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Monthly Drum Photo - Eleven

Last weekend Drum turned 11 months. I know time always flies and it shouldn’t be a surprise anymore, but when I think back on some things, it’s just so hard to fathom.

11 months final

Isn't he so sweet?


Mosie on the left, Drummy on the right.

Two years ago I was pregnant and waiting to confirm that I was miscarrying. It was a very dark time, one that still hurts my heart when I reflect on it.

One year ago I was 36 weeks pregnant, preparing to have a baby very soon. That alone is an incredible contratt: one year pregnant, miscarrying, and devastated; the next year on the verge of birthing a beautiful, healthy baby.

And now, another year later, I’ve got a big, bustling, boisterous baby boy who is less than a month from turning one.

In so many ways, I feel like the devastation of that miscarriage is still so fresh, as if it happened yesterday. And yet it has been two years and so much has changed. Life blows my mind.


Drum hasn’t had any huge leaps in the last month like he did in previous months. He’s still crawling (and he’s really fast!), pulling up agilely on furniture, cruising around said furniture, and climbing over everything (I swear he goes out of his way to crawl over something – if the direct path to his destination is wide open, he’ll go another way if it means he can climb over an obstacle, like a person, along the way). He is very strong on his feet when he has at least one hand holding something, but he doesn’t stand on his own for more than a second or two. And he’s definitely not walking. He can take some steps behind his push toy, but isn't often interested in that. Walking seems to be this big milestone everyone asks about, but I don’t expect Drum to walk for a couple months. Mo was 13.5 months, and they’ve been pretty on par with each other for gross motor skill development.


His fine motor skills are also great. He can pick up the smallest of things, and he’s really good at feeding himself. I remember it took Mo awhile to figure out finger foods – not because she couldn’t pick up the food but because she didn’t want to. Drum loves to feed himself. We still give him purees if we need a quick snack packed with nutrients, but eats a lot of table foods and loves almost all of it.

He has pretty much stopped drinking milk at daycare. There was a whole thing at daycare regarding breast milk again. If you’ve followed along long enough, you may remember the milk drama we had with Mo at the same daycare. This time, the provider told me that after a child turns one, she can no longer provide breast milk without a medical reason. Without even checking, I know that’s bullshit, so I did a little research (don’t mess with me – I will find FACTS!) and sure enough, breast milk is an acceptable substitute for cow’s milk and doesn’t need a doctor’s note, and the provider can still be reimbursed for the full meal as part of the federal food program. But even though I won that battle, Drum has decided to boycott milk at daycare altogether. They’ve tried it warm, cold, in a bottle, in a cup. He’s not interested. He still loves to nurse, and he’ll take a bottle at home when I’m gone, but not at daycare. So now I have a freezer full of milk and nobody wants it. (I’ve looked into donating it, but I’m on an anti-anxiety medication and I think that disqualifies me. Maybe sell it?)


Drum continues to be a stellar sleeper. How I got two such amazing sleepers, I do not know. He still often naps three times a day, and then sleeps all night. He goes down with no problem, and waits patiently for us after he wakes up.

He still does not talk at all. Well, that’s not true. He babbles a ton and makes lots of vocal noises, but he doesn’t use any words intentionally. I claimed his first word as Mama in a previous post, but he hasn’t called me that since, so… He’s also not waving. That one seems a little strange to me. It seems like something in the same category as clapping, which he’s been doing forever. We’ve also been half-heartedly using some sign language with him, but he hasn’t picked up on any of that either.

Mo and Drum 2016 mall breakfast instagram

At the end of September, we went on a family vacation. Nothing big, but we rented a house from a friend on Lake Michigan with my sister and her family. Their kids are the same ages as ours, so it made a lot of sense. It was a much needed week away from life. The house was beautiful and comfortable with plenty of space for all of us, and even though the weather wasn’t great, it was great enough. There were a couple days of crazy winds – like you couldn’t even go outside for more than a few minutes – and those days were a little rough. The kids got sick of being inside and we got sick of them being inside. But the rest of the time it was nice enough to sit at the beach and do lots of other fun things. Drum couldn’t participate in everything the same way the other kids could, but he hung out happily in the baby carrier like a champ.


I love my little boo bear!


Mo's first day of preschool

Yesterday I had a baby girl. Today she went to preschool. My baby went to preschool. WHAT?!


Mo has been in the same daycare since she was a baby - she has never gone anywhere else - so it was a really big deal to send her to a new place. And it's not just a part-time preschool situation. She goes to all-day, everyday preschool with extended care. Every day she'll arrive around 7:15 and stay until around 5:00 most days. The majority of that is in an actual preschool classroom, only the early morning and late afternoon is "extended care." So this is a big deal.

