family

almost four

dane is in a funny little in-between. he still wears footy pajamas and still loves to cuddle… he actually requests hugs frequently (much to my delight). he still falls asleep in his car seat, cries for no reason when he’s tired and carries his stuffed animals into our bed in the morning. he generally still hides in the same exact spot every single time he wants to “surprise daddy” coming home from work (which is every day).IMG_6268but just about everything else is big time big kid. you can really hang out with him and talk about life… crack jokes and use sarcasm that he totally picks up on. most of his baby chubs are all stretched out – its like someone literally pulled him from each end and he became a string bean over-night.IMG_7193

he is entering the super hero phase with a vengeance despite never watching any of the actual shows or being allowed any formal exposure to the characters. all of his knowledge comes from what he hears from his friends at school, which makes it pretty entertaining to observe what he makes of the various superheros… any information we reluctantly give him, he eagerly soaks up with wide eyes, the wheels turning in his head…smanhe seems to be able to play with just about anyone, from the boy next door who is a year & a half younger, to his female, 7-year-old second cousin he only met once, to our friends’ kids he gets together with just a couple times each year… and he’s not terribly picky with toys. he’ll use his imagination to make anything a sword, a cape, a “shooter gun” (sigh) or any other form of contraband i refuse to buy for him.IMG_7292over the summer i invested in a little activity table from pottery barn. we call it his “craft table” (in the “craft room”). he loves crafts and i love that he loves crafts. whenever he asks, i try to take the time to do a little project with him.. a painting, a pipe-cleaner animal, a “garage” made out of a delivery box.

he loves the beach, his boogie board, collecting hermit crabs. he also loves to shovel snow. a true new englander.IMG_7083i can honestly say, he’s as good a big brother as any 3 year old could possibly be. he is sweet and gentle to his little sister with almost zero signs of jealousy.IMG_7053since i’ve been back to work, mike has taken over the morning and evening routine with dane while i do bay. divide and conquer. GOD BLESS the single moms. sleep is so big for dane. he is two different people when he is tired vs. well-rested. there are at least a few days each week he refuses to nap, and WATCH out… he is a hot mess those nights.IMG_6493he can be so frustrating in the morning getting out the door or anytime we really need him to follow directions .. but he is very sensitive to my feelings… if i yell at him about something, he almost always cries (then i feel bad) and if i tell him he is making mommy really sad, he’ll back down, say sorry and come give me a hug (usually). this is a huge relief to me. i’m so happy for these signs of compassion. before he leaves the dinner table, we have trained him to say, “may i please be excused? namaste”. its funny. i still cut his hair myself. its long and shaggy and uneven and awesome.IMG_6367he’s still so innocent. he’s completely sold on “carrots making your eyes sharp” and healthy foods healing boo boos.  i’ll be so sad when its gone, the innocence. i can’t bear to think of him out in the real world when i’m not nearby to hug him and tell him how wonderful he is. where there are mean kids at school or bullies on the bus.IMG_6751he is so fun-loving. he just wants to play (ok,… he also wants to “watch shows”.. a constant battle). he loves it when you chase him or just watch and see “how fast he is” / “how high he can jump”. he loves basketball and catch with the football… still warming up to soccer. he takes a gymnastics class which is basically bouncing around and jumping recklessly off mats, but he seems to love it. he is so beautiful and perfect and sweet and smart. a part of me feels so sad about him getting bigger, but its been pretty cool to watch. he says things like “and speaking of that”.. “i’ve been meaning to tell you”… he can count to 60 (on a good day) and spell multiple words. he knows the days of the week and towns his family members live in. he remembers everything.IMG_6318motherhood is an absolute whirlwind. i look in the mirror and i see the wrinkles and bags under my eyes… FOUR YEARS of being a real life mom. its showing. (i also can’t help but note that i am a full 10 years older than most of The Bachelor contestants. a DECADE).

what did i do with all my time before i had this kid? nothing nearly as worthwhile as how i’ve spent the past almost four years.IMG_7197xo daney. i’m so proud and lucky to be your mom.

january blues

i sat down to move all my photos from camera to computer and maybe even download some christmas gopro footage. i was holding the baby with the nursing pillow strapped around my middle (my brest friend, there, i said it). i turned around for whatever reason and knocked over my very full coffee… all over the desk, the key board, the camera, the gopro. it looked like a complete electronics massacre, but i don’t think anything was permanently damaged.

true story.

there is just no time to keep up with life on this blog. i know i don’t have to, but a part of me really wants to! it shouldn’t be impossible, in theory, but it is.

