Happy Anniversary-A Few Days Late

Happy anniversary my love. I am so glad that we met on the bus when we were 15. That was one of the brightest spring days I have ever known. Being your wife is one of my greatest privileges and being mother to our child is my greatest Joy. I love you to the moon and back Jon Boy. xoxoxo

9 Months

Dear Jack,

On your 9th month we find ourselves in Fairfield Iowa, where your Mama grew up. I am so excited to be able to share a little bit of my childhood with you, now that you are old enough to partake in some of my favorite activities; swimming, walking through the  prairie and woods, eating summer fruit and playing in the sunshine. All of these are so much sweeter with you at my side.

The other day we were playing in the backyard together. You were stripped down to your diaper, face covered in dirt, entire body sweet and sticky with water mellon and your hair burning coppery gold in the late afternoon sunlight. Seeing you there, my little golden boy among the sea of green, sent the biggest wave of happiness through me. This, I thought to myself, this is how you are supposed to look, this is childhood, this is happiness.

Happiness can seem so evasive sometimes, so relative and fixed to unruly things. I will be happier when I’m wealthier, thinner, more creative, well rested, when whatever the heart craves at the moment is granted. It seems happiness is more easily admired from a distance, identified after the feeling passes, or in anticipation of it. But yesterday in the backyard, was pure happiness and I was lucky enough to realize it, and soak the moment in.

I am so lucky to be able to spend time with you. You remind me of what is important and what is fluff, and make me strive to eliminate the fluff.

I love you, xoxo Mama

Iowa Bound

Our beautiful farm

I am beyond excited to go to Iowa tomorrow. I have been so preoccupied planning our anniversary party that I have not even registered the fact that I get to spend 2 whole weeks with my boys playing in the prairie. I am ready to unwind, to lose my shoes and become feral again.

I am so excited to bring Jack back. He went in November but he was really too small to be a bona-fide country boy. But this time he can swim in the ponds, crawl in the deep grass, and play with the chickens. We are going to stay with Jacks God parents and their little boy. I am so delighted and ready to unwind. Posts and pictures from Fairfield to follow!

You Don’t Know Jack

Ten things about Jack that you probably don’t know.

  1. The other day when we were reading a bed time story I said “the sheep went baaa” and Jack responded with “ba.” Genius! He is a tiny baby genius.
  2. Jack may be a south paw. He primarily eats with his left hand.
  3. Jack has finally found a way to coax the dog in to loving him. As I have mentioned before Axle can be a touch with holding. The other day I caught Jack very delicately feeding Axy puffs, one at a time. A puff for Jack, a puff for Axle. I knew I should shut this little operation down, since we never feed Axle human food. But honestly it was so cute that I hid and took instagram photos instead.
  4. He loves cauliflower
  5. If he seems like he needs a little cuddle or a nursing break I will ask him “do you want to nurse?” He will immediately stop what he is doing and start whining. He will then proceed to crawl to me keening and fake crying the whole time, as if the living room is the Sahara, and he is crawling across parched and starving.
  6. Over the weekend we were at a party and one of the other guests (who we did not know) called Jack a “mini Chuck Liddell.” He made the remark after witnessing Jack crawl over to another kid, steal that kids toy and then sit on him.
  7. Jack thinks it’s a hoot to chase us around the house. He laughs like a loon if we run away from him and pretend to be scared.
  8. When we go for walks and the wind kicks up he shakes his little head in the breeze and inhales really deeply. Then he smashes his face in to my chest and sighs. I’m glad I am not the only one who gets angst y in wild weather.
  9. He loves the book “Each Peach Pear Plum.”
  10. His hair is getting long in the back, and it starting to look like a little ducks bottom and tuft out. It is long enough for food to get stuck in. Looking at it makes me feel like my bones are liquefying, its just that cute.

Time Out

We have a lot going on these days. We are leaving to go to our home town of Fairfield Iowa on Sunday because we are throwing a 5th anniversary party for ourselves! We have been planning it for over a year, although honestly most of the actual planning has taken place very recently. We have invited around 150 people, and we have friends and family flying in from all over. The party is at our farm-house (P.S. we own a farm-house.) The house is rented, but our tenants are kind enough to let us do the party on the property and in the barn.

I love throwing parties, although the distance makes it a challenge as does the rural nature of the town. There are no rental companies or vendors at all. For our wedding I thrifted everything for months before hand and drove them to Iowa in a trailer. I mean everything, tables, chairs, vases, pitchers, chandeliers. Unfortunately most of them are destroyed by now. I really don’t have the time or inclination to be as dedicated (extreme and controlling) for this shin dig. So I am having to come to terms with the fact that it may not look quite like what I want. I will post more about the party next week, when I am in Iowa. But it is still a lot of work from a far. And Lynch has been working really long hours this week, averaging 12 or 14 a day, so it has been hectic at our house to say the least.