I had to drop her off this morning at a new place where she had never been (except one brief school visit), and where she didn't know anybody, and she had to stay there all day. I was nervous and so was she, just a little, but I'm so happy to say it went great. Really great.

When we got there, she rushed toward the building, pulling me behind her. But when we approached the entrance, she suddenly looked at me and said, "Mommy, will you carry me?" I told her I'd hold her hand the whole way. In the office, she hid behind me, but as we walked to her classroom, she found some courage. In her classroom, one of her teachers asked if she could find her hook and cubby, which she easily identified by finding her name. We hung her backpack, then turned to check out the room. There were only a few other kids there at that time, and they were eating breakfast. Mo had eaten at home, so she only wanted juice. While they got her some OJ, I gave her a big hug and kiss, told her I loved her and was proud of her, then got her settled in a chair. She was quiet, but brave. She didn't cry or even ask me to stay. So I left and watched her from the hall for a minute. My heart was so full of emotion as I watched her sit there, so unsure but so brave, taking it all in. I knew she would be fine.


See her sitting there? I took this from the hallway.

When I picked her up later, I walked in to find her playing with some toys. She ran to my arms, and her teachers told me she had a great day. They said she was "so sweet" and told me that she earned three stickers for good behavior. In fact, she earned the first sticker of the whole class because early in the day she picked up her toys without having to be asked. 

At first Mo was a motor of words, telling me about everything she did - the library, the gym, toys, books, food, nap. I took it all in with a smile. The teachers said she ate great and napped great, and that she played a lot with one little girl in particular. 

On the way home, she was very talkative, which I'm so glad for. I was worried she'd be emotionally exhausted and uninterested in sharing about her day, but she had lots to say. I asked her if she wanted to go back tomorrow. Yes! I asked her if she liked preschool better than daycare. Yes!

I'm so proud. I'm SO proud, you guys! I'm really glad we made the decision to do preschool this year. We had to make some sacrifices to make it happen - it's more expensive and logistically complicated - but she has shown me that it was the right choice and so worth it. 



Monthly Drum Photo - Ten

Look at that, my baby is 10 months old. I flipped my calendar at work and there was this tiny little newborn baby. I hardly recognized him. Every says it - time flies! - but damn if it isn't true.

10 months final


In the last month Drum has perfected his crawling technique. A month ago, in a journal I keep for him, I jotted down that he was still working on his technique. I can hardly believe that was only a month ago because now he's darting around like he's been doing it his whole life. He pulls himself up on furniture (and people) with ease, and he's even been standing for a couple seconds on his own. 

We built what we call "Baby Wall" in the space that separates our living room from the rest of the house. We did the same thing when Mo was his age. It's just a variety of low-lying furniture that we can easily step over (and Mo can now climb over), but that keeps the baby contained. However, said baby has managed to escape Baby Wall numerous times. He has crawled over (and even under) different obstacles, he has nudged things out of his way and squeezed through small spaces, and once he pushed our ottoman on wheels while walking behind it. Once he escapes, he heads straight for the cat food and helps himself to a snack while dumping the cat's water all over the floor. Pretty soon we'll have to erect a fence in our house!

Drum escape baby wall

Drummy does a great job feeding himself and drinking from a sippy cup. He grew a second tooth - on the bottom. He loves his mama, and if he gets home before me (with Dad or Grandma), he immediately gets agitated when I walk in the house. He wants me NOW! He loves to attack the cat, though I think he's doing it out of love. But his love is expressed by flinging himself on top of Oberon and gnawing on his fur, or sometimes grabbing his tail and trying to take a bite. He enjoys taking a bath with his sister. For a brief moment he didn't like baths, but now that he can sit on his own and move around a bit in the water, he loves it.

Drum hair mohawk closeup

He has been babbling a bit. Ma, na, da, ga, ba. The other day he was babbling and making the "ma" sound, and Mike said, "Where is your mama?" and I stepped into view and Drum said, "Mama!" It may have been an accident, but I'm claiming it and counting it as his first word.

One of my favorite moments in the last month is when we were at the beach on Lake Michigan. I was holding Drum and sat down right where the waves were breaking on the shore. He laid on my chest, rested his head on my shoulder, reached around to play with my hair, and we closed his eyes. He didn't fall asleep, but we sat there quietly, listening to the waves for a long time. It was such a special moment and I never want to forget it.



Monthly Drum Photo - Nine

It only took me over three weeks to write about Drum at 9 months. Pretty soon he'll be 10 months! Nine months was a big one because it marked the point where he was outside of me as long as he was inside of me. I can't decide - do they go through more changes and developments in their 9 months in utero or in the first 9 months they're out here? It's gotta be inside right? I mean they go from a single cell to a BABY! But still, he has changed astoundingly in his 9 months on the outside, too.

