Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Year Old!!

Birthday Party, originally uploaded by allthingssara.

Dear Beckett --

Today you are ONE. We had a party a few days ago on a Saturday to celebrate, and it was fun. I made a lemon cake for you -- Hank picked the flavor -- and covered it with candy sprinkles, and stuffed it full of raspberries. I think you liked it!

You are coming into your second year as a little one who loves to play the drum, tinkle the keys on the piano, tumble with his big brother, touch the cats even though they sometimes scratch in response. You babble up a storm still and have uttered a few words. Words that you've said, but not repeated very often are "kitty" and "Hank". You say "Mama" a lot, and "Dada", and occasionally you say "HIIII!" and "buh bye." Did I ever write down for you that your first word was "Hi"? You once looked down at Munchie, who was circling my feet meowing up a storm, and said to her, "meow??". You have a penchant for sneaking cat food into your mouth when we aren't looking, and you love toy cars.

Hank is a remarkable big brother to you. He relishes watching you grow and is so excited that you are big enough and strong enough to pay in forts with him and tumble all over the house with him. He helped pick out a play tent as your birthday present this afternoon, and watching the two of you enjoy it was a joy for me. And it was actually Hank who, this afternoon, noticed that your third tooth has finally decided to start coming in!

It was hard for me to admit that your birthday was coming up so quickly. I feel like I have been a bit protective of your precious babyhood, and I felt sad when I realized that this year was coming to a close. However, now that your birthday is here, I feel nothing but joy when I think about all the wonderful things I am going to get to experience anew through you. I say this to you a lot, but I hope you will always know that I am a very lucky mama.


time for a haircut

time for a haircut, originally uploaded by allthingssara.

A few weeks ago I finally had to admit that it was time for my beautiful boy's hair to be cut. It was down to his upper lip in front, and he had the long (lovely) tendrils that would curl under his ears. So lovely. Taking him for that haircut was so, so hard. I cried for two days leading up to it, and all the way there in the car. My little baby has just gotten so big, so fast, and the impact of the passage of time was swift. Of course, in the end, getting his hair cut really was the best thing for him. He looks so grown up and happy, and I think those long locks were getting in the way of his vision, because when we got home that afternoon he went from pulling himself along the furniture to taking actual, unassisted steps. So grown up!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Semi-Monthly Facebook Status Dump

Dinos vs. Cars, originally uploaded by allthingssara.

Here's another periodic round up of facebook status updates since the last time I made a blog post.  


Poll: Beckett's 1st birthday is coming up. What kind of cake should I make for him? Chocolate? Lemon? Strawberry? Vanilla?

          How can my baby be nearly one year old?  Little Baby Bear, Bub, Bubba, Mr. Bubble, BeckettyBoo, BeckyBoo, Boo, BooBear, Buddha Baby, sweet little Bucket... At nearly twelve months, Beckett's hair reaches down to his lips, he takes a small step here and there, waves hello and bye bye, can say HI!, bah bah (bye bye), kiggy (kitty), Mama, and look at the cat and meow like a cat.  He loves to eat all kinds of food, but goes bananas when he sees a container of yogurt. Just in the last week or so, he's gotten so good at feeding himself.  He is so smiley -- I get comments all the time about how downright pleasant he is, and he just is.  Hank plays so well with Beckett -- they roll around the living room, play in couch cushion forts, wrestle.  His favorite toys are blocks and hotwheels, and he usually has one clutched in his hand, no matter what he is doing.  

who knew front loading laundry machines would be so exciting?
          Now that Beckett is super mobile, he's starting to discover "new" things about the house -- like the laundry machines.  Fascinating!!  They go round and round!  He also discovered all the instruments in the living room -- drums!  bangbangbang!  piano! dingdingding!  Discovering the piano was the cutest -- he pulled himself up as tall and long as he could, and barely reached his fingers up and over the keys and "ding!!"  Now he loves to play the piano.

Is anyone else completely burned out by spending more time setting up and tearing down activities for a four year old than the time said four year old actually spends engaging in the activity (including the time spent by said four year old berating you for helping in the exact manner that he asked you to help)?

on my way to the pool with both kids by myself for the first time. Please wish me luck.

          This had a lot of potential to be scary and awful, but it was truly great.  We stuck to the baby pool, everyone had a good time, no one got sunburned, no one drowned, and Hank even agreed (finally) to take swimming lessons!


What an amazing weekend. Brings to mind the old Girl Scouts song "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold".

Step! Step! Bucket took a step!! (April 25!)

Even on a day like this, with a storm threatening, I just love my backyard, and I'm so glad I chose to put what little gardening time I've had in the last couple of years into the back, instead of the front.

