Life as a queen in a land of many kings…

Talia May Turns 1 Today!


My niece, Talia, celebrates her first birthday today!   Talia, what a joy you are!  One year ago, we all waited with anticipation to hear about your birth.  You arrived on your due date, and after nine months of waiting, we were all so excited to meet you.  My parents were so proud to take on their new role as grandparents.  You were the first of many good things–the first grandchild, the first girl, and Westin’s first playmate.  How lucky he is to have a friend in you!


It has brought us so much happiness to watch you grow.  In such a short time you’ve gone from a 7 lb 12 oz baby girl to a wide-eyed, chipmunk-toothed, crawling, talking bundle of fun!   Already you can tell us that a cow says “moo” and an owl says “who.”  I can’t wait to see all the other things you learn.  I have enjoyed your kisses, your dance moves, your wild smiles, and your squeals of happiness.  You’ve shown me just how special it is to be an aunt.  Watching you play and interact with Westin has sometimes made me laugh that genuine, happy kind of laugh that just feels good.  I hope we can laugh like that together some day.


Talia, after you were born, your mommy told me she missed seeing her poppies bloom while she was at the hospital.  I knew then that despite her disappointment, those poppies really don’t matter anymore.  You’re her poppy now, her most favorite flower of all.  She can watch you blossom and bloom throughout all the seasons.  You won’t wilt, you won’t fade–your vibrance will bring us cheer always.   GROW…show us what a beautiful little flower you are.


This weekend, I so look forward to gathering with our family to celebrate YOU!  What a happy occasion it will be to share in your smiles and dream of new dreams for the year ahead.  You are so loved, baby girl, and I hope you feel the warmth of that love every time we’re together.  Your mommy, daddy, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and more–we’re here for you.  Let our love be your comfort, your guide.  Let it build you up into a confident and independent little girl.  The world is yours!


Happy Birthday!  We love you!!!

XOXO with love and giggles

~ Auntie, Uncle Matt, and Westin

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Even My Bad Days Are Good


Lately I’ve been feeling resentful about being a working mom.   We don’t have a big house.  We don’t drive new cars.  We don’t go on lavish vacations.  We live a simple life (one I’m proud of!), yet it takes two full-time incomes for us to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.  I always knew it would be this way, but I can’t help but feel frustrated that I’m gone 10.5 hours a day while someone else enjoys the pleasure of my son’s company.


I’m proud to earn an honest living, and I understand the benefits of being able to provide for our family.  But I’d give it up in an instant if given the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mommy.  I’m grateful to get every other Friday off work, but I’m always so backed up with chores and errands that I spend the day playing catch up–it’s never the free day to spend with Westin like I wish for it to be.  The rest of the weekend usually passes by as a blur, and I’m left experiencing this continual disappointment over how little quality time I get with him.


But it goes beyond that.  Right now, I blame the fact that I’m a working mom for everything.  It’s the reason I have to pay $45 a week to put gas in my car.  It’s the reason Westin’s 6-month portraits have yet to be framed and proudly showcased on the wall.  It’s the reason my husband and I haven’t had the time to sit down together to plan a much-needed vacation.  It’s the reason I miss out on sunny days outside with my baby.  It’s the reason frequent nighttime feedings are so frustrating–I wouldn’t care if I still had the prospect of sleeping in or napping like when I was on maternity leave.  And of course it’s the reason my house is never clean.


Maybe I’m just making excuses.  Maybe I just have a case of “the grass is greener.”  But undoubtedly life would be so different if I had the joy of being a stay-at-home mom.  I know the reality of it is probably far from what I imagine.  I know my house would still be dirty because my desk job would be replaced with the challenge of entertaining my baby all day.  I know the financial strain would cause problems in my marriage.  But still I like to wonder, “What if?”  Because as one of my stay-at-home mom friends recently explained it, even the worst day at home is better than the best day at work.


Thankfully, working mom or not, the joys of motherhood still abound.  Suddenly we’re the parents of a seven-and-a-half-month-old baby boy!  At his recent check up, Westin weighed 16 lbs 3 oz (11%) and was 27.5 in (64%) tall.  The doctor estimates he might grow up to be about 5’10” (surpassing me and Matt) and assured me Westin’s weight is quite healthy despite being low compared to others his age.  I was never concerned since he has the iconic fat baby thighs, ankle rolls, and wrist folds to love–he’s just lean everywhere else!


