baby leo, etc.

I held a fresh new baby over the weekend, for the first time since Ralphie was born. The newest member of our family showed up last Thursday, and I've been on an itty bitty squeaky newborn high all weekend. Ryan's brother Jason and his wife Kaili had their first baby, and they named him Leo, and I love him. He's blond and beautiful, with the prettiest, fairest skin. And like every mother before me who's held a baby not long after having her own, I thought, was Ralph ever this tiny? Such a little bird, that Leo baby is. As I expected, I've been overly sentimental about the whole thing. Jason and Kaili are already such sweet and tender parents, and it's been a special kind of joy watching them with their son.

We got a few, "Does this make you want to start trying for another one?" comments over the weekend, too. Ryan remains a solid NO, while I'm now a wishy washy wellllll maaaaayyybeee.....

I can't remember who it was, but I heard someone say a while back that when they think about having another baby, they don't really want another baby, they just want to do it all over again with their first. And if I really think about it, that's exactly how I'm feeling right now. Because gosh, wouldn't it be wonderful to have the chance to live those first few precious weeks over again? Except this time, with all the experience, and definitely without the swelling and stitches and hot flashes? Only in my dreams, I guess.

We met little Leo in the same hospital I delivered in. It was crazy to be back in those halls we walked while we waited for Ralph to show up. It was fun to compare birth stories with Kaili, and discuss the deliciousness that is the ice cold apple juice in the styrofoam cups the nurses deliver almost hourly. As Ryan and I walked the long skywalk back to the parking garage, we talked about the awful time we walked into that hospital with a baby and walked out without her, and about the wonderful time we walked into that hospital with a baby and walked out with Ralph.

The same Ralph who now bounces happily on wagon rides
Afterlight and climbs stairs with sticky hands
Afterlight and looks like this in his car seat
Afterlight but, once, only nine months ago, looked like this: Afterlight
Oh time, you can be so dumb sometimes.


ralphie at 9 months

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11 12 13 14 My friends, it seems we've hit the golden age.

I'm not sure anything can get better than Ralph at 9 months.

Ralph at 9 months is awesome. And funny. And ever so slightly naughty. And mobile. To Ralph, the world is a giant playground full of wicker basket and chair leg obstacle courses. The child has serious ambition, and not even the slightest bit of fear-- and he has the bumps and bruises to prove it. From the minute he wakes up until the minute he crashes in his crib, Ralph is a tiny blur of pulling himself up and tumbling back down, crawling and reaching and grabbing and twisting and banging and smacking. Just tonight he figured out how to climb the stairs. When it happened Ryan and I looked at each other with equal amounts of pride and fear in our faces. We're in trouble, and we know it.

But oh man, is he the sweetest baby. He's all smiles and chuckles, especially around Ryan, and has turned out to be the best little napper. He still nurses twice a night, and I'm in no hurry to change that-- I'd gladly give up one hour of sleep a night in exchange for extra nap hours during the day. Those extra nap hours give me time to get the dishes or laundry done or, quite often, a chance to sit on the couch resting my limp noodly body before the baby tornado wakes again.

There are, however, a handful of things that will keep Ralphie still for longer than 20 seconds while he's awake. His favorite toys these days are blocks and books and a couple wooden spoons. And if I'm really desperate for a moment of calm, I just give him a mum mum or two to crunch on. He and his seven teeth really enjoy those mum mums. And applesauce! And carrots, and peaches, and bananas, and peas, and pears, and oatmeal, and cheerios. But not chicken. Never chicken.

But, do you want to know what the absolute best parts of 9 months is? The times when I lift Ralph from his crib after a nap and he sleepily says, "Ummmmmm...." while burrowing his fluffy head into my neck. Or when he squeals all the way up the stairs when he knows he's about to have a bath. Or when he lays in my lap, smiles, and looks back and forth between Ryan and I while we sing his prayers to him before bed. Those are the best parts, for sure.

Ralph, you're a dream and a half, and the sweetest little blessing. Your momma loves you.


a really belated Fourth of July post

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This was the first year in a long time that we missed the fireworks on the fourth. We went back and forth about going, but decided it wasn't worth the hassle of the crowds and the mosquito bites if it turned out that Ralph wasn't a fan of them. My sister had everyone over to her house for some good summer food instead-- grilled burgers and a decked out backyard and firefly catching and the sound of fireworks from a distance. It was just as good. Maybe better.

