So my sister-in-law sent an email today saying that the package [that I hoped contained Puppy] had arrived in Seattle and Puppy was not there.  The stomach ache that began when I saw her message in the inbox went even deeper. I can't express how sad it has been these last few days not knowing where Puppy was.  She would randomly ask "Bapa?" during the day and I would just reply "bye-bye" and divert her attention - we even started the code name Doug around her so she wouldn't hear us and start thinking about him.  I tried to get her to think Vera's old Monkey was what she wanted - she did start to fall for it which made me feel badly for some reason.  She had a hard time going to sleep and staying asleep - I'd hear her calling for "Bapa" in the middle of the night - so so very sad.

So anyway, I went downstairs to tell Ben the email, and to have him go in and rock Edie who was having a hard time going to sleep - and I told him to just pray.  He went in and I looked through his recycling box praying fervently.  I looked in a box on an ottoman under his table that I'd already checked and then behind it. and there was Puppy's little head poking out!!!!!  I couldn't believe it!!  THANKYOUJESUS!!!  I ran in and gave him to Edie and rocked her a bit telling her Puppy is back! Hi Puppy!!  Poor thing looked a little confused but started sucking her thumb immediately as tears streamed down my face.  Ben went to tell Vera who also teared up.  Seriously this little family loves their lovies :)

You should hear some of Ben's family lost-lovey stories!


*14 meses

Little Edie is 14 months!  Thinking back to where we were a year ago - Ben in New York on a research trip and me reaching breaking point late into the night with a colicky baby...  whew, anyway now she is a little joy. A feisty adorable little bug of a girl.  She walks around the house calling Mama? all day. Mama?  Mama? Mama?  Then when she sees me she quickly toddles over with her arms in the air and buries her head in my knees - I love it.  She and Vera also have a lot of fun playing getcha behind the couch, tickling each other, getting pushed in boxes, looking at books - it makes me so happy. 

Right now she loves shoes, cheese, Puppy ['Baba', who for the first time was nowhere to be found at bedtime. We have looked everywhere. I think he may be in the package I sent off to Seattle today :( ], emptying the dishwasher with me, Baby Signing Time [she's only even seen it like 5 times, but it is just so cute to watch her watch it: her little clasped hands, anticipation, pointing, smiling... aaaahh it's so cute], Brown Bear Brown Bear, babies, her sister, Tia [she shrieks and kicks her legs if she thinks we're going over there]... what else. She loves markers.  It's hard to keep those things away from the second child!!  She has words and/or signs for milk, apple, more, all-done, water, bird, fish, cheese, shoes, diaper [she'll tell me when she's gone poop - once right before she went! yes it's silly that I think that's pretty amazing], baby, book and of course Puppy, Vera, Daddy + Mama.  She seems less fearful of things than I remember Vera being - though she is scared of the doorbell which is kind of funny - really the only thing that freaks her out. She cries in fear and scrambles for me to hold her, little sweetie.

Anyway I really should be getting to bed.  I have a feeling I may be up several times when she realizes again that Puppy isn't with her :(  On a sweet note - Vera gets extremely concerned and even teary for poor Puppy and how sad Edie must be.

This is the usual "I'm ready for bed" position. Puppy against her cheek, left thumb in her mouth.

That's me under the covers getting a morning hug:

Looking at the fun wallpaper at the Rose Establishment. Yummy coffee and treats, beautiful space if you haven't been there yet:

bundled up and ready to go caroling with our church:

playing with playdough for the first time: 


*first born

I'm really loving the stage Vera is in.  We had an extremely rough patch there back in August - I thought a grumbling, stomping, screaming b-r-a-t with a stinky attitude had come to stay.  I literally thought we were done - our child had already become a teenager and a very difficult one at that.  Thankfully it passed - as all these phases do.  She's not without her problems now, but she's calmed down and is growing.  "I love to clean up!" and "I don't have fits anymore ever" are her favorite things to declare - we've talked a lot about showing these things instead of just saying them :)  We've always talked a lot about behavior and about how you show God that you love Him and are thankful for what He does.  The other day we played that game in the car, naming things to see if they show love or not - she's a pretty smart little girl.  Who's as stubborn as I was :)  

ANYway.  I love this stage now where she still has that playful, creative silliness. She's not embarrassed and has never thought something was too "babyish" to play.  Jenny and I were talking, wondering when that starts... 5 or 6? 

