52: a portrait a week | Week 4

Ralphie learned how to roll over this week.

He did it for the first time on our bed yesterday. It happened so quickly, and he looked a little confused afterwards, like, "Why am I facing this direction now?" I squealed and clapped, and then scooped him up for a long snuggle because he's growing so fast all of a sudden. I kissed his fat cheeks and smelled his big ol' head. You know, mom stuff.

I wanted to make sure the whole rolling over situation wasn't just a fluke, so we tried again today during tummy time. I was playing my Sound of Music record, and he fussed for a while until Climb Every Mountain came on. Suddenly he started flippin' over like a fish. Ah, the power of an inspirational song! Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream, Ralphie!

Mostly, I'm just glad that he gave me a good memory to go with that song. Because everyone knows that Climb Every Mountain is the yawn of that musical.

Anyway, I think part of the point of this whole portrait series is to take just one photo a week, but I can't possibly do that when I have a baby that looks like this:
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Oh sweet boy, I love you!


sick days

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I'd like a do-over for this past weekend, dudes.

A fever and chills knocked me out on Saturday, and then, to my despair, Ryan got the stomach flu on Sunday.

The stomach flu.

When I was a child, there was nothing that could ruin a day faster than someone, anyone, throwing up. It paralyzed me with fear. And as I got older, I assumed that that fear would go away.


Poor Ryan was suck in bed all day Sunday and Monday. It was a gloomy and quiet couple of days. Eventually he felt well enough to eat some bland food-- noodles and toast and bananas. I finally let him hold Ralphie last night and we were all a happier bunch after that. Having a sick husband is such a bummer. I was lonely!

But Ryan got up bright and early this morning, shaved his face, and went off to work looking fresh as a daisy.   It's warm and rainy here today, and outside smells like spring! When Ralph and I walked past the little school in our neighborhood this morning, the kids that were out for recess had shed their winter coats and tossed them into giant piles by the school doors. And while Ralphie napped, I grabbed the seed catalogs that have been coming in the mail and started to plan a little garden.

Things are looking up.


sketchbook friday {No. 2}


I don't love it. In fact, every time I look at it, I hear the "pppffffftthhhhh" sound of a deflating balloon. It's not even what I wanted to paint this week, but Ralphie is teething and is super mad about it AND I have an achey, chilly cold and we all know what happened on Monday and are you feeling sorry for me yet? I just didn't have enough time to work on anything this week, so a sloppy hand-lettered quote is what I'm giving you. Bet you've never seen that on the internet before! I debated even putting it up, because why would I post something that I don't feel proud of? But I said I'd do it, and it's only the second week of Sketchbook Friday, and I didn't want to fail in the second week.

So here ya go. Pppfffftthh.

I'll try harder next week. Promise. But for now, Ralph is napping and I'm going to join him.
PS: We all get 10 points if someone can tell me what movie this quote is from. One of my faves!


52: A portrait a week | Week 3


As of yesterday, Ralphie is officially 3 months old.

His once-wrinkly-fingers have plumped. His legs are roly-poly. All that precious downy newborn fuzz that clung to his teeny shoulders has mostly disappeared. He smiles and coos and is starting to get really fun.

He's drooly and sucking on his fat fists, and a tiny white bump has formed on his bottom gums. A tooth! It's coming!

My newborn has turned into an infant, and my new-mom heart is crying like a baby over it.

The good news is that those funny little hairs on his ears that were there the morning he was born are still hanging on for dear life. Those hairs are still on my side. Thanks guys.



The fire department came :: A very long timeline of the stupid things that happened yesterday