And if you're not going to get fireworks on the fourth, you may as well get blueberry pie, is what I always say. I used Martha's recipe for the crust and the pie and, with Ryan and Ralphie's help, both turned out beautifully. Try it. You'll like it.


peonies, please

IMG_6001 Flowers are so fashionable right now, aren't they? It seems silly, since flowers have been wonderful and beautiful and around since God said, "Let there be flowers." But all it takes is one look at Pinterest to know that every woman needs to wear a flower crown while strolling through the farmer's market to pick out a flowery bouquet that she can carry around in her straw bag, and then maybe a couple mason jars to keep the flowers in when she gets home. 

The internet has made me believe that I need all of these things.

So, when I was walking through the yard a few weeks ago and noticed some tight round buds that just happened to look like peonies growing along the back corner, I was like RAISE THE ROOF. Because peonies are probably the most fashionable flower there is right now. There I was, right on trend, and I hadn't even had to do anything.

It was then that I became obsessed with the peonies. There were eleven of them, closed up so tight, and with big black ants crawling all over the top petals. I checked on them multiple times a day. I talked to them. I adored them. I waited and waited and waited for them to bloom.

And then they did. One by one, the petals opened to reveal the prettiest, most lush flowers I had ever laid eyes on. I loved them. So sue me.
I thought about leaving them to grow and open and last in the yard, but I couldn't resist snipping each one and taking them inside to put in a vase. ("I need a vahhse? A vase? A vahhse?" Name that movie!) And then of course, I had to take their picture.

And I'm glad I did, because they lasted all of two days.

Until next year, peonies. I'll be waiting for you.


hello little blog.

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IT'S SUMMERTIME EVERYBODY. Which is my excuse for the lack of frequent writing here. That, and the fact that the power cords for both of our laptops are near-death. Actually, that's not true, mine is totally dead, and Ryan's has to be held in place in a very specific way in order for it to work, which is what I'm doing now, and it's not easy. So.

Anyway, these here pictures are from the weekend before last. After church that Sunday we went down to our old spots by our old apartment and had a good old time. And oh man, sometimes I miss living there so much! We went to our old grocery store for doughnuts, and Ryan said, "Let's walk around the whole store just for fun." So we did. And it was just like old times, except instead of slowly waddling down the aisles with a giant belly, I was pushing a stroller with a baby inside, and they also moved the nut aisle to the other side of the store. Who knows why. Once we picked out our doughnuts, which just happened to match my outfit, what luck, we parked it at the beach and walked around. It was windy and warm and nice to be back.

And now this, which is related in no way to anything I've been talking about so far: Recently I stumbled upon the most ridiculous and wonderful station on Pandora. It's called Old Time Music Radio and I CAN'T STOP LISTENING. It's all banjos and gentle rivers and devil whiskey and wildwood flowers. It's the closest thing to country music that I can get into, and man am I into it. It makes me feel like cooking in my kitchen and hanging out the laundry to dry and, I don't know, churning some butter or something. Ralph can really get down with the banjo pickin' songs, y'all should see it. (It also makes me want to say y'all, see what I'm saying?)

Speaking of Ralph! He has seven teeth now, four on top and three on the bottom. For a little while he only had one tiny eye tooth on the top, which made him look like a tiny baby hillbilly, and resulted in the nickname "Snaggle Tooth" from his parents. But just when I started to seriously worry that maybe he didn't even have his two front teeth at all, they popped right through and we started using the toothbrush his grandma put in his Easter basket. He's army crawling and getting into everything, and just this weekend learned how to fake laugh. He's changing so quickly and deserves more blog posts about the funny things he does. I'll work on it. Because, shoot, I love him so much. 

There's a whole bunch of other stuff I'm quite behind on in the blogging department, like Father's Day and our Fourth of July and our garden, and hopefully I'll find some time during naps to get it all down here. Because as annoying as holding this power cord in place is, recording these happy summer days is so worth the effort. We've had some gooood days. Summer, never leave!

And in case you missed it, here's July's installment of craftiness on You Are My Fave. I'm still so pumped about being able to write and craft for Melanie's blog. It's such a sunny part of my life. I made fake sparkler cupcake toppers this time around, and they were featured on Oh Happy Day as one of Jordan Ferney's favorite party ideas last week, which was an exciting accomplishment indeed! WATCH OUT MARTHA STEWART. 

Just kidding Martha. I love you.