She always has "ideas!"  Here she tied a little boat behind the mouse to pull some animals in, pulled both her superhero and sleeping mask over her eyes and scooted off.

finishing her cards for the candycane playdough we made for our neighbors:

her performance of "the queen of the snowflake."  I wish I could have tape recorded our bedtime conversation with her still in character, it was incredibly ridiculous.

She kept looking for Chip and Dale in the Christmas tree [you've seen the old short of them in Donald Duck's tree??]. She was sure she'd found their little home in there.

    she is such a good big sister!                                              


*a long post that doesn't stay on topic


It's been a long week.  I am overwhelmed. I know everyone else is too, but I guess I'll be the first to express it :)  I think for the first time we are over-scheduled: I am racing to get somewhere and back and in time to put Edie down and to work and finding a time to sit and nurse and kind-of clean our house and feed everyone and wash diapers and clothes and shower and try to be super-creative crafty Christmas mom every--single--day.  It hasn't been working!!!

My friend Jenny wrote about it -and it's been on my mind lately too- a talk a lovely woman made at the mom's group I attend.  She is a nurse-midwife and came to talk about our emotional health - about the need for moms to sit and tend to their children directly, about their need to be with other women sharing and giving counsel and friendship.  That's one reason I feel I've over-scheduled a bit, is that I never ever miss an opportunity to spend time with friends [a philosophy I've held since college: relationships above studying for a test or starting a silly paper].  I talked about it a while ago, but I really felt pretty depressed during Edie's first 4 months, experiencing all sorts of awful feelings. I can tell you though that if a friend stopped by, or we went to someone's house, those feelings vanished.  This lady at the mom's group, Claudia, shared that women's oxytocin levels actually rise when they are with other women, and I can see exactly what she means!  Another way our oxytocin levels are high is when we tend to our children - as in holding them, cuddling with them, touching them, feeding them.  Last week I had a very ambitious list of things to get done while Vera was in preschool.  I didn't end up getting a single thing done because Edie wanted to sit in my lap and read Brown Bear, Brown Bear over and over and over. For like two hours, give or take a snack and a diaper change and heating up my yerba mate.  I kind of wanted to get to that list, yet it felt pretty nice to just sit on the floor with my sweet growing baby in my lap, kissing the top of her cute little head. The next day at the mom's group I learned that there is a physical, hormonal reason that it felt so good!  God is truly amazing to have designed us in such beautiful ways.


Anyway.  So an overwhelming week with all that tending/befriending on my mind [read Jenny's post - always so well-written and just right].  However, today was wonderful.  Fairly unrelated to the previous two paragraphs, because my good day was really due to two other things: 1) Ben took Edie on errands both before and after her nap, and 2) because I didn't race anywhere [or even step foot outside the house] until like 4pm.  Seriously, those of you who live near parents or in-laws should never take it for granted!!!  If I could just have my mom or Rosie take the girls on an outing for an hour a week, I could get so much done.  I'm really grateful Ben could take a little break today and I could organize some things and finish some projects that I had half-assedly started here and there.  There is some blog-venting for you.  Now here are some pictures. They don't quite capture the week, because they actually look quite peaceful:


Edie likes to scoot her little bottom up to the couch when she reads her books, it's pretty cute.


*molly mouse

Vera and I went to see a ballet on Saturday and had such a great time.  I'm so glad some friends invited us - I am so bad at finding out about these things on my own.  The production was called Molly Mouse and it's like the Nutcracker for a younger audience: a really great introduction to it with all the same wonderful music.  It was so well-done, I thought it must be some sort of franchise or something, but met the lady who wrote it and produced it all right here.  If you are in this area, look into going next year!

