Sunday, March 20, 2016

Seeing the Spiral Jetty

At the north end of the Great Salt Lake, the artist Robert Smithson constructed his earth art piece the Spiral Jetty in 1970. I remember seeing in my art history book in high school, remembering it as the only thing in the book found in Utah. Now more than 10 years later, I finally ventured out to see it while I'm in Utah visiting family.

My mom, dad, sister, and brother came out too and the boys enjoyed making fun of the "art" made out of rocks, but I know they liked it! ;) Plus my dad is a better photographer than I am, so I just let him take the pictures and I love them.
Where I'm standing is supposed to have water surrounding it, but the lake has been at such a low level for a really long time. It almost looks like another planet. We enjoyed walking around on the lake bottom, which was just a bunch of salt deposits. 
It's lots of fun being around siblings who love my babies so much. 
I love him too. He is just so delicious right now. And while this was going on, j was having a ball picking up rocks. Hopefully he wasn't messing up the art installation! 
Pretty cool! Worth the drive out there. And then you can have lunch at the Maddox after like we did :) Thanks, family , for making the trek out there with me. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Morning at Point Lobos with a whole lotta babies

 ^^The beauty of Point Lobos never ceases to amaze me^^

My sister and her kids decided to come visit us again this past week, and we were blessed with gorgeous weather to enjoy so many things in this lovely area of California. We decided to be adventurous and ambitious and take all four (can you believe me and jenn have FOUR kids??) on a little hike in Point Lobos.

I think the one "hike" that is completely wheelchair/stroller friendly is to see China Cove and Bird Island, which was the hike I wanted to do anyway, since this is the time of year where the seals and their pups come to rest and hang out in China Cove, their own gorgeous private beach. It was so beautiful.

 ^^Our self timer attempts at a group photo :) ^^
 ^^And an outtake^^
Afterward we hung out at this picnic area and let the kids climb around, which for me still wasn't relaxing, since J loves to explore everywhere, so I had to be constantly aware to make sure he didn't run into the many patches of poison oak!

Many people on the trail gave us their typical "you got your hands full" line, and I really think people just say that because they don't know what to say. We had a nice time, and luckily there were no other hikers around when I had a not so pretty parenting moment trying to control my wild toddler. But isn't it funny how even though doing something like this with kids almost doesn't seem worth it at the time, and now I am looking back on it thinking how wonderfully refreshing it was. And I always feel happy after going to Point Lobos. It's worth coming to Monterey and Carmel just for that!

I'm glad I had one more visit from my sister, since last time I didn't do anything with them outside of the house (3 weeks postpartum problems ha). Thanks for coming, Juju. We miss you guys!

Motherhood Life Lately: Journey to a Happy Baby

My beautiful babies. I made them! Oh how I love them. 

So I'll just say that January was a dark month for me. The honeymoon newborn phase was over, and I was left with a very needy, crying, and seemingly unhappy baby. I did not know how to handle it. I had to do things I had never done before with my first baby: things like calling my mom at night in tears not knowing what to do. And usually once a day putting the baby safely in my bedroom or swing and walking out to regain some composure from the frustration I was feeling towards this tiny baby, which would make me feel so guilty. I would look up all types of things to what could be causing the crying. Was he colicky? Should I try essential oils? Is it something in my diet? etc etc etc. Thinking and writing about it now is making me cry again. 

And then you add my 18 month old to the mix. I felt like I couldn't take care of one without neglecting the other. But luckily, J didn't seem to mind all the crying. And he still wanted to love on his brother. He obviously still had his needs and his toddler moments, but J helped me out so much by being a pretty easy going and forgiving kid--who also sleeps through the night which is so nice! He doesn't even know how much he helped me through that time with the love he gave me. Sweet sweet boy. (This of course is forgetting things that happened in the "dark month" like throwing a jar of jam on the baby's head or trying to shove a straw in baby's mouth--both times made me think that Dominic was never ever going to like J because he would cry even worse if he knew J was in the room. oh man.)
Some days were just basic survival mode. The thought of leaving the house by myself with two babies was just so overwhelming to me sometimes. This picture says it all: monster truck videos, with nutella and cookies in bed. Wow. At least he's dressed!
Anyway, I started to feel that the crying and fussing might possibly be because the baby was still hungry. We had some sample formula, and he gobbled it right up. It made me feel awful. I took him to his pediatrician a few days later, and she said my hunch to feed him more was correct, because he was down in percentage for his weight. It's been frustrating to try and make my body make more milk. It's also been confusing and tempting to compare why I never had a problem making milk for my first baby, who was also much chunkier. But mostly it's been liberating, because all I care about is having a happy baby. And if supplementing him with formula is going to do that, so be it.