7:25am: Ralph wakes up with an atrocious diaper. I don't want to be the mom who blogs about her baby's poo, but I will tell you that this diaper required an immediate bath and the washing of many linens. Many, many linens.
7:30am: Ralph happily splashes in the sink.
7:45am: Ryan leaves for work, late.
10:45am: I wake a napping Ralphie, and struggle to squish him into his bear suit and his car seat. Remember that it's only 5 degrees outside. Add an extra hat.
10:50am: Ryan picks us up, we head to the baby dermatologist for a check-up on Ralph's strawberry birthmarks.
11:15am: Arrive at the hospital.
11:30am: Are informed that the doctor is running 45 minutes late.
12:00pm: We're finally called back into a room. The nurse instructs us to strip Ralph down to his diaper and dress him up in a doll-sized hospital gown.
12:02pm: Take a million photos of Ralph in the hospital gown, because it's super adorable.
12:40pm: Doctors and nurses finally show up. Ralph charms and coos at them all, except for the scary nurse who obviously ate green peppers for lunch. (Big time tears.)
1:15pm: Ryan drops us off at home, I nurse Ralph, eat lunch.
2:30pm: Ralph goes down for a nap, I tackle the dishes.
3:15pm: Feel sleepy, sit down. Check Pinterest.
3:20pm: Smoke alarm in the stairway beeps.
3:22pm: Smoke alarm beeps again. My brain goes into Crazy Mom Mode, think about people dying in their houses from carbon monoxide, and gosh, I am sleepy. And is that a headache I feel?
3:23pm: Call Ryan, ask if smoke alarm is also a carbon monoxide detector. Am instructed to fetch the other detector from the basement. Bring it upstairs. It beeps four times.
3:24pm: Detector is still beeping. CARBON MONOXIDE. Call brother-in-law Jason, who has the day off, ask him to come over to inspect.
3:25pm: Scoop Ralphie up from his crib, take him downstairs, open front door and fan 5 degree fresh air into the house. An irritated Ralph screams in protest.
3:26pm: Call Ryan again, tell him to come home.
3:27pm: Detector is still beeping. Google "What to do if carbon monoxide detector is beeping." Panic. Call fire department. A recorded message says they're closed for MLK day.
3:28pm: Call 911 (OH YES I DID.) Jason shows up in his sweatpants, looks bewildered. I shove a still-crying Ralphie into his arms while explaining to the 911 dispatcher that it's not really an emergency but my carbon monoxide detector is beeping and I can't take my baby outside in the 5 degree weather and I called the fire department and they're closed? and-- The dispatcher cuts me off, says the fire department is never closed. I try not to lose it.
3:29pm: Dispatcher connects me to a nicer dispatcher who tells me that the fire department is on it's way.
3:30pm: Hang up. Explain to Jason what the rock is going on, tell him the fire department is coming. Maybe cry a little bit.
3:31pm: Hear sirens. A fire truck with whirling lights screeches to a halt in front of the house. Two firemen jump out and run up to the house. ONE OF THEM HAS AN AXE. Die of embarrassment  (But hey, quick response time, guys!)
3:32pm: The friendly firemen inspect all 3 floors of the house, determine that all 3 floors have carbon monoxide levels of zero. Carbon monoxide detector is mysteriously not beeping anymore?
3:35pm: It is declared that the two detectors beeping at the same time was merely a strange coincidence. I sheepishly apologize to all. And then I take a bunch of photos of the firemen to show Ryan later. Firemen exit the house and slowly drive their giant truck away.
IMG_5642 3:40pm: Jason makes sure I am ok, hands me a wide-eyed Ralphie, laughs at me, leaves.
3:41pm: Ryan finally gets home. I tell him what happened. He doesn't believe me until I show him the pictures. He asks if I'm ok. Then laughs at me.
4:25pm: We go to Target, pick up a pizza and a carton of ice cream.
5:30pm: Come home, eat pizza, give up on the remainder of the day.



sketchbook friday {No.1}


Technically this is not in my sketchbook. It's a gouache painting on a piece of brown paper. But I could totally tape in into my sketchbook, if we were picky. (We aren't picky, are we?)

I painted this with the intent of putting it in Ralphie's room, but it ended up looking pretty girly. I've already got plans to try again for next week. Think boy, Amelia. Think boy!

In other news, this week took forever, didn't it? I'm so glad it's Friday. Next week is supposed to be so cold-- in the single digits! So I'm going to try and spend as much time as possible out and about with the boys this weekend before we're forced back inside on Monday.

Happy weekend! Let's party.



happy pictures

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1. Homemade Christmas decorations that didn't make the cut, but are workin' for January.
2. A happy baby that would rather suck on his fists than take a nap.
3. Our bedroom window. | On Saturday mornings we like to pull back the curtains and stare out at the trees, while arguing back and forth about who has to get out of bed and go downstairs to start the coffee.
4. Victory.
5. Lunch for two. | One of the tastier healthy meals we've eaten this week. (Better than the dry chicken I made on Tuesday night.) We're trying pretty hard to stop using the new parent excuse to eat pizza and ice cream every night. It hasn't been too difficult, but last night we were both in bed, listing off the things we wished we could eat at that very moment. "Culver's chicken tenders. Steak. Chocolate cake..."
6. Post diaper change play time in the nursery. | Doesn't that pom pom in Ryan's reflection look like a little yellow beard?
7. A freshly bathed and honey-scented baby. | Bath time is everybody's favorite part of the day in this house.


