Four months!

Katherine turned four months about a week ago, and I can’t believe the time has gone as quickly as it has. Everyone talks about how the days are long but the weeks are short, and I completely agree!

With that, let’s talk about the youngest.

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Katherine is a pretty smiley baby. She gives her smiles pretty easily (Mark made us work for them) and she loves to smile at Ryan and Mark the most. Mark loves getting all up in her face and where I think she would reach the point of “This guy needs to back up about five feet”, she just smile and encourages him.

She’s started laughing more this month and is especially ticklish on her belly and the side of her rubs. Blowing on her tummy almost always results in some bursts of giggles.

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I’ve been blessed with her being a good sleeper and eater, even though she’s still only in the third percentile for height and weight (don’t worry, though! her head is in the 75th… she’s got my genes in their somewhere!).

She might be little, but she’s mighty. Katherine is usually pretty relaxed and good about “calling” for us and letting us know when she needs something. But, if we’ve pushed her past her limit. the girl gets HANGRY and will let us know it. Again, my genes in there somewhere. ๐Ÿ™‚

The big, big news in Katherine’s world this week is that she rolled over from her tummy onto her back!

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I didn’t get any pictures of the actual moment (some things you just need to experience with your kids without looking through the lens), but this is the face she made when she was working on rolling a few minutes before:

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That mouth open? Yeah, there are several pictures of me with that face too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Katherine enjoys playing with a few of her toys and enjoys snuggling with her stuffed giraffe and and chewing on her Sophie Giraffe.

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This week, we also went to the Fan Appreciation Night for the Portland Timbers. Katherine got to experience the pitch firsthand. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Start ’em early. ๐Ÿ™‚

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A new role for both of us

Ryan took a new job in the business world, and this week is his first. We’re all really excited for him, but I was a little nervous about being a mom-of-two home with the Littles all day long.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. But, Ryan’s been home for the last twelve weeks since a little after Katherine was born and it’s been great. I haven’t been the only one to change diapers, do dishes, and play Mark’s favorite game of “Let’s go play in my room!” And, to be fair, I’ve heard the horror stories of mothers saying that being a mom-of-two is harder than being a mom-of-five in a lot of ways.

Thus, I’ve braced myself this week with the necessities:
1) Lots of coffee in the morning (okay, okay, ONE cup because breastfeeding) and
2) Something out of the house every day.

So far this week for #2, we’ve trekked to the grocery store, lived it up at Costco, and headed to an awesome brunch put on by the Blessed is She ladies (well, Katherine and I went to the brunch… Mark got to hang out with my sister-in-law and have lots of fun).

Here’s how much fun we had at Costco:

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Mark: “Bird on it! Tweet tweet!” (Also, please appreciate how he’s sitting next to some carbs with a side of carbs.)
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Just so, so excited for life.

Tomorrow? I think we’re going to live dangerously and hit up Ikea or the library.

We know how toย party.

7 Quick Takes from the last three months

I’m working on finishingย Go Set a Watchman and I’ll post my thoughts on it when I’m done, but it’s taking me a little while to digest. More on that to come.

In the meantime, here are seven completely random things in honor of Katherine turning THREE MONTHS OLD! How?! When?! Where did all of the time go?!

1. We went to the zoo a couple of times.ย 

My parents gifted us a zoo membership for the year, and it’s one of the best things! Mark and I went about every month before Katherine was born, and we’ve managed to go a few times since her arrival.

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The penguins were really close and Mark was delighted.
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Beast mode: babywearing and pushing the kiddo up the giant hill.

I know, there are no pictures of the animals at the zoo. But, you know what an elephant looks like, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

2. We dressed up like really cute Cabbage Patch Dolls

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3. We went on a hike when it was really hot outside.ย 

You guys don’t even KNOW how hot.

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“Dada, catch up!”
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We had to smell ALL the flowers.
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Katherine’s there under the little white hat, I promise.

4. We protected the baby from falling off the couch.ย 

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5. We went to the beach with Ryan’s family.

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Sticks are his love language.

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I don’t remember what he was talking about, but he wanted it right THERE.

6. We had some pretty awesome ice cream.ย 

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Kid loves strawberries. Strawberry ice cream blew his MIND.

7. We learned about personal space.ย 

These all happened one after another.

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But, we eventually learned, and now it’s a little more like this:

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She’s still a little wary. Can ย you blame her? ๐Ÿ™‚

Looking for more snippets of other people’s lives? Go here.