With my first I had plenty of time to do all the remedies when my milk supply was running low. I'm trying my best, but I'm relieved to know that if for some reason I can't get it up again, my baby is happy with both breastmilk and formula. The only thing that sucks about it is how much formula costs yikes! Luckily my pediatrician is generous in giving me lots of sample cans. I wouldn't have that if I were being seen by a military doctor. Trying to look on the bright side ;)

So here we are now. I feel like we are now out of that dark place. February was on our way out, and now our March and future months are looking bright. I think that's why I feel like I can talk about it now.

Taking both babies to the store doesn't scare me anymore, although it definitely is a lot more work. I've even gone to eat just me and them (they were both asleep in the stroller ha) We go on long walks around Monterey and try to spend lots of time outside, which does us all good. We also are all sleeping much better, and that sure is great. I love taking an afternoon nap with my baby. Chores be damned. My three month old is the sweetest and he now wakes up happy, generously gives grins and giggles, sits contently next to me, but even more contently in my lap--he's still pretty clingy like that. But at least he's not crying when he's sitting in my lap.

So if you made it through my journey, bravo. You may have read it remembering what I wrote a year ago about having an easy baby and thought this was my just reward for saying how easy it all was. I did so myself. But the biggest lesson I have learned with having another baby is DO NOT compare them to each other. That was my biggest mistake and what caused so much of my frustration. It's hard not to, but don't do it. Also don't be so hard on your body if you feel like it's not doing what you want. I'm still working on that one.

Deciding to have two kids 16 months apart has definitely been the hardest thing I have ever done, but I am so so grateful for the satisfaction and fulfillment I feel. Despite the struggles, I am so happy. And they are by far my greatest accomplishment.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Things I've Been Loving Lately

I feel like it's been a long time since I have blogged. There's a lot I want to blog about so hopefully will get on that. I feel like I am finally getting a better sense of control over my life right now. Having two babies has been by far the hardest thing I have ever done! But that's another subject for another day. In the meantime I wanted to share some things with you that I have been loving this month. Little pick me ups that make me happy. 

Cara Cara Oranges. Have you heard of these? I hadn't until this winter but they are pink oranges! And they have a different taste than your typical navel oranges. I love them because they are pink, but also they are very tasty. I have tried them at the various farmers markets, but to be honest with you, my favorite ones I have found are the ones from Trader Joe's. Of course ha. And they are the cheapest there. Try em if you can. 
Brooklyn! It's out on digital dvd now and I have already watched it twice in a week. It comes out on actual dvd in a week I think. I seriously love this movie. 
Nothing Bundt Cake: Yum yum yum! This is a chain bakery, and there is one in Carmel. I finally went there with my sister and I am hooked on the white chocolate raspberry. The lemon is yum too. They are just so pretty too!
My running motivation music: Hamilton. This musical is going to win it all come the Tony Awards. I am not rich enough to drop $500 to see this since that's how much tickets are going for, but I love listening to the soundtrack. It gives me chills. And it gets me pumped up as I go running, which I desperately need. The music is awesome. Not at all your typical broadway musical sound. And it's very educational! I heard a critic call it an extra long episode of School House Rocks haha.
Here's the awesome performance at the Grammys:

I should add to the list my precious Dr. Pepper. Right now it's my ultimate treat in the day. My goal is to ease up on it, but in these early days of baby, it makes my day. It was the same when J was a little baby. Definitely a pick me up!
Anything you've been loving lately that I should know about? Please share!