Beatles - Yellow Submarine
Béla Fleck & The Flecktones    Hurricane Camille
Béla Fleck & The Flecktones    The Sinister Minister
Béla Fleck & The Flecktones    Stomping Grounds
Béla Fleck & The Flecktones    Sojourn Of Arjuna
Béla Fleck & The Flecktones    Trane To Conamarra
Beyonce    Crazy In Love
Beyonce    Naughty Girl
Beyonce    Baby Boy
Beyoncé    Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)
Big & Rich    Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy
Bill Chase    Get It On
Billy Joel    Piano Man
Blackstreet    No Diggity
Blood, Sweat & Tears    Spinning Wheel
Brazilian Music     Magalehna
Britney Spears    Toxic
Buddy Rich    Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
Buddy Rich    Birdland
Buddy Rich Big Band     Dancing Men
Buffalo Springfield    For What It's Worth
Chanticleer    Dúlamán
Chanticleer    Wondrous Love
Charlie Daniel's Band    The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Chicago    Make Me Smile
Chicago    Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
Chicago    Saturday In the Park (Remastered Version)
Crosby, Stills & Nash    Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Crosby, Stills & Nash    Marrakesh Express
Crosby, Stills & Nash    Blackbird
Crosby, Stills & Nash    Teach Your Children Well
Dave Matthews Band    The Dreaming Tree
Dave Matthews Band    Shake Me Like a Monkey
Dave Matthews Band    Seven
Dave Matthews Band    You and Me
Dave Matthews Band    Grey Street
Dave Matthews Band    Grace Is Gone
Dave Matthews Band    Bartender
Dave Matthews Band    Two Step
Dave Matthews Band    Crash Into Me
Dave Matthews Band    Drive In Drive Out
Dave Matthews Band    Lie in Our Graves
Dave Matthews Band    Sister
Dave Matthews Band    Eh Hee
Dave Matthews Band    When The World Ends
Dave Matthews Band    Grey Street
Dave Matthews Band    Grace Is Gone
Dave Matthews Band    Bartender
Dave Matthews Band    Granny (Live)
Dave Matthews Band    I'll Back You Up
Dave Matthews Band    Gravedigger
Dave Matthews Band    Gravedigger (acoustic)
Dave Matthews Band    Joyride
Dave Matthews Band    Satellite
Dave Matthews Band    Dancing Nancies
Dave Matthews Band    Ants Marching
Dave Matthews Band    Jimi Thing
Divinyls    I Touch Myself
Earth Wind & Fire    Serpentine Fire
Elton John    Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeing
Emerson, Lake & Palmer    Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression Part 2)
Eric Clapton    Layla
Eric Clapton    Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Footloose    Holding Out For A Hero
Frank Sinatra    Fly Me to the Moon
Frank Sinatra    The Way You Look Tonight
Fugees    Killing Me Softly With His Song
Garth Brooks    Friends in Low Places
Goldfinger    Superman
Guster    Demons
Guster    Barrel of a Gun
Imogen Heap    Hide and Seek
India Arie    Video
Indigo Girls    Joking
Indigo Girls    Least Complicated
Indigo Girls    Ghost
Indigo Girls    Galileo
Indigo Girls    Land Of Canaan
Indigo Girls    Closer To Fine
Jack Johnson    Upside Down
James Taylor    Something in the Way She Moves
James Taylor    Sweet Baby James
James Taylor    Fire and Rain
Jason Mraz    Geek In the Pink
Jason Mraz    Lucky (feat. Colbie Caillat)
Jefferson Airplane    Somebody to Love
Jethro Tull    Bourée
Jethro Tull    Thick As A Brick
Jimmy Eat World    Pain
John Mayer    Daughters
Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown    No Air
Journey    Lights
Journey    Don't Stop Believin'
Justin Timberlake    LoveStoned/I Think She Knows Interlude
Justin Timberlake    Senorita
Justin Timberlake Feat. T.I. & Timbaland    My Love
KT Tunstall    Black Horse & The Cherry Tree (Radio Version)
Lauryn Hill    To Zion
Les McCann and Eddie Harris    Compared to What
Maroon 5    Harder To Breathe
Maynard Ferguson    Caravan
Melanie    Lay Down
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones    The Impression That I Get
Mr. Big    To Be With You
No Doubt    Sunday Morning
Paul Simon    You Can Call Me Al
Pearl Jam    Who You Are
Peter Gabriel    Solsbury Hill
Peter Gabriel    In Your Eyes
Phish    Bouncing Around The Room
Queen    Bohemian Rhapsody
Queen    Fat Bottomed Girls
Queen    Bicycle Race
Queen    Somebody to Love
R.E.M.     Shiny Happy People
Rascal Flatts    This Everyday Love
Red Hot Chili Peppers    Otherside
Reel Big Fish    Take On Me
Reel Big Fish    Sellout
Reel Big Fish    Beer
Reel Big Fish    241
 Rent Movie Soundtrack    Seasons of Love
 Rent Movie Soundtrack    Santa Fe
 Rent Movie Soundtrack    I'll Cover You
Rush    Roll The Bones
Rusted Root    Send Me on My Way
Rusted Root    Drum Trip
Rusted Root    Ecstasy
Sara Bareilles    Love Song
Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band    Calling Ganesha (Invocation)
Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band    Jai Hanuman (Faith)
Shania Twain    Man! I Feel Like A Woman
Shania Twain    Any Man of Mine
Shuggie Otis    Strawberry Letter 23
Simon & Garfunkel    A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Simon & Garfunkel    Mrs. Robinson
Simon & Garfunkel    Cecilia
Spring Heeled Jack    Rufus Shakeedoo
Stevie Wonder    Superstition
Stevie Wonder    Part-Time Lover
Tonic    If You Could Only See
Tori Amos    Winter
Tower Of Power    What Is Hip?
Travis Tritt    It's a Great Day to Be Alive
U2    Gloria
U2    MLK
Van Morrison    Moondance
Vanessa Mae    Happy Valley
Wicked    Defying Gravity
4 Non Blondes    What's Up?