7 months already. sigh.

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any who, i’ve been feeling a little down… some post-holiday blues i guess and physically run down from the christmas hustle. i’m having trouble taking care of myself (that’s a gentle way of saying i’m fat & sloppy). again, “no time”. the kids are doing well so i could/should be proud of that. we have a lot of laughs when everyone is in a good mood (read: a certain 3.75 year-old has taken his much-needed daily nap) but weeknights and mornings are still a struggle (“struggle” used in that middle-class, privileged, American context, of course).

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i want everything OUT of my house. baby stuff, OUT. unworn clothes, OUT. extra throw pillows that i normally hoard, OUT(ish). christmas decorations are all packed or disposed of… living simply may not necessarily be in the cards, but i am craving a simpler life with less clutter for sure.

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today is FREEZING. so maybe the reality of winter is weighing on my mood lately as well.

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i hate winter.

wah wah,

stephanie

thanks

i went to my wordpress dashboard to maybe start a post on life lately, and saw a draft titled “thanks” with this one picture from dane’s first thanksgiving. i created it in september when i apparently came across this old photo and wanted to be sure to include it in my thanksgiving post.D11i know it shouldn’t come as a shock, but bay looks so much like dane! i am so entertained by it.

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we hosted this year… it was nice and low-key and we all ate and drank a lot. the night ended with mike passed out in bed snoring in his sweater and underwear with a mostly full can of coors light on his night stand (and shakespeare at his feet snoring along with him).

i have almost no photos from thanksgiving, sadly, but i did manage to get some ad hoc gopro footage (link to my video masterpiece (sarcastic) HERE!)

weekend road trip

i’m sort of the opposite when it comes to social media. i’m the opposite of people who only post glamorous pictures of themselves or make sure to share all the awesome, interesting things they do and places they go. i don’t know if it’s because i’m overcompensating… trying extra hard to not be that person, or if because i just really love to take and share pics of my kids in those everyday moments.

last weekend all five of us ventured out on an aggressive weekend trip to new york and new jersey. we drove down together, then i spent the day with girlfriends in the city while mike stayed with family and watched the kids. the next day we swapped it out and mike went to the pats-giants game while i tended the coup.

i had a BLAST with my friends in nyc.. took zero pics (aside from a million of my little bride to be lindsey in wedding dresses, but those are not for sharing!!) but back in new jersey with all mike’s cousins, i took a bunch of pics of the kids together because they were just so so cute.

all of the girls were obsessed with bay. they passed her around and played peek-a-boo for hours on end. bayla was so chill about it.

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maddie is 6. she and dane were attached at the hip the whole weekend. i never expected them to play so well together. it was ADORABLE.

dane and mad

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and that’s all i got for a weekend update! despite having monday off, this week is feeling looong. we are sticking around this weekend and i am SO looking forward to it. a little cleaning, a little thanksgiving prep, a little christmas decorating a LOT of eating that baby’s cheeks!

back to brewster

just all of these pictures of dane because he is such a cute kid…
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also, major garage purge happened over the weekend. long over-due. i was all stressed because i didn’t reserve a dumpster in time, then we found a guy on craigslist to haul it away for half the price. procrastination for the win.IMG_6300

where does all this junk even come from?IMG_6299

wearing bayla all day…. #lashesIMG_6288

and last but not least… mr. october:IMG_6291

lifehacks

does this mamma-baby selfie capture how utterly exhausted i am? IMG_0944

to all the other moms who have done this… the working full-time, the nursing, the pumping, the endless washing of bottles and parts, the three-year-old, the sweet, cuddly baby, the neglected first born (bull dog), the dinners that don’t self-cook and house that won’t clean its self (to name a few) all with a very unreliable sleep pattern. PROPS. this is freakin’ hard.

i’ve been doing some soul-searching and researching how to make this work. i still have a ways to go, but a couple things that have helped:

peapod.

i’m an amazon prime junkie and i generally hate paying a delivery charge of any nature, but these days, saving the trip to the grocery store is well worth $6.95. i will definitely do it again.

i also went ahead and spent nearly $1,000 fall shoe shopping on zappos! don’t worry, the boots i kept were only $150… i ordered 4 pairs to try. free shipping and free returns. zero time in a store. boom.

