The Past Two Years

Well, life certainly has a way to keep moving, doesn't it? It's been so long since I've been in this space, and that is pretty indicative of...well, life as of late.

In the past two(ish) years we: got pregnant, Stu got a new job,  bought a house in El Cerrito, moved, completed Grad School, gave birth to Anderson, celebrated Cora's 2nd birthday, turned 30, had 10 months of not sleeping for longer than 2 hours at a time, found essential oils,  had two hospitalizations with Anders,  made significant diet changes for Anders, sold our house in El Cerrito, moved to Pleasant Hill, celebrated Anders' first birthday, started Cora at preschool, celebrated Cora's 3rd birthday, continued to search for the source of Anders' skin and digestive woes, and celebrated Stu's 30th birthday.

To say that these past two years were challenging would be one very large understatement. Stu and I have seen fear and despair in ways we never thought possible and we've come out on the other side (mostly). Cora is kind, joyful, sings and dances her little heart out, and is shy as can be at preschool. Anders is clever, daring, silly, and loves his sister with all his heart. He constantly asks about her when she's at school, and their post preschool reunion makes my heart happy every time.

So, why resurrect this blog now? We're about to embark on a major diet change for Anders called GAPS with the hope that this will heal his gut enough so that his whole body isn't flaring with eczema and he doesn't have such severe allergic reactions to food. I want to document our journey of healing, and because social settings around the Bay are so food-centered, I know isolation will follow as a part of this journey. I'm hoping this will be the place where I can process our struggles and triumphs, and where we can celebrate all of the sacrifices our family (and really, extended families also) will make as a result of these changes.

And so, since Anders has yet to be introduced on this blog. (I hope to go back one day and document what I can remember of his first year. Spoiler alert: It's a lot of crying from everyone, a lot of not-sleeping, and a lot of nursing and cuddles) Here's our family of four.

(Please, don't let the bright eyes fool you. Anders had been sleeping in 45 minute chunks this entire week. But hey, we clean up well, right?)

14 Months Old!

Dear Cordelia,

You are 14 months old now, and I can't believe how much you've grown in the past month! You are starting to look like a little girl rather than a baby, and you understand so much. After the past month and a half of teething, we are finally beginning to see consistent glimpses of the happy, independent, and fun baby you were before teeth started sprouting left and right.

You are crazy amounts of fun right now. You wake up happy and give Daddy and me cuddles in the bed before dropping things behind the headboard and bouncing on the bed. It's so fun to watch you test your physical boundaries. You fall and bounce onto the soft bed and snuggle in close for a brief hug or kiss before you crawl away while looking back to make sure we're going to catch you. These moments, mostly on weekends, are my absolute favorite. You are so happy when we're all together, and I can't blame you.

This month, you are understanding so much more! You give kisses, hugs, and pat-pats, when we ask for them. You crawl to your room when I say it's time to change your diaper, or to the kitchen when I say it's time for a meal or snack. You push your hair out of your face when daddy or I ask you to, and it's so cute. You help me pick up your toys, and you choose which books you want to read when it's time for sleep. You have your favorite pages in books that you get so excited to see, mostly when there are ducks or dinosaurs involved. You blow kisses, play peek-a-boo with your hands at your ears or just covering one eye. Like I said, you're a bundle of fun right now.

Blowing Kisses 

This month, you got all of your molars and canines. Yep. ALL of them. It was a pretty rough month. You wanted to nurse all the time, you didn't want to be put down, and you woke up a lot during the night to cry for a couple of minutes every couple of hours. I'm so thankful that you're done teething for now.