So, what's on your list?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Perfect Moment

I'm learning to be/finding out that I am an Attachment Parent and I am admittedly a Crunchy Mama and there is so much importance placed on night/sleeptime and Night/sleeptime Parenting and what that means.   Last night, I lived a perfect nighttime family moment.  

We have been in a battle with Metro Mattress (the Sleep Superstore! Sol Sol Mi Re Do!) since 2008 (ok, since late 2008, and then again over the past few months.).  Long, boring story short: bought AWESOME bed.  6 months later bed had canyon-like indents and made Handsome Husband's legs fall asleep.  Long paperwork struggle.  New Bed! Promises of eternal sleep happiness! Awesome bed! Now? LAME.  Canyons.  HH's legs AND arms asleep.  Too much $ invested to feel good about just heading to Raymour and Flanigan.  "Bed Inspector" was supposed to be here last week to see our busted bed, but arrived an hour early and we weren't home, so the busted mattress and box spring are on the floor, and we put my old queen sized bed on our bedframe so HH's arms and legs could stop going numb while he sleeps. Mattress Lady will be here sometime in the next eon or so, hopefully before the bed is out of warranty, likely she'll be here the day after.  So, we have two beds, a Pack-n-Play, and a puppy pouf in our bedroom.  It is truly a room of beds.  When Blue-Eyed Boy and Legoboy saw our room of beds, their eyes lit up (as we knew they would).  There was NO way they would be sleeping in their own room.  ominspiredstepmama and Dad bedroom campout!!!

The moment:
Last night at 2:30 or so, I woke up to nurse Bellabean and realized I was in a perfect moment.  My husband was snuggled close to my right, Bean was nursing tummy-to-tummy on my left, BEB and LB were sleeping on the king bed on the box spring on the floor with BEB's leg hooked over LB.  Both puppies had sneaked onto the king bed with the boys;  Sadie was sleeping on her back with front legs straight up in the air and back legs splayed and Lucie was curled up on LB's feet.   Rain was pouring down and a gentle breeze floated in through the windows.  It was an absolutely perfect moment.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Perfect Practice

I do not look like a Yogini.  No one will ever describe me as lithe, feather-light, willowy, dancer-esque (Fergie would describe me as having lovely-lady-lumps) or exclaim out of nowhere "haven't I seen you modeling for Lululemon?" or even "you must do yoga!" but nonetheless, I am a yogini.  I live yoga every day, both on and off the mat.  Sometimes, thoughts are of asana or movement, or how I really want to stand on my head, or balance on my arms, or just rest in a blissed-out downdog.  At school, I will close my office door and stretch, bend, move, and breathe.  Sometimes my 'yogic thoughts' and actions are about living my life more honestly, or being better to this earth, or being a better version of me. 