9 months final

9 months mo drum

He wasn't too thrilled about his photo shoot this month, and by the time I got out my phone to take a picture for the comparison to Mo (I take the rest on my "real" camera), he was over it.

He remains bigger than Mo was at his age, both in length and weight. At nine months, he was one pound and eleven ounces bigger, and an inch and a half longer. But Mo had more teeth (four to Drum's two), more hair, and more eyebrow game. She was definitely more squat than he is. He's big but not chunky - he's long and lean. In fact, he was in the 95th percentile for length but only 53rd for weight. Really though, he hasn't grown much in the last few months. At seven months he was already 20 lbs 8 oz, and 30 inches. He went from newborn clothes to size 12 months in about 6 months, then he kind of plateaued.

Mo and Drum 2016 hug cuddle

This was a big month for developments! He also said "mama" for the first time (though I think it was an accident and he has only repeated it once), grew his second tooth, learned to use a sippy cup, figured out how to go from a seated position to his tummy, then later from his tummy or all fours to seated. He also started cruising on furniture a little bit and taking a few tentative steps while holding onto our hands.

Drum standing

Then he started really moving! He first learned to army crawl and got around that way for awhile, then about a week before 9 months, he started to really crawl. He was still perfecting his technique, but now (closing in on 10 months) and he's a crawling machine. He also loves to climb around on things, especially his dad when Mike lays on the floor. Drum's like, "Oh a giant obstacle, no problem!" and figures out how to crawl right over.

Drum crawl push up

He still goes by Bro in our house most of the time, he still loves to pull Mo's hair, and he still hates when we wipe his nose. Like, HAAAATES IT! He gets violent if we get anywhere near his nose, flailing his head back and forth so swiftly that we have to basically pin him down to wipe away the snot. He has ticklish thighs and that's the fastest way to elicit a hearty laugh.

Drum close up blue eyes

Look at those baby blues!

His favorite place in the world is in a specific position on my chest. He lays his head on my left shoulder, facing out. He wraps his left arm around my neck to play with my hair, sucks his bottom lip, and either rests his right arm on my left or plays rubs his head. If he's fussy, I just pick him up and he immediately goes into that position. Before I lay him down, we hug that way for a long time. He does something similar to comfort himself if he can't get to me - like if I'm changing his diaper and he decides he hates it. He'll suck his bottom lip and reach one or both hands up to rub his head. It's so sweet and such an innocent gesture. 

Drum suck lip touch head hair

We're having so much fun right now! I'm eager to see what's coming next, but also desperate to hold onto every single second while it lasts.

Mom and Drum 2016 instagram


Look at our lives: it's crazy, but it's fun!

I've had a lot of thoughts running through my mind lately, things about life. Naturally. I've been jotting down some of these thoughts in my phone thinking some day I'll craft a blog post that pulls them all together beautifully. That's probably not going to happen, so instead I'm going to write down a bunch of words just to get them out of my head, off my phone, and onto the internet!

All my rambling thoughts have something to do with where I am in life right now. I have two young kids, I have a career that includes a new job in the last few months, and I have a great partner in the whole thing. Lately I've found myself in a number of conversations that start with "So how are things going?" and lead to me saying some form of "Life is so crazy right now. It's ridiculous. It's, like, laughably crazy. We have so many balls in the air and we're dropping them daily. But it's also so much fun. It's pretty amazing actually."

This is such a chaotic phase of life. It's a time when the kids need just about everything from us and contribute almost nothing (nothing practical at least - they provide plenty of love and laughs). We both have full-time careers, and on top of the requirements of demanding jobs, we are two people taking care of the needs of four people. And while we are doing fine financially, we're still early enough in our careers to not actually make great money. We make enough to pay the mortgage and buy the essentials and put our kids in daycare, but we don't make enough to pay for any other help. Our one splurge is a plow service for the driveway in the winter, but otherwise we do all the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, yard work, etc. So our days are packed full, and our house is a mess, and we don't eat great, and our lawn hasn't been mowed in weeks. And rather than help empty the dishwasher or clean the bathrooms, our kids spill yogurt all over the couch even though we've told them yogurt is to be eaten at the table a million times! And rather than clean up the yogurt they've spilled, they get a towel (without being asked, so good job on that!) and smear it around and make it worse. And then the other kid decides to grow a tooth and only wants to be held while we try to clean up the smeared around couch yogurt, all while trying to get the first kid to please stop doing somersaults and go put your shoes on and the baby somehow got out of your arms and army crawled his way to the end table where he's chewing on a cord. And now I need to change my pants because I have yogurt all over them, and what is this green stuff on me, and it's not even 7:00am yet!