Westin is now wearing size 3 diapers and size 6-9 month clothing.  When I first unpacked his new wardrobe, I thought for sure everything would be too big.  It fit perfectly.  In fact, in just a few weeks, it seems he is already outgrowing some of his 9-month sleepers length wise.  I look at him lying in his crib and just can’t believe how tall he has gotten.  His proportions are becoming more like a little boy than a baby.


Westin now “eats” (translation: spits out) a variety of pureed baby foods–one meal in the morning and one in the evening.  His appetite seems to match his size because he only eats about 1/2 to 1 oz each sitting.  He has tried peas, green beans, avocado, sweet potatoes, squash, prunes, apples, pears, peaches, and bananas.  We’ve also given him yogurt melts, but we’ve found that Morgan enjoys eating them much more than he does.  We also recently introduced Westin to a soft-spout sippy cup.  He’s very excited and curious about it but can only drink from it with assistance.  If he holds it on his own, he either uses the handle as a teether or tries to position it in his mouth like a bottle or with the spout upside down.  All part of the learning process!  He has drank both milk and water from it (water is a first),  but milk is of course his favorite!


Westin is mostly quiet and observant, but sometimes he gets in these wild fits that we just love.  Something snaps, and suddenly he is a different boy.  He shrieks with happiness.  He raises his eyebrows.  He bangs toys.  He stands up straight in his jumper.  We tell him, “Oh my goodness!” and “You’re so silly!” and sometimes “What a crazy boy!” in response to his yells.  The laughter it inspires is uncontrollable.  It’s a joy to watch him explore the world and have fun in the process!


Westin now rolls over with ease.  He can roll both ways, but he prefers rolling back to belly.  When I lay him down on his back, he instantly rolls over to practice striking a Superman pose or planking.  No signs of crawling just yet (and still no teeth–everyone keeps asking).  He also recently started sitting unassisted, and it has been so fun watching him interact with his toys now that he can actually sit and play.  It gives me a small break to get things done and know that he’ll be content.  Matt is loving all the new activity and feels more comfortable caring for Westin now that he is so easy to interact with.


We limit TV time, but on the rare occasion we let Westin watch, he voices his approval for Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with small giggles.  (Inevitably, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song gets stuck in my head for a few days.  Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog!)  He also strains his neck to catch a glimpse of whatever TV shows we might have playing in the background, and he is fascinated by the computer screen and my cell phone.  I think he has tried to send a few text messages to his grandma.  He and Matt are already fighting over the TV remote too.  In an attempt to chew on it, Westin has changed the channel, turned the TV off, and muted the sound.


Westin LOVES Morgan.  Seeing how he adores that dog as much as I do melts my heart!  He follows him with his eyes wherever he goes but particularly loves watching him run through the room or play with a toy.  The result is usually wide, curious eyes and smiles.  Sometimes just watching him wag his tail is enough to make Westin happy.  He giggles at the sight of Morgan the same way he does his TV shows.  He pets Morgan, pulls his hair, and sometimes shares his leftover food, whether strewn on the floor or stuck in between his little fingers.  I tell Morgan all the time that he has a new buddy…he just doesn’t know it yet.  By the time Westin is walking and throwing toys and offering up his ice cream cone, I think Morgan will understand the value of our little man.


Bath time remains a fun event in our house.  The kicks and splashes get bigger and bigger, and the smiles are always heartwarming.  Those wild, happy shrieks I mentioned usually accompany bath time (and diaper changes too).  When the fun is over, I dry Westin off, slather him with lotion, get him dressed and warm, and then show him his clean, handsome self in the mirror.  This always makes him smile–apparently he finds himself as cute as the rest of us!


Bedtime has been more of a challenge lately.  My once-good sleeper is going to bed later, waking more frequently, and having a harder time going back to sleep.  We have some really good nights, some really bad nights (with 2 a.m. play times!), and some nights that are just so-so.  We’re not really sure of the reason for this change, but we’re hopeful it’s just a phase!  In the meantime, mommy and daddy are feeling a little more tired.  Mommy especially.


I realize after writing this that the good in life still far outweighs the bad.  And I know there are so many other mommies out there sharing my frustrations, living my joys, and trying to find that perfect (maybe unobtainable) balance.  I know that wading through the challenges will make us stronger, and I know the good moments will continue to push us through all the rest.  And if we’re really lucky, we’ll get a few naps along the way!  (Please, I could really use one right now.)