My daughter, Bellabean, is sleeping right now in the perfect savasana.  A little smile flickers across her face intermittently, but everything else is limp.  During my pregnancy, I practiced yoga, including throughout my labor.  I attended the same classes as always and added prenatal yoga.  I went to class the morning after I found out I was pregnant and started telling my teachers that I would love suggestions for modifications as the pregnancy progressed and that I would make changes myself when needed - they really let me on my own as I just did what felt right. I tried to think about the purpose of the poses and find a way to honor that purpose and honor my body at the same time.  I had a bad fall from a headstand last year, so I swore those off for pregnancy.  At ten weeks, a simple twist would make me so nauseous I thought there was no way I would make it through a class so I skipped the twists until they felt better, and then still avoided deep twists.  By week twelve, it already felt wrong to do poses on my tummy, so I did them on my knees or back.  By week 30, lying flat on my back, even for a minute, was not the right thing, so I moved to my side or lifted my hips in legs up the wall.  By week 37, I was exhausted and focused on resting and preparing, so we stopped attending "regular" classes and stuck with prenatal and practice at home. By week 39, I was ready, listening, and open to labor.

I always heard my teachers say "listen to your body", but I never actually heard it speak to me (or was unwilling to listen) until I was pregnant.  I have strained my neck or hamstrings a number of times in my practice over the past few years (at least once a year.)  This time, however, my body was her body and you better believe I was going to listen to her.  It felt amazing to truly respect my edges and never push too far, but find out what my perfect practice and edge was each and every day.  The nine months of listening intently to my body in yoga prepared me for the days of labor (in its various stages) and the signals that my body provided.  Bellabean's birth was a life-alteringly powerful and empowering experience and it was a continuation of my practice, but it wasn't practice.  It was the real deal. I am so happy that I learned to listen to this body.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Things that Melt my Heart

Bellabean was born on March 27 (her due date!!) at 1:58am after an incredible labor and delivery.  She is now a little over a month old; in some ways it feels like her birth day was just last week, but at the same time, I feel like I have known her always.

Things that melt my heart:
When she nurses tummy-to-tummy on the boppy she puts up her arm on top like she's poised to punch anyone who might try to take her lunch
If you give her your finger she grabs on (both with fingers and toes!) so tightly
Her smell.  She smells so good - soft, sweet, milky; I could breathe in her smell all day.
Her baby dinosaur sounds.  When she's sleeping and we can't help but snuggle her, she makes little baby dinosaur sounds.
The way she stares, I mean really Stares at Grandma's paintings.  She is completely entranced when she gazes at the impressionistic ocean painting.  
Her "Amen, sister!" hand-moves.  When she's startled she puts up spirit fingers/arms/legs.
Watching her with her Dad.   He is so in love with her, and she is so in love with him.  It is so beautiful to watch.
Her beautiful, bunny-fur-soft head of hair.
Her surprised face - bright wide eyes, a little o on her lips as she looks around
Her falling asleep faces.  When she is falling asleep, she runs through about 20 different facial expressions - the smiles make us swoon.
Her wicked lower lip pout, and declarations of Gi! Ni! when she is upset.  Also, her fakeout smile... I am smiling, I am smiling, I am crying!!!
Watching her watch the world.  Whether it is checking out the light outside through the window, or staring at my Mother's painting in the music room, or finding a great color edge, or looking for Dad when hearing his voice... her curiosity is beautiful.
When she looks for and finds the boob pillow.  Through the night, we nurse on our sides facing each other.  When she is done, she squirms until she lifts her head, places her cheek squarely up on my boob, puts her hand near her cheek and falls fast asleep. 
The  smiles!!! She just started smiling while awake - both at the sound of my voice and her Dad's voice.  My heart nearly bursts every single time she smiles.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Building my Nest

I am in a serious nesting phase right now.  My office spaces, files, and planning for the next year at the middle school and high school are organized to within an inch of their structure-lives.  Everything is labeled, explained, organized... the organization is completely obsessive (and extremely satisfying!) and puts my mind at rest just in case I go on leave before expected. With the school-situation manageable at this point, I want to be home and snuggling and working and playing and making my nest for our lil' one and family every minute of  every day.  One of the ways this desire has manifested itself is through an urge to bake and cook.   (Maybe that's just the urge to eat...)  Last night, I stopped at Wegmans on my way home from school with a desperate craving for vegetables, so I bought the ingredients for Mom's Veggie soup and Moosewood's Vegetarian Chili (as reprinted in Yoga Journal).