Katherine’s Baptism (or: Photo Dump 2 of 2)

Two weeks ago, Katherine (or, Baby Kaferine as Mark likes to call her) was baptized.

It was all of the things it should be.

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Not only did she not cry AT ALL, but she smiled when the water was poured over her head. I think she thought it was bath time.
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Excuse the giant poofy sleeves that are blocking her face (seriously, how did no one tell me?!).
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Us with Ryan’s aunt, mom, and sister.

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Us with my Great Aunt Mary Lu, her friend John, and my mom.
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It was so, so fun to have my cousin, Kim, there! She couldn’t stay long, but it was wonderful to have another Pukstas in attendance!
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Godfather (James — former coworker and friend) and Godmother (Kim — one of my friends from college).
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Okay, so the bonnet isn’t really on the right way (babies are wiggly!), but here she is all holy and stuff! The gown is the one my siblings and I were baptized in and I made the bonnet especially for Katherine. ๐Ÿ™‚
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So peaceful… I’m going to have to revisit these photos when she’s a toddler. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Picture with a little more of the gown in it. I love the eyelet fabric!

So, you’re kind of updated and stuff now. Next up will be some fun stories and Mark quotes from the last month or so. And pictures of a kid eating popsicles. ๐Ÿ™‚

Molly’s graduation (or: Photo Dump 1 of 2)

If you don’t like photos, these next two posts are just SO NOT for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve finally managed to carve out a few minutes without the Tiny Person wanting me all the time (seriously, I love holding her, but my arms do need a break every so often!) and I’ve had a chance to look at, cull through, and work on some photos from the last couple of months.

Today’s post is all about… Molly and her graduation from college! My youngest sister graduated from the University of the Best City Ever (that’s their tagline, not mine) at the end of May. We took all four of us on a plane down to see her graduate and have lots of fun with family and friends.

Without further ado… the photos!

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We’re pretty proud of her!

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T
he whole family. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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Because I totally challenge you to find something cuter at a graduation than a toddler in a cap.
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We hug because we can.
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One of the many benefits of this trip was getting to introduce Katherine (at the ripe age of two weeks!) to so many of my family members. This is Katherine with my mom’s cousin Katy and her boys, Evan and Rowan.

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Evan and Rowan liked Katherine, but they were REALLY excited to play with Mark!
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Mark got his very first taste of Giorgio’s pizza.
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We stayed in this GREAT house not far from the apartment I lived in when I was a baby in San Francisco. We got to take Mark to the park that my dad used to take me to when I was a toddler; even better, Mark’s godfather Mike (who lives in San Francisco) came with us!
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This kid could swing for ever and ever Amen.

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I used to climb and play in these EXACT trees when I was Mark’s age. Much of the rest of the park has changed, but these trees are still there. Okay, no one but me cares about the park. Moving on…
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The graduate and her niece!
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My grandpa and my brother talking about something very deep and important.
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Katherine and her Great Aunt Jane.ย IMG_9612
I love my grandpa! ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_9561
My grandpa and his great-granddaughter!
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Everyone toasting Molly!IMG_9576
Mark loves being scared (is he really my child?) and Nathaniel was only too happy to oblige by jumping out rom behind the door over and over again.ย IMG_9690

One of the other really cool things about the weekend was getting to celebrate three birthdays! Molly’s and my birthdays are a day apart and Laura’s is about two weeks later. I don’t get to celebrate my birthday with my family very often, so getting to see everyone and celebrate their birthdays too was great! ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, photo dump #2 (Katherine’s Baptism!) is coming soon, I promise!

There’s two of them.

One of the things I think most mothers having a second baby worry about is… the first baby. Will the older sibling like the new baby? Will they hate it? Will they try and eat it in the middle of the night?

These were my fears, too. I think I was especially worried because since I started working from home and having more time to spend with Mark, we’d become quite the dynamic duo. He was (and still is) a great sidekick and I didn’t want him to feel like he was being replaced (because, obviously, he’s not).

I was so nervous when Ryan brought Mark to the hospital to meet “the baby” for the first time. What if Mark didn’t like her and tried to push her off the hospital bed while I was holding her? Luckily, Mark was SO excited to meet her and immediately asked “Mark hold the baby?”.