I hate days or even weeks when it feels like I am just hustling Jack along with the current of my day, never really getting a chance to enjoy our activities. Days when everything feels like a chore. When bath time is about getting clean and rushing to bed time. Rather than about having some fun play time, and just enjoying the activity together.

Today I called a time out. I put away my mental to-do list (so hard for me) and really engaged in  what ever we were doing. We played in the yard for a long time, while I watered the garden he tried to eat the flowers. He played with a new train that he got, and harassed the dog, I wore him, while I cooked dinner and let him touch as much as I could and he help me wash the veggies. Then as dinner cooked we ate blueberries on the porch and listened to records. I loved watching his little lips turn blue and thinking about when he was the size of a blueberry in my tummy (all the pregnancy books use the blueberry to illustrate the size of the baby in early pregnancy) it was such a sweet reminder of how much he has grown.

Since we have stopped sleeping together (that sounds weird, but you know what I mean) I feel especially sensitive to the rushed days, and much more protective and aware of our bonding time during the day. While I was carrying him into the bath tonight it struck me that soon he will be walking, and I won’t be able to carry him from room to room. He already prefers to crawl. I felt so grateful that I still have this time, that I can still press my face in his sweaty little neck and smell the fragrance of an afternoon spent playing in the sunshine.

Baby Steps (no he’s not walking)

We have been making some serious changes to the Home Slices sleep routine. The main changes are that we moved him in to a crib and in to another room (after co-sleeping.)  And I  have only been letting him nurse twice a night.When he wakes up and wants to nurse we will go in and comfort him back to sleep. In the hours before 3am this is fairly simple. Bouncing on the birth ball will usually send him back to sleep. After 3am it is difficult and he tends to wake up every 45 minutes. This is when it feels like it was so much easier when he slept with us, because rolling over to comfort or nurse is much more convenient than walking in to anther room. But in this and all things Jack related, patience is the answer.

We have done this for the last 7 days. At first there was some serious improvement. He started to sleep for 3 or even 4 hours at a time, with the exception of after 3am. But as the week progressed  he has slipped back in to waking every 2 hours. I think the reason things have started to slide is because he started teething again (curses!)

I think I am much more attached to co-sleeping than Jack is.  I don’t miss the waking but the actual sleeping that takes place cuddled up to my little babe, is bliss. Although on the plus side now I get to cuddle up with my big babe, and that is pretty blissful as well. I do love having our bedroom back at night. It seems to decadent to be able to turn lights on when I am getting ready for bed. And not have to smuggle my pajamas around like a crazy nomad.

The biggest improvment is that suddenly, he will nap in his crib! This is huge. This is a child who would not even nap laying next to me. I had to sit up and cradle him. He has been sleeping in the crib for both naps. It sometimes takes a while to get him down (hourish.) But he will no longer wake from a dead sleep, the minute that you set him down like a tiny angry bomb going off. This is amazing! I feel like I have been let out of jail on furlough. Being able to have an hour or two a day to myself to shower, return e-mails, eat, clean or work (don’t be too jealous of my super exciting, glamorous life) is amazing.

We still are only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night, but I hope that once he understands that he won’t be nursing all night, he will sleep for longer stretches. I am just so relieved to have a little progress.

Mothers

Sometimes if feels like the goal of modern motherhood is to have your life resemble, as quickly as possible what it did before you became a mother. You are supposed to slip back in to your pre-baby life, with as much ease as you are supposed to slip back on your pre-baby jeans. There are a million products, articles, books and other media aimed at women, informing us of this. Before I had Jack the idea of “feeling like myself” again quickly was a comfort. It helped ease my fears of the wild unknown.  I do have friends who have experienced this, they feel like themselves almost immediately after giving birth but with a tiny new plus one. But I am not one of those women

I don’t think I live on the same planet as the person I was before having Jack. There are so many external and internal changes. Sometimes if feels that when they performed the c-section they added in a frontal lobotomy for good measure.

A few nights ago I went out to dinner with some of my new Mama friends (new as mothers, and new to me as friends.) The talk was baby centric and soon, over crafted beers and artesian pizzas, the stories started to flow. Birth stories were traded. Some wild; a baby being born in the car, delivered by dad. Some unresolved; the sorrow of a birth experience that was brutal and difficult. None of them simple. Stories about the recoveries, blood, stitches and exploding scars. And of course tales of the babies themselves, of sleepless nights and of sobbing to your husband on the phone with your baby wailing in tandem in the back round.