Totally irritated by the abundance of typos and spelling errors on the Disneyland website.

          We are planning our first trip to disneyland and it is pretty overwhelming!

Goodness, Beckett is loud.

          Especially at 5:46 am which is about the time he and I start the day almost every day....

while observing the sunset, Hank exclaims, "it's beautiful! Beautiful!! I made it for us! I just threw all the pink stuff up to the sky and it got all stuck up there so we could have the beautiful sunset!"

Dear Client -- contrary to popular belief, it is not your attorney's job to agree with everything you say. Nor is it your attorney's job to rubber stamp every hare-brained plan you hatch. It is your attorney's job to protect your interests, even if you don't like what your attorney has to say to you.

It's been a kaiser kind of day. Spent all afternoon getting antibiotic for hank, getting me checked for steep throat, and now I'm at the rapid clinic with Beckett who was bit by munchie while I was cooking dinner. I think that's enough for this month.


Yesterday evening I got home from my ceramics class to find that Henry had organized an impromptu surprise party to celebrate my looming birthday. He and my parents had collaborated on a lovely dinner, he baked a cake with Hank, and even took both kids to trader joes. I had no idea, and was so touched and surprised :) #besthusbandprize

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hank has been on fire lately....

The things coming out of Hank's mouth these days are priceless. At 4 years, 4 months, he is becoming quite the crack up. Time to record a few for posterity:

Me: "hank, can you stop running in circles?"
Hank (changes course slightly, but doesn't slow down): "ok! How about rectangles?"

Hank, over and over again, asked about anything and everything: "why? why? why?"
me: "Hank, honey, I don't know why. Why do you think it is like it is?"
Hank, incredulously: "Mommy, I don't think!!"

Hank (holding up a dinosaur): "This is a t-rex. And this is a brontosaurus. And this is a triceratops. And this is a bracheosaurus. And this is a pteranadon."
Hank (holding up a dinosaur with one horn on its head): "mommy, what kind of dinosaur is this?"
Me: "well, honey, I'm not sure. What do you think it is?"
Hank: "I think it must be a hornasaurus"
(Hank picks up a dinosaur with lots and lots of horns) "and this is a lotahornasaurus".

Checking things out at a neighborhood garage sale,
"hank -- what do you think of that couch?"
"that couch is HIDEOUS!!"

He also says some of the sweetest things I've ever heard. When I arrived home on Saturday afternoon after my pottery class, I was checking something out in the front yard before going in the house. I hear the front door open, and Hank bounces out of the house and across the lawn to hug me. On the way he picks a dandelion and blows all the seeds off. I ask, "Did you get your wish?" He said, "Yes!" "What did you wish for, sweetie?" "YOU!!!"

And did I mention that Becket, not even 9 months yet, learned to climb up the stairs?

Where is the time going? I wouldn't say I have any regrets about how fast this time is going, but I do sometimes feel a little sad about how quickly it is disappearing, and how my experience of this baby is so very different from my experience with Hank as a baby. I wish that I could have replicated that pace and intimacy with Beckett, but there is just no way to do that with an older child in the house. My time with Beckett has been incredibly special in its own right, just a very different experience, over all.

A few nights ago I dreamed about one of my lost babies. It was the little girl, and I've never "met" her* before. Whenever she's appeared to me, she is never living. In this dream we were in a place, maybe up in Tilden Park, and there was a forest fire approaching, and it was clear that we needed to get out of where we were, and fast. Henry and I were gathering our boys up, and a little toddler girl, maybe 18 months old (close in age to what that baby would be, had she made it to the outside), toddled up to us, and kept gesturing to me to pick her up. She had no parents around her. She had fine, curly, blond hair, tired eyes, and was wearing a pink wool coat, similar to a coat that I've seen pictures of myself wearing as a toddler. It became very clear, very fast, that I was supposed to be her mother, but that this was the first time we had seen each other. I took her in my arms, and she did all the things that a freshly born baby does with its mother -- sought a breast to nurse, searched my face for recognition and connection, found it.

*I know that the last loss was a girl, because of the chromosomal analysis.