This month, you put those molars to use and began to eat nuts. You are obsessed with cashews and almonds and you love the dried cranberries and raisins that come in my trail mix. You are still such a great eater, you eat SO much, and you're transitioning to more and more table food. You essentially eat what we eat now, so the pressure is on for us to have well-rounded and nutritious meals! You love soup and bone broth, and you will eat veggies if they've been in soup, but you have a hard time otherwise. We're struggling to get you to try most vegetables, so if you do have purees, there's veggies in there. You try everything once though, and you love flavorful foods. You love green curry and my can pack away so much of my spicy spaghetti sauce it's crazy. You love tamales, cheese, taco meat, and tomatoes. You started drinking raw cows milk this month, and you seem to like it, but you prefer my milk and water more than anything.

This month, you are still scooting and crawling. You are getting more and more balanced with standing, but you really have no interest in walking. I'm happy to let you develop at your own pace (like I have a choice, ha!), but you get frustrated when I don't let you crawl around in public places. All I'm saying is, once you start walking, I'll be able to let you down a lot more!

This month, you finally said Mama. Thank you. You have so many other words now also, but none of them matter anymore. Kidding. Your word growth has slowed slightly, but I think that's because you're working on understanding more. You now know how to say, cheese, socks, pat-pat, boo, moo, lalala (from Moo, Baa, Lalala), and I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting. Sometimes Daddy asks for a kiss and you say "No!" and then laugh like it's the most hilarious thing in the world and then give him a huge kiss. It is pretty funny.

This month, you still love your ball track, but your new favorite toys are your shape sorter and your push cart. You still get frustrated by your shape sorter because it's a little hard, but you get it sometimes. You love pushing your push cart all around the house and you love to be pushed as well. Sometimes you even push Daddy.

This month, you love every book, but your favorites are Moo, Baa, La La La, How do I Love You?, You are My I Love You, Barnyard Dance, Baby Galileo Sees the Stars, and Mommies and Babies. Basically, you love any books with animals in them, and you love flipping to your favorite page to find whatever you're looking for.

This month, you still take two naps from 10:45-12:15 and 3:00-4:15, and go down for the night at 7:30 and wake up at 7:30 the next morning. You nurse at least 4 times a day still, sometimes more. You are just about getting too tall for your 12-18 month pants, and you're in 18-24 month onesies, shirts, and dresses but some 12-18 month stuff still fits. It's funny, because you've been in 12-18 month pants since  last July, when you were 7 months old.

Next month, I'm looking forward to heading to the snow with you on our first family trip just the three of us! Maybe you'll walk soon, maybe you won't, it's no big deal. I love seeing you learn about the world around you and watching you begin to understand so much.

Sometimes it feels like and overwhelming responsibility to be entrusted to parent you. You are silly, opinionated, loving, and strong-willed, and you challenge Daddy and me to rely on God's grace everyday as we figure out how to love you best.

We love you more each day, and thanks for finally learning how to say my name.


13 Months Old!

Dear Cordelia,

I've been falling behind on your monthly posts lately for a variety of reasons. I would love to say it's because I'm so busy soaking up how amazingly wonderful you are, but the truth is, you're so busy that you wear me out and I spend nap time cleaning, preparing for dinner, folding laundry, showering, and watching an occasional tv show. You know, the things that you'd rather not let me do when you're awake.

You're worth every moment of not doing what I want though, don't ever doubt that for a moment.

I'm also late writing this and taking these pictures because I have to wait for the weekend so that daddy can be home to place you on the blanket before you scoot over to me and demand to be held. We're working on this separation anxiety, baby girl, we're working on it.

Let's see though, this month you went to go see Santa at Tilden's Winter Wonderland. You rode the merry-go-round like a boss and you really didn't want to be sit in Santa's lap. I can't blame you, I think bearded men are creepy too, but this guy is really nice, so you may want to think of warming up to him for next year.

This month, you helped us pick out a tree and you had fun looking at the lights and pointing at the ornaments. You were shockingly great at just admiring it from a distance.