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side note: thank you, boot people, for the “wide-calf” (or my favorite “wide shaft”) option for tall boots. i never use to be able to wear these and now there is a whole slew of options.

this was my cart:

boots

1. Rockport Tristina Gore $225  runner-up. super comfortable. can tell they are great quality. just didn’t love enough for the price 2. Sam Edelman Penny $150  winner. liked better in person. perfect width. comfortable enough 3. Rockport First Street $249.95 fit well. has large, darker colored stretchy piece in back that i didn’t love the look of. but really like the lighter camel color. 4. Johnston & Murphy Bree $348 I love these boots but they didn’t fit 🙁 i knew it was a long shot since they are not in my beloved “wide calf” category. somewhat relieved given the price-tag.

so i feel like i have fully mastered online shopping. i may never enter a store again. does anyone have any other hacks for me? my sister has been freezing a whole week’s worth of crock pot dinners on sundays.  i read about a mom who dresses her kids for the next day before bed. no jammies. (crazy or genius?)

i feel like the key to the week is sunday. you have to PREPARE. going into the work week is like going into battle when you have multiple kids. my problem is we’ve been away almost every weekend and then on sunday its impossible to stay motivated because, football. and because, pumpkin beer.

this weekend, my little guy was really sick… three straight days of a 103 degree fever. needless to say, the weekend was not as productive as it might have been and i am SO short on sleep. send me your working mom hacks… i’m all ears.

cape cod 2015 : brewster bay, baby bay, lots of dane, etc.

baby bay was supposed to come in may. MID may – a week early. that was my plan. which would mean that she would be 6+ weeks by late june when i was planning on spending the week with my sister liz in the cape while some old friends were in town vacationing as well.

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as you know, bay chose to wait until JUNE to be born, so there i was with a three year old, a three week old, and my sister who was no use because she had a baby and a three year old of her own. luckily, we got a couple days from my very helpful little sis (who feeds us) and our mom (who is very good at entertaining 3 year olds with weird crafts (have you heard of magic noodles?)).

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so we survived and even enjoyed ourselves at times. the summer was off to a good start. it was sure to be a very special summer with my kids and nephews and more beach time than ever before.

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its really not true – how i just said my sister was no use – she did practically all of the snack-packing and game-planning. you really need to have your sh*t together when planning a beach trip with kids. spending a few hours at the beach with two three year olds is a delicate art (toy ratios, direction of sandwich slice, color of sippy cups… all elements that can make or break your day).

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so liz & i enjoyed most of the week and spent time with the colantos and some other fun families. photo cred to lizzy c for these next three pics bc i basically tend to only take pictures of dane and literally never a grown up…

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mike was finally able to join us for the weekend. he and dane did some golfing and twilight surfing… sunsets on the bay are glorious.

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the following week was the 4th of july when we take our real vacation each summer. mike had the full week off to spend in brewster with us (hallelujah) and all the grandparents visited for a few nights.

the boys went on a pirate adventure which dane loved and riley was not so sure about…

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we did sparklers, s’mores, and ice cream …

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this is the cozy spot we made for bay one afternoon… she was peacefully napping under the shade of an umbrella, but her poor little face got sun burnt. #momfail. she healed quickly and never seemed bothered by it, but word to the wise.. sun umbrellas do not necessarily protect from uva/b rays! overall, bayla was such a trooper during all of our beach trips.. a lot of beach nursing and napping.., she was a good baby.IMG_5313

it makes me so happy watching dane play at the beach for hours on end. its exactly what i pictured 5 years ago when we bought the beach house.IMG_5320

this is a nickerson state park pond swim with shakey…IMG_5511

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and bayla’s first traditional picnic table photo shoot…IMG_5570

look at one-month-old bay… she looks like such a little alien. how quickly they grow…
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the summer was awesome. it was extremely challenging at times making everything work with a newborn, often on my own, but i would do it a hundred more times given the chance. i am missing the summer so much. i almost get a pang in my stomach when i think about it i miss it so much… 

going back to work has been so hard on me. for three months bayla was figuratively and literally attached to me and now i just feel so empty all day without her. i’m waiting for it to get easier. if it doesn’t, then maybe there will be some major life changes. i’m not sure. but i know that all that matters are these two kids and finding a happy, healthy balance for our family. to be continued……

i’m so pregnant

i wrote this in early may and never finished it. likely because i was going to bed at 8 every night or maybe because i was waiting to add the perfect picture of me and my adorable pregnant belly (ha, non-existent). well – spoiler alert: i am currently holding the most perfect 2 month old baby girl and typing with one hand in effort to post something/anything because its been sooo long! balya logan was born one FULL WEEK late on june 3 weighing 7lbs 14oz.