The telling of these horror stories was matter of fact and light, slipped in between ordering another appetizer. It struck me again how resilient women are, and how much becoming a mother effects you, physically mentally and emotionally. These incidents that may seem so unbearable and horrific to an outside ear, are just part of our stories now. Mixed together with the intense new love we all get to experience. There was no dwelling or self-pity. There was an abundance of joy and a feeling of community.

Nature is cyclical. There is always a cycle of destruction before life springs up again. Having Jack was both, simultaneously. I created another human being, and in the process everything about me as a person was torn down and destroyed. Destruction can be positive. These days it feels like I am slowly rebuilding my self and my life. I have a clean slate. Ready and open for possibilities that I never even saw before. I am stronger, I am certainly braver and I value my happiness more than I use to.

I feel so lucky to be able to experience this, and I marvel at the mothers I know. The strength is staggering. So cheers to the Mamas who feel like them selves again with ease, although surely they are stronger more complete versions now. And cheers to those of us who are still discovering the new women we have become. Happy Mothers Day!

Homage To The Home Slice

We have been taking super 8 footage of Jack since he was in my belly.  We don’t film him that often, but we have caught a handful of sweet moments. I hope to put together an edited piece for his first birthday, a little homage to my little Home Slice. We got some of the footage developed this week. Here is a tiny sneak peak of the unedited footage. Enjoy!

Wander Lust

I think I have a little bit of  wander lust in me. Just enough to make me constantly want to move to a new city, but not enough to actually do it. Instead I settle for dragging Lynch from one L.A neighborhood to the next.

We started in Santa Monica, then moved to Venice, then back to Santa Monica. We took the leap and moved to the east side, settling in Beachwood canyon for about 5 minutes. We stayed in Echo Park for almost three years (a record) and now we have been in Mt Washington for almost two. True all these moves took place over 10 years but it really is excessive.

We feel very tied to L.A, due to working in the entertainment industry. Although lately because Lynch is working out of L.A so much we have started more seriously discussing living somewhere else. I never pictured raising a kid here. We have these discussions every few weeks. Usually sparked after I read a particularly incendiary article about L.A; how being raised in the city gives you a 30% greater chance of developing a mental illness, how it the worst air quality in the country, or how private kindergarten here runs between 10-30 thousand (not making these up.)

This is how the discussion goes. Conversation A occurs after a night of a little sleep. Conversation B occurs after a night of no sleep.

Conversation A

Lu: I just don’t really want to raise Jack here. I think I have another 2 years in me tops.

Lynch: Two years is kind of soon, we need to start planning (Lynch is very practical.)

Lu: Ok lets figure it out, where should we move?

Lynch: I have no idea, where do you think?

Lu: I have no idea.

Conversation B

Lu: I hate it here, I can’t do this anymore, I am moving (notice I, not we, the implied threat.)

Lynch: Ok lets figure it out, where should we move?

Lu: I have no idea, I need a drink.

Clearly these discussions heed no results. And also the truth is I am a big chicken, part wanderer part chicken. There are a lot of great things about L.A and we have been here so long that it is really daunting to move somewhere else. I keep thinking someday when the time is right it will be clear. But if Lynch and I are still having the same conversation in 10 years, someone please stage an intervention.

The Littlest & Sakura Bloom Collaboration

My very talented friend Elizabeth over at The Littlest (an amazing blog) has designed the most beautiful sling for Sakura Bloom. Last summer Sakura Bloom partnered with Marvelous Kiddo (another amazing blog) and held the Sakura Bloom Styleathon. It was a contest featuring selected bloggers documenting their experiences carrying their babies in slings. It was such a wonderful project to promote baby wearing.

Elizabeth won the contest (it seems strange to call it a contest, there was such a sence of community about it.) and partnered with Sakura Bloom to designed a sling. I had the pleasure of being in the video she made for one of her entries last year (you can see the video and the rest of her entries here.) I was 36  weeks pregnant with Jack. He was curled inside me, ever present and safe; the ultimate baby wearing experience.

Last week Jack and I headed over to Elizabeths to model the sling she designed. It was such a sweet way to bring the project full circle for us. I kept flashing back to last year, when Jack was still not really a part of my life. Before I had ever seen his face, or knew his name. Before I knew how intensely and magically the shape of my life would shift.When he was still abstract. Now at 8 months old Jack is so radiant and present, it is hard to remember that he has not always been with me.

The photos she took are stunning, they capture the spirit of my little Home Slice perfectly. These days are so fleeting I am happy to have them as a marker for my radiant boy. Someday when he is all grown and bigger than his Mama. I can look at them and remember the feel of him snuggled in to my chest, head resting over my heartbeat, trying to shove flowers in his mouth.

Check out The Littlest, Sakura Bloom and Marvelous Kiddo for more info. Marvelous Kiddo is also doing another Baby wearing contest called the  Sling Diaries featurning a new group of bloggers.

Photos taken by Elizabeth Antonia