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Brief" Update

Just wrapped up bedtime upstairs. Both boys sleep in the same room now, Beckett in the crib, Hank in the loft bed. We moved Beckett out of our room about two weeks ago, at eight months. It was hard for me to do it, but it was time – he was starting to pull up, and he couldn’t stay in the co-sleeper any longer and still be safe. So it was either disassemble the crib and move it into our room, or just bite the bullet and move Beckett into the crib in the Boys’ room. Like I said, it was hard for me to let go of rooming in with Beckett. Bedtime had become my absolutely favorite time of the day – I would take Beckett upstairs, and we would snuggle in the big bed and nurse as long as he wanted, then I would transfer him, fast asleep, to his little bed, and slip out until it was time forus to go to bed. Nursing him down like that was so tender, so sweet, and so personal. I still nurse him down, but we do it in a chair in the boys’ room and it feels different. Still sweet and important, but different. Also, it took a couple of weeks for him to get comfortable with the idea of going to sleep in the crib. There was a lot of crying, and at times it felt very heartbreaking, and I just wanted to bring him back into our room, but we held fast and lo and behold our little baby who would traditionally only sleep in 1.5 hour chunks actually began sleeping all night.

I know. Now that I’ve committed that to writing, it will all go to hell. Well, it has been a nice three days! Ha ha…

There has been another benefit to the room-merge. Hank, who was growing more and more resistant to going to sleep – popping out of his room constantly, demanding snacks, showing up in our bed at all hours – now falls asleep quickly and happily. He seems to love having a little room mate! By and large, Hank really gets a kick out of Beckett. He still calls him Bucket. He loves to hug Bucket. He sings him a little song that goes “I love you, Bucky Boo” that sounds a little like Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue”, implores him not to worry, tells him things will be OK when he is crying or getting anxious, shares toys with him. This morning when Hank woke up, he saw that he and Beckett were wearing matching jimmies, and he just about plotzed with happiness – leapt from his bed, got down on the floor with Beckett (who was quickly crawling over to Hank with joy all over his face), and scooped him up for a wiggly little hug. I just beamed. It made my heart feel so warm and happy.

Anyway, so when I leave my boys, tucked safely in their room, both snoozing peacefully, happily, I feel so…. I don’t know. I don’t have the vocabulary to express the emotion I feel. I feel like I am leaving half my heart behind in that room, but I feel good. I feel like my boys know they can count on me and Henry of course, but I think they also already know that they can count on each other, that they are safe with each other. I kiss them both quietly. Gently place a hand on each of them to make sure they are still breathing. Remind myself that they are both still flesh, blood, living, breathing, vibrant. These kids are my everything.

Periodic Facebook status dump:


made a huge mistake. Taught Hank the Sir Mixalot classic "I like Big Butts and I Can Not Lie". He is now exclaiming it, with perfect rhythm and inflection by the way, over and over and over, substituting such gems as "fart" and "pizza" and "boobies" and “penis” for butts...
Hank is also really into “Guess what?” “Chicken Butt!!” Also my fault.

Oh my god. Beckett slept all night. This has only happened one other time in 8.5 months. All night! Please oh please let this be the start of a new normal.

Hank wants to surprise Henry for his birthday tonight. Considering that Henry's birthday isn't until April, chances are he will be very surprised. Hank even made me make a cake.
Henry was so, so surprised! It was so fun, and very funny. We were only able to find the “4” candle from Hank’s 4th birthday, so we used that and Hank said that “Daddy can be 4!” The next morning Hank informed me that “Mommy, today can be your birthday. You will be 4, too! I will also make you a surprise cake!”


Success! I just got the four year old to make me a cocktail in his play kitchen.

my sweet, sweet baby can stand. noooooo!!!
And how he loves to pull up! He pulls up on everything, every chance he gets. He simultaneously looks so big and terribly tiny – such a cute juxtaposition. He’s really taking off these days. The pulling up, the crawling – he crawls so very fast – he looks like a little wind up toy when he really takes off, it is so cute cute cute. And today he climbed the damn stairs! Yikes, thank goodness I was right there.

Just signed up for a ceramics class! Very excited -- can't wait to get my art on.
I’m in the midst of a mission to recapture my creativity. It has been wonderful! I love throwing pottery – it feels amazing. I hope I can keep it up after the class ends in March. I’ve been painting again, too. And sketching. And trying to take at least one photograph a day. I feel like I am tapping back into a side of myself that has been getting more and more lost. It feels really good.

I ♥ technology. just got to meet Branwyn and Stephen’s new little baby, all the way in London, via Skype. Happy!
So delighted that my oldest friend in this world is a mama now, too. Really tickles me. I love hearing about the baby and about Bran’s experiences as she gets in to the swing of things.

Introducing Beckett to our new years day tradition of going to the beach
Happy new years! I think this was the third time we’ve done this, now. And it was a delight. Hank really came out of a shell he’d been in for a long time that day. He was beaming, giddy, so delighted with the entire thing, it was such a pleasure to have our joyful boy back. And Beckett – well, Beckett discovered sand for the first time that afternoon and he was in seventh heaven, too. He couldn’t get enough of it – he kept digging his little fingers and toes into it, and giggling. Oh he was just the sweetest thing. And so incredibly dirty!