This month, you celebrated your second Christmas! We drove down to southern CA and you cried for five hours. Five. It was miserable for everyone, but we figured out you were growing some molars, so the ride back up was much more pleasant thanks to some advil. When we were down in Westlake we met up with mommy and daddy's friends, spent time with both sides of our family, and enjoyed watching you explore Nana and Pop's house. We had two Christmases and it took you a little bit to figure out the present-opening business, but once you figured it out, you were unstoppable! You are one very loved little girl.

Playing with Piper!
Trying to get all the cousins in one picture. Chaos. 
This month, you became attached at the hip to Piggy-bear, the stuffed animal that Uncle Scott and Auntie Coco got you for your birthday. You won't go to sleep without it, you won't leave a room without it, and if you see it during a meal, you're all done and ready to go cuddle with it. It's very cute to see you drag along this little piggy wherever you go.

This month, you are beginning to understand so much! You know when you want something and you are not afraid to make that known. You throw fits when you don't get your way, and you now know how to effectively employ the word, "no." Game. Over. 

This month, you learned how to say "poops." I want to be proud, but I would have liked it better if you had learned how to say mama before poops. Honestly, I'm a little offended. Whenever I ask you to say "mama," you look at me with your little smirk and either say "no, no, no" or "dada!" Stinker, you keep me on my toes!

You also know how to say, please (pee-z!), which is also your word for banana. Your other words include: ball, owl, brush (of every kind), dada, book, bath, uh-oh, hello, bye-bye, O-doh (Olive), woof, duck, quack, shoes, and I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting. You give very wide-mouthed, affectionate kisses to both daddy and I, and you love to give hugs complete with pat-pats. You love trying to brush your own hair, trying to put on your hat, and trying to put on your shoes.

This month, you can often be found tugging at my pant legs when I'm preparing your meals, or playing with your ball track that I found on craigslist. Every time we walk into the living room you yell "ball, ball, ball!", squirm out of my arms, and scoot yourself way over to the ball track. You love the red balls the most. You also love playing with your school bus and tractor, and you dance your heart away when they play music. You love to dance.

This month, you have no intention of walking anytime soon, and that's just fine by me.

This month, you went on an egg strike. You typically have an egg every morning for breakfast, and you decided that it wasn't for you anymore. Your favorite foods are avocado (in any form), black beans, banana, pear, blueberries, strawberries, sausage, green beans, carrots, gouda cheese, baby dahl puree, beef marrow puree, japanese sweet potatoes, yogurt bacon, tortilla chips, ground beef, and carnitas. You like anything that has a nice depth of flavor and you reject anything that's too plain. I still can't get you to try broccoli or cauliflower, but I still try.

This month, you still take two naps from 10:45-12:15 and 2:45-4:15, you nurse at least 4 times a day, but you've been asking for more lately, and I'm happy to oblige. You had a nasty cold this month, and I'm thankful that I can still nurse you when you don't feel like eating much.

Poor, sad, teething baby.
This month, you are still in 12-18 month clothes, with some 18-24 month long sleeved onesies and dresses thrown in there for length. You are still on the middle snap of your cloth diapers, and size 4 diapers when we use throw aways. You have have been teething up a storm this month. You have two molars that just popped through, and it looks like the canines are on their way as well. You won't let us get a good look at what's going on in the upper portion of your mouth, but I assume that those are coming soon also.

Next month, I'm looking forward to some quality time with you at home before school starts up again. You are strong-willed, and I'm learning how to set boundaries and stick to them, and you are learning to push them. I hope your teeth either come in or give you a break from the madness though, it's hard seeing you in pain. Next month, I'm excited to see how much more you will understand and how many more words you'll find. I love our morning snuggles, and I hope that we'll continue that tradition! I love watching you grow from this blob of a newborn to this opinionated little scooter of a baby. And, let's be honest, I would call you a toddler, but you have to earn that by walking.

Cora Lynn, I love experiencing life through your eyes. I'm so thankful that I get to be at home with you and spend as much time together as we do. I can't even tell you how much I love you. You wear me out sometimes, but you're worth every moment.

Even when you learn how to say poops, but you still don't say mama.