52: a portrait a week | Week 2

flickr 2

Ralph learned a new game this week called, "Lay on the boppy and see how high I can stretch my head before it wobbles back down." It usually ends in tears after five minutes of exhausting head control. But the first two and a half minutes are super cool!

*12 weeks old


Here come the hives.


I've decided to do something that makes me nervous. I hope you don't mind.

Is it cool with you guys if I start showing you my sketchbook? I know I've told all of you before that I like to paint and draw. Well, after a long time of anxious procrastination, I've finally started to pull out my supplies again and I'm having so much fun. There's a whole lotta inspiration inside my head, and it makes my heart so happy! I'm nowhere near where I want to be when it comes to skill, but I'd really like to improve.

And I can't think of a better way to kick my buns into gear than to display my sketchbook for all the internet to judge and critique.


But I'm doing it anyway. I'm going to spend nap times and evenings working on something, and then I'll show you what I (and my tiny paintbrush) have come up with every Friday.

Ok? Ok cool.


52: A portrait a week | Week 1


Please indulge me for a minute here.

I'm going to participate in the photo series that's all over the internet right now. I think it's such a lovely little project, to take a photo or someone or something special each week of 2013. I'm not one for stickin' to things- I get lazy. But this seemed special to me. This is the year Ralphie will physically change and grow the most. I know I'll love having all these pictures to remember it by, all gathered in one place. So, each week of this year I'll take a picture of my baby boy and post it here. I also like the idea of taking a photo a week of Ryan and me-- I think it would be fun to see how the two of us change over the course of one year. But that all depends on the cooperation of my dear husband and the strength of our rickety tripod.

I don't think I'm going to count these posts as true blog posts though; I'd still like to try to blog 3x a week about other things. But I'm not going to make any promises here, because like I said, I get lazy.

So anyway, here's week one: a portrait of my Ralphie, fresh from a nap and a diaper change. Isn't he fantastic? He loves those fat, floating whales SO MUCH.

And now here are some bonus photos, because I finally had a chance to get my real camera out, which doesn't happen nearly enough. Also, Ralph has some grandmas who are serious about seeing his mug as much as they can. Have at it, grandmas!



Some things I want to tell you RIGHT NOW.

1. Thank you to all of you who have sent emails and comments about my last blog post. Sometimes all I need is a little encouragement and my confidence is boosted to the moon! I have all sorts of excited feelings for the blog again, and it's because of your kind words. Thank you, thank you! It's funny-- I stumbled upon this post by sweet Natalie last night, and it said, in the most perfect way, exactly what I've been trying to say. Here's my favorite part:

"Blogging is great because, if done right, you can create a world for yourself where all of the small but wonderful moments can be magnified and kept and shared, and where people who've never met can inspire and encourage each other. 
So, after a bit of housekeeping, I am ready to go. I am itchy to record the funny little things in life that make me oh so happy, and all of the things I'm doing. 
Mostly, I am ready to create my life. This is a small but important step for me - I am about to make my life a little bit better."

AMEN, Natalie. Amen. Now, here's a hug for all of you wonderful bloggy people.

2. Bits of Christmas are still sticking around over here. I've been trying for the past three days to get the tree down, but every time I get into it, Ralph wakes up from his nap. It's like he knows. He just doesn't want me to take that sparkly thing down. 

3. However: Ryan did say goodbye to his Christmas beard. He was starting to look a little homeless and he was using my comb to smooth it out, and I kept telling him to trim it, and he kept telling me he wanted to see exactly how long he could grow it, and I kept showing him pictures of that guy in the J.Crew catalog with the baseball cap and the nicely groomed beard, and 'doesn't that look nice, dear?' And finally he said to me, "Amelia, I don't want to be the guy with the groomed beard. I want to be the guy with the grizzly beard." But, I won, and he trimmed it. And oh, did it look nice! And then, four days later, he up and shaved the whole dern thing right off, along with like 10 lbs I think? He looks like senior-in-high-school Ryan again. It's nice. 