So far, not much has changed. He’s still super in love with her and wants to hold her and kiss her and give her hugs all the time. She’s so little that it’s a little like Lenny fromย Of Mice and Men and I’m a little worried he’s going to squish her with his hugs, but I can’t say no when he wants to show her a little brotherly love.

Mark is also wonderfully helpful with Katherine. “Baby crying”, he’ll tell us (as if we can’t hear her). “Hat fell off” and “It’s okay Baby Katherine” (when she’s upset) are his other favorite phrases.

As I mentioned before, I’m not foolish enough to think these blissful days of sibling love are going to be around forever, but I’m definitely going to enjoy them while they’re here.

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In other news, it’s funny to me how much Katherine is like and not like her brother all at the same time. Mark was very regular in his feeding schedule at this point, and she’s becoming more so now but isn’t nearly the every-three-hours-or-else kind of baby that he was.

One of the more touching things, though, happened the other day when I was done feeding Katherine. After burping, she wiggled herself down to have her head directly over my heart. Mark used to do the same thing when he got up to nurse in the middle of the night.

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Oh, be still my mama-heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

On Family Leave

You may have seen this video circulating all over social media the last few days. It’s from John Oliver’s show, “Last Week Tonight” (it airs on HBO, so fair warning there are a few off-color jokes).

Oliver (mostly) hits the nail on the head. We can’t say that we love mothers and that they deserve all kinds of gratitude and respect when we, as a culture, make it so difficult to carry out the vocation of motherhood.

But, I would take it a step further and say that paid Family Leave is just as important as paid Maternity Leave. I’m writing this post while snuggling a newborn and watching my two-year-old pretend to cook me some eggs using a skillet, a wooden spoon, and some goldfish. Where did he get the idea to cook? From my husband who’s currently making dinner in the kitchen. How does he have time to make dinner? Family Leave.

Now, Ryan doesn’t get paid leave, per se. He’s cleaning out his sick days so he can be home with us. Good thing, too, because I go back to my online teaching job later this weekย after three weeks off. I don’t accrue sick days with my current job, so my leave is mostly unpaid (I did get some pay for doing my lesson plans ahead of time, and for that I am very grateful). If Ryan didn’t have the time off, I’d been sending Katherine to the babysitter with Mark two times per week at the ripe age of three weeks. So, Ryan’s doing a lot of diaper changes, cooking, and playing with Mark; he’ll be taking over even more stuff once I start teaching again. It’s a lot of work, and it’s also one of the reasons it gets my goat when people say he’s “on vacation now!”. Um, no. Work for your family at home is *the* real work — ask any stay-at-home-parent. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes, it is my choice to work (and, it should be noted, to go back to work; my employer was obviously very willing to give me all 12 weeks unpaid if I wanted it), but Iย work because we like our budget to balance — not because I buy expensive clothes or we go on vacations. It would be nice, though, if I didn’t *have* to work during this time with our newborn. It would be nice if American society valued parents and showed it through legislation.

So, until a law gets passed, I’m going to enjoy smelling this little baby head, eating scrambled goldfish from the hands of my two-year old, and being thankful for Ryan’s leave time.

And I’ll leave you with this face:

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7QT: First-two-weeks-with-a-new-baby edition

I can’t even begin to tell you how it’s the most crazy thing of my life that Katherine’s been here for two weeks already! Just like when Mark was born, I find myself thinking that I don’t remember what life was like before her and it seems so natural for her to be part of our family.

What’s the transition been like, you ask? What have the last two weeks entailed. Oh, so much. (You’ll have to excuse the photos because they have not been processed AT ALL.)

1. First family photo

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I just die of happiness every time I look at photos of the four of us.

2. Newborn pics

The fabulous Caitlin of Tales of the Elders was kind enough to take some newborn photos of Katherine and a few of the rest of us as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ You know I’ll be posting them all over everything (the blog, the house) when I get them, so stay tuned!

3. Lots of visitors (both in the hospital and at home)

I can’t possibly include everyone that came to visit us, so here are a few:

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4. Mark turns 2!

Lest we forget the Little Man, he had a birthday and turned 2! We had lots of celebrations (on his actual birthday, the weekend before his birthday when my sister Laura and my dad were in town, a few days after his birthday when we celebrated with some friends, etc.) and he was in a fair way to be spoiled. In fact, I asked him if he wanted some coffee cake with his breakfast this morning and his response was singing “Birthday to you!” over and over again. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The bubble lawn mower was a big hit — here the kids are trying to figure it out.