All dressed up:

We went to brunch first at the Grand America Hotel - our little friend calls it *The Palace*, and so we did too.  Sooo fancy.  They are still 3-4 year olds of course and got a little too silly at times.  Us moms were busy enjoying the de-licious buffet.

After the performance we happened to walk out of the theater next to the director. She spontaneously invited the girls backstage - it was so neat!!  Vera was awestruck.  I was never a performer - in just one play when I was little [I was a mexican jumping bean]. I remember though a few times getting to be backstage and it is so magical.  I just loved watching the look on Vera's face as we saw the dancers and the costumes, the big heavy curtains... One of my absolute most favorite things about having kids is watching them experience something new, watching the joy or curiosity or amusement in their faces.  Anyway what a kind lady to invite us back like that!

the girls who played Molly Mouse - they were so sweet and happy to pose: 

two cuties:



This video is from a couple weeks ago - she took a liking to carrying Puppy around in this bucket and has been doing it ever since. I love how she purposefully hooks it over her little arm. This first time she got really frustrated with the bucket for some reason and had a little yell at it. I love her.


Monday Vera and I shared some chamomile tea and watched the final of "The Sing Off" - a fun little time together. She spoke in a British accent and called me dearie and darling.  She was so happy the team "with the girl" won!

I love when babies "talk" on the phone :)

These sisters are so affectionate with each other!  It is the cutest thing to see Edie wake Vera up in the morning - she kisses and pats her, babbles sweetly, hands her Bunny.  She sometimes says her name: "Wawa."

*kind of* playing together this morning - it's very amusing to watch


*el museo y el parque

 The day after Thanksgiving we thought we'd go to the new museum of Natural History.  We've watched it under construction for the last year (more?) or so and it completely surpassed any expectations I had. I was seriously blown away at how beautiful the building was, how modern and clean and artistic the exhibitions were, how many interactive things there were to do and how much I learned.  We happened to go on an absolutely beautiful, clear, smog-free day and the view was just amazing.  Afterward they let us apply the tickets toward a membership - I can't wait to spend many a dreary winter day there! [pictures by matty]


uncle matty got her some rocks for her collection


The weather was pretty mild, so on Thanksgiving day we took a nice walk to the park. Vera had just rode her bike for the first time the night before so we wanted to see if she could do it again.  She was actually pretty shaky and hesitant and not really getting it again for the first bit.  By the time Graham met us there it had somehow really clicked and they rode around in circles for quite a while - so fun.



Thanksgiving Crew 2011

*dia de gracias

We had a really really wonderful Thanksgiving here at home. Ben's brother and my sister came and we had such a great time with them. I'll add more pictures later, but here's some from the dinner.

Whew - the preparation! This was my first Thanksgiving dinner that I was in charge of. It was a little mind boggling to map out how to get everything done on time, but really I had so much help that it wasn't a big deal. I bought a special edition of Gourmet magazine with their all-time best recipes and I made everything from that. The appetizer - goat cheese with warm lemon zested olive oil and olives was amaaazing, the gravy was AMAZING, the stuffing tasted great but was slightly dry. The turkey would have been perfect but of course I messed that one up - I checked the temp near the end and then when we took it out to rest I forgot to check again - oops!  Ben carved it up and then we realized it was undercooked, so they put it all back in the oven. Everything would have been perfectly on time - oh well :) Matty also made the spicy candied nuts that we all loved so much last year as well as boiled chestnuts. We had more than enough wine - good wine, which was a super treat [especially the Ridge Zinfandel - mmm].  I am so thankful for all my family: this little family here, my own parents and siblings and my extended family. I feel so blessed to love and enjoy them all.

big little helper

little did we know it wasn't done yet...

matty and his camera - he has the magic touch! and a killer camera that I am coveting : )

oh the pie....