I made the soup last night, and I have already eaten it for three meals.  It is among my top three soups of all time, and is definitely my favorite homemade soup (Francesca's Cucina Wedding Soup in my non-veg days and Sarabeth's NYC Tomato Soup round out that list) - I eat it in a vegetarian style (vegetable broth, cheese on top), but without cheese it's vegan, and the original recipe calls for chicken broth, so you can go that route as well.
Mom's Veggie Soup (with ominspiredmama's tweaks!):
Heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a big soup pot
Add one medium purple onion, all chopped up, chopped carrots, chopped celery (I never measure - I cut up around 15 baby carrots and 4 stalks of organic celery)
Stir all together in oil for about five-seven minutes.  Your kitchen will smell heavenly!

Add 8 cups of broth - I like organic low-sodium vegetable broth from Wegmans, but you can use low-sodium chicken broth too - two cups of no-salt added diced tomatoes, three small cubed butter potatoes with skin on(or one large potato/5 fingerling potatoes), one tsp basil flakes, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (I actually just grind black pepper into the pot until it feels right).  Bring soup to boil and then simmer/stir for 10 minutes.

Next, add veggies! I add a different variety every time I make the soup, and I love featuring in-season veggies (although this iteration does not demonstrate that particular love).  For the first time, I added cannellini beans and I will never leave them out again! I am always searching for ways to get enough protein, and I really liked this addition.  Aside from the beans (and potatoes and tomatoes), my most recent soup had a full bag of spinach, one cut up orange pepper, two heads of broccoli, and a can of no-salt-added corn.   Let this simmer for 20 minutes, and then it is ready to serve!

The soup is sweet, and stew-like.  It is great tasting right away, but even better in a day or two.  Although impractical for fancy presentation, I love topping it with a bit of shredded mozzarella.  The cheese gets super messy and stretchy, but it is a delicious compliment!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

365 days of living my Yoga

Handsome Husband, Blue-Eyed Boy, Legoboy, (BEB and LB are my 7 and 8 yo stepsons!), Sadie, Lucie, and I are all snuggled up on our couch right now just about to watch "How to Train Your Dragon".  We have had a spectacular start to the New Year today.  I started my day with Baby-mama Yoga with Edie (75 minutes of bliss - today she told us she would like to open class to post-natal mamas too!!! I am thrilled!) while the boys hung out at home in their pjs, and the rest of the day has been snuggling, scruffling, naps, playing, cooking and eating, Rose Bowl Parade watching, Syracuse Basketball watching, and experiencing that wonderful renaissance that is the excitement and inspiration of a new year.

Anyway, I thought I would put this out into the cyber-ethos to help me solidify this idea. I am inspired by Yoga Journal's 21 Day Challenge, but I would like to do my own 365 day challenge! One year of daily yoga practice.   I know, I know what you are thinking... New Year Resolutions last a week and fade.  I do think this is possible and I do believe that I can do this! Here's the secret - I think about Yoga and living Yogically every day,  I DO yoga every day, but not always with an intention and purpose.  My goal is not necessarily about a 90 minute daily asana practice (though I do hope to keep up the asana practice I have cultivated, even when the lil' one is here, particularly with the continued inspiration from the fantastic Yogis and Teachers and Mentors at CNY Yoga), but rather, setting aside time every single day to mindfully do the yoga I do already, but with intention and focus. I want to mindfully practice Pranayama (breathing) every day, Meditation or a moment or moments for self-reflection and connection every day, some Asana (stretching and movement, but with thoughtfulness) every day, and I want to keep, close to my heart, the intention of living joyfully and in love and sharing joy and love with my family - all of those who are snuggled up with me right now about to watch "How to Train Your Dragon". 

Love and joy to you on the start of this New Year!