Yes, life is crazy. Someday our kids will be able to contribute more, and maybe we'll make more money and be able to hire someone to mow the lawn more than twice a year. But I'm not in a big hurry to get to those days because it will mean our kids are grown. My grandma (Hi Gram!) told me that when her kids were young, it was the best time of her life. They didn't have a lot of money and it was a bit chaotic, but it was the happiest time. And that's how I feel, too. It's crazytown, but we're happy and we're having fun. Mike and I often turn to each other and say, "Look at our lives." This is usually when, for instance, all the cushions from all the furniture are pulled out and spread around the living room, and we're both laying on the floor, surrounded by cushions and toys while our three year old jumps over and around us, making an obstacle course of the furniture and our bodies, and the baby, who is learning to crawl, is climbing all over my face and pulling my hair, and we're all laughing hysterically.

Look at our lives.

Life is crazy isn't it?

Yes, but it's fun!

And as if it wasn't crazy enough, I started a new job in early May. I had just gotten back to work after maternity leave when an opportunity came up that was pretty unique and wouldn't likely come around again for awhile. It would mean a commute, and it would mean some travel, and it didn't even pay that great. But it was a chance to use my skills and knowledge in a new way, and I was feeling pretty uninspired at the current job, so I went for it. It felt crazy at the time because we were just figuring out a new normal with two kids, but it also felt exciting.

As I was preparing to leave, a young woman who worked for me said, "I think it's really impressive you're doing this. You're a great role model for women, to show them that your career doesn't have to stall out when you have kids."

I took that as a huge compliment. I don't think there is anything wrong with putting a career on hold or slowing down when you have kids, but one thing I, personally, strive to do well is figure out how to be a good mom and have a career I enjoy. I'm not a corporate ladder climber (I've always worked in nonprofits and have so far been happy in middle management positions), but I do want to have an energizing career doing something I enjoy and am good at. Taking a new job 6 months after having my second child was not about climbing to the top, but it was about making my career, and my identity as a person with a career, a priority. 

Have I found a way to perfectly balance career and family? Not at all. I never feel like I can give 100% to being a mom or to my job, and that is why life feels so crazy right now. But I do think I do a pretty good job of figuring it out along the way. Starting a new job has reinvigorated me like a shot of B12 to my life. It has challenged me and jump started different parts of my brain, and I love that feeling. 

When talking about working mothers, people talk a lot about missing out on precious time with their kids. And yes, I do feel like I miss out on time with them. But what I think is too often absent from the conversation is what I would be missing out on if I didn't work right now. Having a career - a job I enjoy - is an important part of my identity, just as much as being a mother is. If I didn't work, I would be missing out on time at work. Duh. I would be missing out on the opportunity to do certain things I'm good at, things I enjoy, things I get a lot of satisfaction out of. That, I believe, is just as important as time with my kids. Which is why I do both. I work and get a great deal of satisfaction out of doing so, then I come home and be with my kids, which I get great deal of satisfaction out of, as well.

The phrase "working makes me a better mom" gets tossed around a lot, and that's because, for some of us, it's true. I used to say it and what I meant was that working, being away from my kids, allowed me to be more present and truly appreciate the time when I was with them. That is still true. But I've also started to understand that working makes me a better mom because it makes me a whole person (note: that's true for me, but it doens't mean it has to be true for everyone). I'm happier when I'm a whole person, and that is a good thing for my kids. Working mom = happy mom = better mom for my kids.

Recently my sister told me that her son was telling a fictional story, and in his story, she, my sister, was always at work. This broke my sister's heart because it suggested that in her son's mind, mom was always gone at work. I understand how that might be hard to hear because moms want to be the heros of their kids' fantasies. We want to be fighting the bad guys with them or riding all the animals in the jungle with them or whatever. We don't want to be at work when all these cool things are happening! But when she told me about this, what I heard was not "My mommy goes to work and I hate it!" I heard "My mommy goes to work." He doesn't hate it, it's just life. He's three. And as he gets older, I don't think he'll resent her for going to work. I think he'll be learning what it looks like to have a mom who is not just a great mother, but also is really good at other things. My sister rocks at her job. He's going to know that.

It's true for me and my kids too. By watching my example, they will know what it looks like to be really good at something and have a successful career that one loves, while also being a kick ass mom. I'm proud to set that example for them. Even if it means I'm sometimes "at work" while they're conquering castles or flying through clouds.

I don't mean to glorify working motherhood. It's hard. Sometimes I wonder why I do it (other than I kind of have to if we want to eat...), but it also makes me happy. The craziness makes me happy because it's all good things. I have a job I enjoy and one that I'm good at; I have kids that fill my heart with so much love; and I have a husband who navigates the crazy and is willing to laugh at the chaos with me.

I hope I can always say that even though things are nuts, we're having fun. And just in case I can't, I'm very thankful for this phase of my life. It's the best so far.

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