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This was on his actual birthday with an ice cream cake (excuse the out of order-ness of the photos… wordpress and I got in a fight).

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Ice cream cake is goooood.

 

 

 

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Four kids all two or younger… it was pretty great!

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5. The most beautiul weather

Ryan is on paternity leave right now (hooray!) and the weather has been great for taking Mark outside and letting him dig in the dirt and play ball to his heart’s content.

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6. Remembering all of those things that I forgot about the “Fourth Trimester” the last time around.ย 

There are so many, many things. I forgot how helpful chocolate is for dealing with everything, that my hair would start falling out (I thought that started later? maybe not), that I would feel like a zombie a fair amount of the time, how Ryan is amazing at diaper changes (even in the middle of the night!), how amazing friends and family are for bringing us dinners (yum!), and how sweet baby smiles are.

7. Getting to see Mark as a big brother

It is so sweet to see Mark as a big brother. He’s always asking to hold the baby (he calls her Baby Katherine) or kiss the baby, and he’s sure to let us know when she’s crying, as if we were unaware. ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s been very helpful, too. The other day, she spit up after I fed her and he yelled, “Dripping!” and ran (pat-pat-pat-pat-pat) to his room to grab one of the burp cloths from the drawer and brought it to me. Adorable. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not foolish enough to think the honeymoon phase of his adoration is going to last forever, but I’m certainly going to live it up while I can!

Want to check out other Quick Takes? Head on over here and get your fill!

 

Conversations with Mark

There’s lots that’s been happening over here (parties, birthdays, baby cuteness), but I thought I would post a few of the funnier Mark Conversations we’ve had over the last few weeks.ย 

Mark: Mama, church! (Points at Protestant church.)
Ann: Yeah, buddy that’s a church.
Mark: Priest?
Ann: Well, not every church has a priest.
Mark: Jesus?
Ann: Um, yeah, most churches have Jesus. [This question is a tough one to answer, the more you think about it.]

This is on repeat at least ten times a day.
Mark: Lawnmowers. Ask Dada.
Ann: That’s right, buddy, we’ll have to ask Dada if we’re going to mow the lawn today.
Mark: Lawnmowers loud. Shed. Bugs. Bugs are scary.

Mark: Drops.
Ann: For your eyes, yes.
Mark: Like raining in eyes.

[Ryan walking with Mark to a baseball game at school.]

Mark: Dada hat!
Ryan: Yes, Dada has his baseball hat on. Where’s your hat?
Mark: (grabs head) Oh no!

Mark: Nana! (Banana!)
Ryan: [Takes bite of Mark’s banana before handing it to him.]
Mark: Hey, Mister!

She’s here!

Yes, it’s been awhile, but I promise it’s all worth it. A little over a week ago, I got to see this face for the first time:

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Welcome to the world, Katherine!

Instead of the traditional birth story (I don’t have that kind of energy), I thought I’d give you some bullet points.

  • I still was in denial that I was in labor… even after knowing what it felt like already.
  • I managed to teach for my online classes the day she was born; I kept sitting on the couch and trying not to let contractions happen. When they did, I told the kids that I had a cold (which was true) and that I needed to cough (which might have also been true).
  • Having a cold and coughing whilst contracting is not the most fun I’ve ever had.
  • If you get three veins blown when they’re trying to get your IV started, do not be surprised when you wake up a week later with bruises all over your arms.
  • She came hard and fast — we checked in to the hospital at about 6:30pm and she was born around 2am.
  • Katherine was so tiny, it only took one push to get her out (I know, I know, hate me all you want).
  • Changing into your own clothes is essential after giving birth.
  • Hospital visitors are awesome. People who bring dinners and let me sit down for a little while are awesome. Having your mom be willing to help take care of you and your kids for a week is awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

There’s no way that I could possibly update you on everything that’s happened here in the last week, but I will say that Mark is mostly handling things like a champ. He has his moments (what two year old doesn’t?), but he’s incredibly loving toward Katherine and wants to give her hugs and kisses and says, “I hold the baby?” all the time. It’s the most wonderful, touching thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not foolish enough to think that this kind of peace will reign here forever, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it while it lasts.

With that, I need to go and figure out about a thousand things and make some lists and straighten up a little to get ready for Mark’s second birthday (WHAT) tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, I might snuggle the litle baby, too. ๐Ÿ™‚