Monday, December 29, 2008

Crazy Baby

I have a crazy baby. I'm absolutely not surprised because, well, have you met her dad?

When we put her in the middle of her Santa presents on Christmas, she hopped from foot to foot with her hands behind her back, mumbling some sort of excited gibberish. I was hoping to get lovely photos of her delighting in her new toys, maybe even serenely glancing up at me from time to time with love in her eyes. But she just can't hold still! This is the stillest she was for any one moment on Christmas Day. I'm happy to have at least one picture where her face and body isn't a blur!

On Christmas night, she was incredibly hyper, and spent the better part of an hour marching around the house at top speed. These pictures capture the "essence" of Lydia.

And if you ever meet us in the middle of the day and wonder why my baby is a filthy mess, see Exhibit A.

She can't be stopped!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lydia was weaned a few days ago, at a year and a few weeks old. I am unbelievably proud of myself. I recognize that not all women can or should breastfeed, so don't think I'm going to spend this post bashing those who don't breastfeed their children. I just want to explain why I am proud of myself.

I never wanted to be a mother. Somewhere in my teenage years, I began to equate motherhood with a total loss of self. The creative mind would become used up on endless cooking, cleaning, bathing, diaper changing. Happiness and self esteem would be the next casualties, after loss of a mind for anything useful. Oh yes. And the body would be sacrificed as well, from pregnancy to breastfeeding.

When I found out I was pregnant with Lydia, I was initially happy. My mind had changed significantly through the years, and a baby was something both Ryan and I wanted. Soon after, however, my teenage thoughts re-entered my adult mind. I began to resent the little creature growing inside me, sapping my strength, and submitting me to an endless life in the doldrums once the "thing" was born. I decided I would give my body to this alien for 9 months since the deed was already done, but it was not getting any more from me. I was most decidedly NOT going to breast feed.

My obsessive need to plan every detail of my life led me to many pregnancy forums, email lists, and websites during those nine months. Somewhere around my sixth month, the emails flooding my inbox began talking about breastfeeding. I scanned them, not expecting to get anything from them. Then, I read about the miracle of breast milk. A mother's body changes the formula of the breastmilk according to the needs of the baby. In the morning, the baby gets different nutrients than at night. If the baby is sick, the mother's body knows how to adjust in order to give the appropriate nutrients for that sickness. And if the mother is sick, she passes on antibodies for that sickness to her baby through her breastmilk.

All of a sudden, my mother bear instinct kicked in for this little baby girl inside of me. I don't know why, but these articles made me realize that this child I had been resenting suddenly belonged to ME and I loved her. My baby was going to get a healthy start and I was going to provide it for her. I knew I was going to breastfeed her. I didn't think I would last very long, but I was going to at least try.

Once I made the decision, I became nervous about learning to breastfeed and worried I wouldn't be able to do it. So I prayed and read books about breastfeeding. A lot. And I was blessed with dreams and calming moments that told me I would be successful if I wanted to be.

When little Lydia was born, and they handed her to me to breastfeed her, the nurse immediately began telling me how to do it. I followed her instructions because she was hovering over me, but it just didn't feel right. After a minute, I tried it the way I instinctively knew to do. It was a success! Ryan had been on the phone with grandparents while I was doing this, and he tells me that when he turned around and saw me with Lydia, he was amazed at how natural I was.

By that point, I was not amazed. I was, however, amazed that I was not amazed. Up until her birth, I worried about my abilities to be a mother and a caretaker. But as soon as she entered my world, those fears disappeared. As soon as I saw her, I knew she was meant for me.

So now that Lydia is 1 and 3 weeks old and finally weaned, I feel I have made it. I can do this mother thing that I've been doing for 1 year and 3 weeks. And I can be good at it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I stole this from a really awesome blog, Whatever DeeDee Wants {She's Gonna Get It}

I love these kinds of lists. You can find out so many interesting things about yourself and make new goals for your life. For instance, did you know I have never been in a pillowfight or played in the mud? Those are now on the top of my Things-to-do-Before-I-Die list.

The things I have done are in Purple. You, TOO, can copy and paste and do your very own list on your very own blog!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
7 3. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
9 1. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Monday, December 8, 2008

More Birthday Talk

It's My Party, and I'll Cry if I Want to...