4. We painted the dining room over the weekend. It's white and bright and makes the rest of the house look old and moldy. We both kind of hate painting, but the dining room turned out so nice that we're going to go ahead and start the living room this weekend. So for those of you who are asking for a little house tour, it's coming! Probably not very soon, with the exception of a few happy corners, and maybe some moldy before pictures, but it's coming. And hopefully soon I can show you Ralphie's little room, which is turning out pretty cute, I think.

That's it. Happy Wednesday.


I've been thinking.

Posts on New Year goals and resolutions are all over all the blogs right now. There are so many good ones, so many that seem to say exactly what I've been feeling and mulling over in my head for the past few weeks. (This one and this one, especially.)

And before we get into the belly of this sure-to-be-long blog post, I'd just like to say that, as much as I love Christmas time (oh, I do!) there's nothing like the freshness of wiping away the old Christmas dust, clearing everything out, and beginning again. In every part of life. And isn't a thick, glossy January magazine full of color and salads and organizational tips just the bees knees?

But, like I said, I've been thinking. About the new year and my little family and my little blog-- especially about my little blog. I started it over a year ago, writing and posting for no one but myself. I had wanted to start one long before I actually did, but the long and lonely days after the stillbirth of my first baby were what made me actually sit down and write. It felt good to have a space where I could record my memories and feelings, as well as an extra place to experiment with and test my creativity. I really loved my little blog and it's few faithful followers. 

Over time I gained more readers, and eventually, people that I actually knew in real life were finding out about my blog, which was equal parts exciting and terrifying. And I don't know exactly when it started happening, but I think I began editing my posts. I was no longer just writing to friendly internet strangers, I was writing to so and so and that friend from such and such. So, instead of just blogging freely and writing whatever popped into my head, I began to think, Will so and so think it's weird that I take so many pictures of my living room? I stopped blogging as often as I wanted to because it made me feel anxious, and when I did blog, I wrote in a tight, cramped, edited voice that wasn't mine at all. I've been suffering from a severe case of blogging stage fright, and it's prevented me from growing this blog the way I want to.

It doesn't help that I'm still not sure I know what direction I want to take with my blog. I like to take pictures, but I'm not a photographer. I like to write, but I'm not a writer. I like to decorate my house and bake and draw and paint, but I'm not Martha Stewart. So, oftentimes, I find myself floundering and wondering what I truly have to offer in a blog. What can I give to my readers that will make them want to keep coming back?

And yet, I know that if there's anything I'm good at, it's being creative. I mean, I graduated college with an Art major and an English minor. Writing, creating, and recording the beautiful and happy things in my life are all hobbies that I love-- they're the things that I do to avoid doing things that I hate, like cleaning the shower. Does that make sense? Anyway, the blogging community is something I am so strongly drawn to-- I feel like it's the kind of place where I can stretch and grow and challenge myself, right next to people who are so similar to me. I want to keep being a part of it.

So, in the spirit of a fresh new year and for the love of my blog, I made a few resolutions. And just like every other blogger has said, I'm writing them here so that they're public-- so that I will be held to them:

+ I'm going to try to write freely again, in my own voice, without editing. (Except for the editing that comes from Ryan, of course. He's a good judge of knowing what I should and shouldn't say, and reads many of my posts before I hit publish. If he shows even the slightest cringe it's backspace, backspace, backspace.)

+ I'm going to try to post at least 3 times a week, even if I feel like I'm writing about nothing. I recently read old posts from last year, and I love them. Even the stupid ones. I'm so glad for the bits of life I recorded here.

+ I'm going to try to put my Art major to good use, and one way or another, find a way to make a little money for my family. I don't like knowing that the pressure of paying for student loans, a new house, and hospital bills is all on Ryan's shoulders. I'd love to be able to help. This one especially makes me nervous. Like, hives and high blood pressure nervous.

+ And I guess as long as I'm posting some goals, I'd also like to make it official that I intend to lose the baby weight, and for the love of Pete, finally figure out how to make the big photos that I post un-fuzzy. They're not fuzzy when I take them. Why do they show up fuzzy here? It's driving me nuts. (HELP.)

I also resolve to wear more hats. 2013 is about to get really exciting.