Dear 2011 -- a lot of my friends and family have expressed happiness at seeing you fade to the past. As for me, you held some low points, but mostly I will remember you as the year I was finally, following a 2.5 year wait that came with a lot of heartbreak, given my sweet little Beckett. Thank you, 2011. May your cousin 2012 be so kind as to grace my family in new, beautiful ways.

xmas dinner -- the most raymonds, wagners, and toroians under one roof since our wedding!
There were 17 of us, total, at the house. I loved it! It was a ton of work, but so worth it. There were a couple of stressful moments, such as the moment when I realized that the main course just was not cooking through and all my guests were starting to get to that starving phase, which coincided with discovering a lake in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, which then coincided with hearing a horrible THUD from upstairs, which we thought at first was Hank jumping off of a piece of furniture, but then realized that it was our poor sweet baby Beckett falling off our bed where he had been napping. (my heart stopped. I swear. And then somehow I managed to get upstairs faster than I ever have in my life. Poor Beckett was sobbing on the floor, but seemed to be OK. I, however, lost it – had a total panic attack, it was terribleawfulhorriblesadscary)

So! Much! Fun! (Christmas Morning)
Hank LOVED Christmas morning. He loved it. He got everything he wanted from Santa – a red lego boat and an elaborate marble run. And he got so much other stuff, too. He had so much fun. Each package was exciting, fun, thrilling. He practically did a back flip over a box full of new clothes, that’s how excited he was.

Omgomgomgwakeupwakeupwakeupomgomgomg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (also Christmas Morning)
I don’t know why it took so long for people to get moving on xmas morning, but I was up and excited to get the show on the road. Hank had left snacks out for Santa, and I had made it clear that Santa had been there. Santa left a thank you note, some crumbs, and magic dust (glitter) in a trail from the fireplace to the Christmas tree. When Hank did come down his little mind was just blown! I think he wasn’t sure what to think about Santa in the weeks leading up to xmas, but wanted to believe, and after seeing everything on xmas morning, he believed. It also helped that a friend posed as santa earlier in the month and wrote Hank a fancy letter from Santa on huge parchment, with glitter and calligraphy, the whole nine yards. Hank had also been worried that Santa wouldn’t be able to find our house because we don’t have snow, so we made snowflakes and hung them in the front window. And before going to bed on xmas eve, we went out in the front yard and scanned the sky, looking for Santa, and called up (yelled up, poor neighbors!), “SANTA!!!! DON’T FORGET TO COME TO MY HOUSE!!!!”

Merry christmas to all -- may everyone find light amidst darkness, and may every baby born be so cherished. (Christmas Eve)

Beckett just discovered the xmas tree.
Beckett had already started crawling, but he was still relying on rolling to get from place to place, and he would roll over the xmas tree and start grabbing and batting at things. He thought it was so sparkly and cool.

‎!!!!! Beckett can crawl!!!!

My heart is broken. Hank just looked at me and said very calmly and seriously, 'I don't like you anymore. I just like daddy.'. Will I ever be forgiven for having another baby? Will things ever get easier?
Man, in early December it really felt like things were always going to be awful, that we would never sleep again, that Hank would never be close with me again, that we would never have the close, snuggly relationship we had before the baby. Things had been especially difficult in the days leading up to this announcement, and it really did shatter me. We were up at our favorite playground, and Hank just dropped this bomb. I can’t remember a time that I felt so sad. Fortunately he came around after only a couple of hours, and honestly, things have been better than ever, ever since that moment. Thank goodness. He’s be snuggly, cuddly, affectionate little guy again, and it is wonderful.

HANK has been getting crazy with mama's glue gun.
Hank made lots of Christmas presents for people this year. He made 14 snowglobes, multiple block towers spelling out people’s names, painted ceramics, decorated pinecones. He was on fire! And he was very good with the glue gun!

Feeding my baby, witnessing the eclipse, marveling at my small spot in this vast universe

we've got a sitter!
As in, Beckett learned to sit up on his own in early December.

Merry Joy Peace
The evening that we decorated our Christmas tree was so peaceful and happy. Beckett was already asleep, but Hank stayed up late to help. We listened to Christmas songs and busted out all the good stuff for the tree. I had forgotten that last year my parents had passed along the antique bubble lights that we had always had on my tree, growing up. When we plugged them in, they honestly took my breath away – just swept it right away. The color and tone of the light they produced put me right back into my own childhood, and I immediately wanted nothing more than to create wonderful Christmas memories for my children.