This was Lydia on the morning of her birthday. I couldn't get the oatmeal ready fast enough for her. Maybe because I was busy taking pictures of her crying?

I took Lydia to a really cool fish store on her birthday. It's almost as good as the actual aquarium and it doesn't cost anything- unless you get suckered into buying a fish- which I didn't! Yay for me!

If you ask Lydia what a fishie says, she'll tell you "Bub bub." Ryan got off early on her birthday, so while I was teaching piano, he took her to a local animal farm (which is also free!). She chased after the geese, making some sort of throaty sound that geese apparently make. It got dark soon, so they went to Best Buy and played Mario Kart. Lydia has a fun daddy.

One of the presents we gave to Lydia was a homemade bank. I did the letters, and Ryan did the paper. My friend Jill added the bow. Group effort! I'm terribly proud of it, not because of it's appearance, but because I recycled an applesauce jar! Ryan and I actually think it looks like a 4th grader made it. But Lydia won't know that for a while.

We had a small birthday party at our house on Sunday. Lydia got her very own cupcake. We accidentally didn't put her tray on tight enough so she accidentally pushed it off. Then, she really did cry at her party! I didn't get a picture, but just see above for a pretty close likeness.

I have a friend who is part Japanese, and she told me about this tradition the Japanese do on babies' first birthdays. They set out objects that represent different career/life paths and let the baby walk or crawl to the objects to choose one. Whatever they choose is supposed to predict their future life path.

We put a book for academics, a ball for sports, a conductor's wand for music, a paintbrush for the arts, a spatula for a culinary career, a pencil for academics (Whoops! Two academic objects), and money for wealth.

Lydia chose the ball.

We had all the other babies and kids do it after Lydia. Lydia's 15 month old cousin Liam chose the conductor's wand. Lydia's 14 month old cousin Cameron crawled right past everything and played with a big pile of shoes. We decided she's destined for a career in fashion.

Friday, December 5, 2008

If you know me, you know I'm all about traditions. So I was really excited when Ryan decided he wanted to start a tradition of bringing home flowers for Lydia on her birthday, one for every year of her life. Look how handsome he is. (Can you find Rebecca in the picture?)

We want to take a picture of Lydia each year with her flowers from Daddy and with her favorite stuffed animal (which is a monkey named Mono, made by our friend Jonathan). We think it will be fun to watch her grow and also to see how Mono changes as she gets older. I'm sure he'll be missing some eyes and/or limbs by the time she's 18.

She's a very active girl, and we had a hard time getting her to stay still while holding Mono AND a flower. (We cut the stem off of the flower so she wouldn't poke her eye out in all her wiggliness).

After one solo picture, we decided Daddy needed to intervene and keep this girl still!

But even Daddy couldn't handle it.

Aaahhh. Finally a decent one. She's offering you, the viewer, her rose while Daddy is holding Mono. It will have to work! I don't think we're gonna get much better!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Didn't Know

Before you were here, there were a lot of things I didn't know.

I didn't know how I would completely fall in love with you the moment I saw you

I didn't know I would be happy to stare at you for hours

I didn't know how much I would love that you depend on me

And how quickly you would become independent- and how much I would miss that dependence.

I didn't know that a smile from you could make every bad thing in life melt away.

I didn't know how quickly you would learn to explore and how much your mind could absorb.

I didn't know that I could possibly be more in love with your dad...until I saw him love you, comfort you, play with you, sing to you, hold you, rock you, and talk to you. And I didn't know how much more I could possibly be in love with your dad until I see your face light up whenever you are with him.

I didn't know how special it is to be on the mother side of the mother/daughter bond.

I didn't know that you would make our family feel so complete.

Happy birthday, my little princess!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

Have you read the book, Three Cups of Tea? It's about a man who builds schools for kids in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's a wonderful story of how education can truly change lives. On my site,, I'm passing the book around. Every time it gets passed to a new person, I donate $1.00 to the foundation for these schools and invite any willing people to do the same. It costs $1.00 to send a kid to school for a month. If you would like, go to my site, and read about how you can donate. Then, make sure to let me know you did, so we can keep track of how much money we raise together!

What do you think?

Is Lydia's winter coat too big?

We took her out to see the downtown lights looking like this. Poor girl. Good thing it's a cute coat and she's a cute girl.