Home is where the heart is...

I've been a bad blogger. This summer has been so crazy and so many unexpected things have come to pass that I cannot keep up...

On Sunday we returned from a week long vacation in California. It started with a cousin's wedding in Beverly Hills, two nights at my-best-friend-since-the-third-grade's house in Alta Loma followed by a six hour drive north on Highway 5 to my twin brother's house in Tracy. While we were all at the wedding his plumbing backed up and flooded his house! What a nightmare. His babysitter (who was watching four kids at the time) managed to clean up the worst of it, but he and my sister-in-law returned home on Monday and did the rest of the dirty work. When we arrived on Tuesday evening, there was a wrecking crew there taking out floors and drywall and installing huge, industrial fans and dehumidifiers. We stayed one night and decided to move on to our BFFs place in Modesto. They just welcomed their second son in July and have a two year old. We stayed in their cozy guest room for three nights and then returned to my brother's for one last night before heading to the airport at 4 a.m. We landed in Tulsa at 6 p.m. and by then had sore throats. Not good.

Monday I went into work for 5 hours and then came home early so J could go to class (since my mom is still on vacation, visiting her sisters in Oregon). I got home and spiked a fever and had chills as well as achy joints. Libby had a runny nose and was feverish too. We climbed into bed and napped and nursed off and on from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. J has a scratchy throat too and was feeling run down as well. We turned in at 9 p.m. but were up all night with Libby. I finally conceded to sleeping with her in the rocker/recliner in her nursery. At 8 a.m. I fell into bed while J got her ready to see the pedi. Turns out she has a virus that needs to run its course. I assume J and I have the same. I stayed home from work today to rest and hopefully kick this bug! It sucks that the price for a week away from home is coming back sick. Libby is 7 months and 6 days old and this is the first time she's every been ill. So sad. Hopefully it'll pass quickly.

Our week in California was a whirlwind. We crammed in as many visits as possible and Libby met a ton of people...she loved every moment! She's SO social. She slept like a rock each night from all of the activity which impressed upon us that we need to do more with her, here at home.  Speaking of home, Sunday, when we arrived in Tulsa and made our drive into midtown to our neighborhood I actually felt like we were on our way home.  Weird.  It's taken two years for me to feel that way.  Before, I felt like going to California was going home and although being there feels SO familiar and comfortable, it didn't exactly feel like home anymore.  I do not miss the crazy traffic and hectic pace there at all.  And the smoggy air either.  I do miss the people though.  My brothers and best friends.  I will I could get them all to move here!  Thankfully, my mom is here...if she weren't I know I'd be more homesick.  So...for now, Tulsa is home. It's our daughter's birthplace.  And where we'll be for some time.  That said, I cannot wait until our next trip to California.  Maybe for Libby's first birthday?  We shall see.

A Couple of Firsts

After three months of drooling, gnawing, and general malaise Libby finally has something to show for it!  Not one, but TWO little pearly whites poking through her front, lower gums!  I felt the first one, on the left, on Sunday.  And today, the second one popped through!  Ah, my baby is growing up!

And tonight, she said "mama!" Loud and clear.  We've suspected we've heard it a time or two in the past (in fact J and my mom SWEAR Libby entered this word saying "mom"), but tonight, during dinner, she reached for me from her high chair and said, "mama."  Clear as day.  And then said it again and again!  I started to tear up...my baby!  Saying "mama."  Just the first of a million, trillion times to come, no doubt.  I mean, I am nearly 36 and still call my mom "mommy" most days.  Well, usually in private.  In public, she's mom.  But still.  It was sweet to hear Libby's "mmmm" roll into a long "ahh" and then a fast set of "mmm...aaahhh" blurt out right after it.  Of course, I tried to capture it on my dying 4.0 pixel digital camera (that'll capture 60 seconds of grainy video) and "ERR" kept flashing on the display.  I think it's finally died.  So what did I do?  Used my cell phone, on speaker, to call my house phone and capture Libby's first "mamas" on our voicemail.  Yeah, I am a dork. And obviously in desperate need of a Flip Camera.  Like yesterday.

Speaking of dinner and the highchair, it's been about four weeks since we started baby-led weaning (or child-led solids, which is more descriptive of what it actually is...).  Libby is doing great!  She's getting into it more now that we have a little routine down.  She's still pretty much in the touching and tasting (and squishing and flinging) stage but actually has consumed bits here and there (as there are tell tale signs in her potty)! She's tried quite a few things (all have been organic, unless noted with a [*]).  We usually slice them into 2-3" stick shape or wedges and most things are baked, roasted, grilled or steamed:

sweet potato♥
apple sauce (no sugar added)
plain yogurt
Baby MumMums*
Happy Baby Puffs
whole grain bread, toasted
rice pasta
grilled pork chop*
grilled chicken thighs*
turkey meatball*
scrambled egg yolk

She loves to dine at the table with us and even though we can only do it as a family four times a week (brunch on the weekends and dinner on Mondays and Tuesdays), it's so worth it.  Otherwise, she eats with me or with her daddy.  I am so glad we've decided to do BLW, especially since I am certain Libby would not have use spoon feeding her mush anyway. She's way too independent for that!

Overwhelmed With Love

Sometimes, when I look at my little one, I am so overwhelmed by my feelings of love that it brings me to tears.  Like tonight, as I rocked her...the tears just came as I watched her drift off to sleep.  It used to worry me...the fact that I could cry so easily.  But I know realize that it's okay. Tears don't always mean sadness.  And as much as laughter and a smile can express my joy, something about crying is also a release of the love that swells inside of me.  I have always been sensitive to beauty...be it art or music or poetry or a moment...like tonight.  And it brings me to tears.

A lot of parenting feels overwhelming...the love, the wonder....and the frustration too.  Like last night.  Libby just didn't want to sleep.  We rocked and nursed and snuggled and had white noise and she would fight the entire time. Then, she'd finally give in, fall asleep and then the dogs would bark and she'd be wide awake again!  This went on from 6 - 11 p.m.  I think she finally just passed out due to sheer exhaustion! And I was exhausted too!

My mom is away for two weeks and I am realizing just how much she's been a help...a savior...to us in these first six months of parenthood.  When I get home from work, she'll play with Libby so I can get something to eat and get out of my work clothes.  If I give Libby a bath she'll help me get her dried off and dressed.  These "little things" all add up to a tremendous amount of help and also to some balance for me.  She's home in the daytime too and helps J a lot as well.  I always knew that we were incredibly lucky to have her living with us right now, but this time apart just reaffirms it for me.  And I am so grateful that my little girl is developing a very special relationship with her grandma and that my mom is here to help me as I learn to become a mother.

Lately, I have been feeling restless...some things have changed at work and that has led me to reevaluate my path.  It's a good thing, even if it was prompted rather unexpectedly by circumstances beyond my control.  And as I think about our future, I am opening my mind up to all of the possibilities that exist...even the ones I am not even aware of at this moment.  Five years ago I never, in a million years, would have imagined that I'd be married, living in Tulsa with my mom, my husband and our baby.  Never.  So who knows where we'll be in the next five years?  Not me.  I have hopes and dreams, but won't fully know where we'll until we get there.  And that's okay.  A little overwhelming.  But okay none the less.