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for posterity’s sake – here is my silly 37 week self thinking baby bay would come on time or… pah… early…

i feel like i’ve been pregnant forever, but at the same time, i sort of can’t believe my second (and last) pregnancy will be coming to an end any day now. i have no doubt that the birth of these babies (meaning dane and this feisty baby girl jabbing me as we speak) will be the best two moments of my life, so while pregnancy isn’t my favorite thing (especially the 37wk+ kind of pregnancy), i will still miss it in a weird way.

i think fridays are awesome. even though i have to go to work, i have the whole weekend to look forward to… by saturday, its almost like the weekend is already over, and sunday.. forget it.. full-blown monday-dread (you too? no? should i be looking for a new job?). well, these final hours of pregnancy are sort of like a friday. i’m extremely uncomfortable, but giddy with anticipation. once the baby is born, i know i will blink and my maternity leave will be over, then i will blink again and it will be her 3rd birthday party, a few blinks later she’ll be a teenager and hate me… but for a few short weeks (or days?!) all of the chubby, drooly, sleepy, swaddled baby-ness is ahead of me.

i never held vegetables up to my belly or documented either pregnancy much at all and i don’t regret it. i’m not really into that, but i just wanted to write this so i could some day revisit myself in this unique time. a mother of one perfect little boy awaiting the big unknown of who is tumbling around in my belly and what life will be like with two little humans to love a disgusting amount.

i’m so happy and lucky and grateful to be having a baby in few weeks. i never want to forget how much i wanted this baby (GIRL!) and how good life feels even tho i’m the size of a house with the worst acid reflux imaginable and the inability to sleep despite extreme, perpetual, exhaustion. i’m so much more excited this time around because i know just how much you can love another human and to be given the chance to love 2 just seems like more than i deserve. blah blah blah hormones blah blah.

oh pregnant stephanie.. aren’t you sweet.

well, almost three months later… here she is!!

IMG_5732she is so smiley and sweet and just so so pretty. strawberry blond hair, bright blue eyes and lashes for days. i swear, she is mine.

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it has been best-case-scenario with dane. no signs of jealousy and nothing but love from big brother. three has had its challenges, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to the baby i couldn’t be more proud of how quickly dane has adjusted. the meet & greet in the hospital had us a little nervous… he wasn’t so sure. hardly acknowledged the baby, wouldn’t touch her and certainly would not give her a kiss.

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since she came home it has been nothing but kisses and man-handling!

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this has been the most amazing summer. i’m feeling very…. complete.

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we’ve had so much beach time between brewster & martha’s vineyard and so much family time thanks to my sister’s 5 month-old and her extended maternity leave. hopefully i will find some time to share more of our summer adventures here before its back-to-school time! but for now, my new little adventure is hungry…IMG_5789

i have this theory…

the theory is that if i could wake up at 5am every morning, it would drastically change my life. i have never (ever) been a morning person, but in this phase of life [30’s, motherhood] the morning is when motivation and creative energy are most available. day to day life requires i am up by 6 (6:15 if i acquiesce to wet hair and no make-up for the day.. which is the case maybe once/week). but i simply can’t convince myself to get up out of bed any earlier than is required.

after work is survival mode: feed family, bath child, play and read stories with a smile on my face, tactfully coax child into his bed. sometimes its a struggle to get through my routine of brushing and washing before the glorious collapse into bed. its not that i don’t enjoy these evening hours with dane, don’t get me wrong… after-all this is practically the only time we have together during the week (sad face). but after he is in bed, there is just nothing left in the tank.

between the hours of 5 and 6am though…… the possibilities are endless. i could clean, exercise, organize photos, blog, learn to use my computer, my camera, make a morning green juice and smoothies for the family, take shakespeare for a walk..  oh my god i could paint my nails. not all in the same hour, of course, but over the course of a week, all of this could be done.

but alas, the theory remains untested.

i have big plans for my third trimester. i am going to stay in shape, eat clean, get super organized at work and at home and maybe, just maybe i can figure out how to get my head off my pillow at 5am sharp. maybe.