"Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts." - Unknown

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My Labor Day weekend started out right  - an early birthday celebration in Center City, with some of my favorite people.

Jeremy even tried sushi (finally).

Good times.

Beach day with friends.

Playground. Summer, 2014.

I never want to quiet your spirit. I’m sorry if sometimes, it seems like I do. I’m still learning how to be a mother. Some days, it’s harder than others.

I never want to quiet your spirit. I’m sorry if sometimes, it seems like I do. I’m still learning how to be a mother. Some days, it’s harder than others.

Lately: Our life from my phone.

ruby james’ first birthday

For as little planning as we did for this party, it came together pretty well. 

For whatever reason, I was not into planning, or even thinking about this first birthday celebration. I remember feeling the same way about Quinn’s, although I had much more free time (remember when I thought I was soooooo busy with one kid?) so I did plan more. But I still remember feeling kind of melancholy about the whole thing. I think first birthdays are always a little bittersweet.

In a fit of guilt over the weekend, I scoured the house looking for something to help make the house feel festive. To my surprise, I found a box of unused streamers, napkins, plates, etc from Quinn’s various parties. I pulled out an old cupcake recipe and had Quinn help me make them, which was fun. Then, Saturday night, after everyone else went to sleep, I opened a beer, turned on some music and decorated the house. It was fun, and the kids loved it when they woke up in the morning. Guilt-be gone!

Sunday morning, I sent Jeremy out to pick up a tray of sandwiches and some balloons. It’s amazing how 10 balloons can transform a room. Suddenly, our house looked just as good as it did 4 years ago, when we celebrated Quinn’s birthday.

We invited a small group of neighbors and friends and set out some beer and easy food and let the kids run around like caged animals. When we were done, we had a destroyed house, most of the food was gone and we had one very happy and loved one year old girl. 

Ruby James, your parties may be created in a rush with nothing but  hand-me-downs, but there will never be a shortage of laughter and love.

Thanks for giving us an excuse to have another fun party. :)

Happy birthday, Ruby! ❤️❤️❤️

ruby james - one year old

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Ruby,

It’s sounds so cliché, but it really does seem like yesterday.

Wasn’t it just yesterday?

Or a week ago?

Maybe a month. But, surely not a year.

I was sitting on my couch, late into the evening, trying to write this post before you arrived. It was the night before your due date, and even though I knew you would not be coming the next day (how many babies are actually born on their due date?) I felt a nagging urge to finish it. It was the last thing on my “to do” list before your arrival - my final tribute to your pregnancy. There was so much I needed to tell you before you arrived. Why did I need to get it out so badly?

Even though I was increasingly uncomfortable from my dinner that evening (um, a salad), a never-ending tightening in my belly, and exhaustion, I finished it. At 1am, I finally went to bed.

At 4:30am I awoke, wondering if the tightening was actually the beginning of labor because it hadn’t stopped throughout the night.

Five hours later, I was holding you in my arms.

You entered into this world swiftly, but without drama or complication. And even though there was a lot of pain involved, there was no fear. Your birth was like your pregnancy: smooth, easy, quick and calm. And when you arrived on that beautiful Saturday morning a year ago today, your demeanor was the same.

Easy like Sunday morning.

We were so happy to meet you. Overwhelmed with love, relief and a bit shocked at how quickly you had arrived.

But more than anything, I felt at peace.

Before you were born, people warned me about life with two children.

“It’s triple the work!”

“You thought you were tired before?”

“You’ll wonder why you ever fussed so much over the first baby.”

“Be prepared to ignore the baby. You just won’t have time to spend with her like you did with the first one.”

They were right. I wish they weren’t, but they were. About all of it. It makes me sad to realize it. But, it is true.

There was one other thing people warned me about as you sat in my belly.

“You will love this baby, just as much as you have ever loved anything else in your life. Including your first baby.”

And luckily, this one was also true.

The fear I had about this last warning, melted away the first time I saw your face. When I screamed in the delivery room as they passed you under my legs (don’t ask) about how beautiful you were! My baby. My sweet baby. At that moment, even though you weren’t, it was like you were the first baby I had ever had.

I had no idea my heart could expand large enough to fit you inside of it next to your Daddy and Quinn. But it did. And you fit perfectly, like the final, satisfying piece of a puzzle.

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The past twelve months have been an interesting mix of emotions. I was told to just try to survive the first year (another warning) and we have. Here we are. And at its worst, it was exhausting. At its best, it’s simply the best thing I have ever known.

You. My Girls. My Family. When I think about it, it’s too much. Almost like when you try to imagine the vastness of the universe. I get overwhelmed and have to calm myself down. It’s like wearing your heart on the outside of your body, exposed and raw. How could something mean so much to anyone?

That’s not to say it’s been easy. Growing our family has been hard. The hardest thing we have ever done. Going back to work full-time, taking care of a baby and a 3-4 year old, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for us. It’s been a challenge, but nothing in life is worth having if you don’t have to work for it. That’s what they say.

That’s what your Daddy and I say to each other at night in bed after you have both finally fallen asleep.

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There were those 3 months when you woke up every hour, every night. Every, damn night. I didn’t think we would make it then. But we did. And now, it’s like it never happened. Where did that baby go? Wasn’t that just a week ago?

These days your baby-ness is fading fast. Suddenly, you move faster. You talk more. Your hair is longer (and wilder). You are into everything. Your favorite toys are not toys, but rather electrical cords, garbage cans, toilets and the plastic lining under the fridge that keeps coming off that you insist on playing with no matter how many times we kick you out of the kitchen.

You splash wildly in the tub, encouraging your older sister to soak the entire floor.

You giggle as you look your Daddy in the eye and drop all your food on the floor, even though you know it drives him nuts.

You stick your finger in my nose repeatedly, every night, while I’m rocking you to sleep.

You crawl straight to the stairs, or to the smallest object on the floor to put in your mouth. You knock over chairs and tables. You stick your fingers in the opening of the side of a door and then slam it shut. You do this with drawers too. A lot. The other day, you pulled my brand new Macbook Pro onto the floor, narrowly missing your head (your father told me about this later).

You scream every time we put you on the changing table. Or every time there are only three pieces of food left on your plate because you’re scared you are going to run out.

Of course, you don’t do this with your bottles. This morning, I found you in your crib, happily squirting your bottle all over the bed while you laughed.

Babies. It’s funny how you forget how horrible they can be.

Or how wonderful.

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You sleep through the night now. When you wake up, you don’t wake up crying, but smiling and bouncing in your bed with your wild, curly hair going this way and that.

You smile and laugh every time Quinn has anything to do with you. Even when she is mad at you or yelling at you, you laugh and it usually makes her laugh too. You let her hug you and squeeze you and throw you around like a rag doll. Every time I scold her for being too rough, you just laugh. And every time she comes back with,

“See, she likes it?”

You guys are already ganging up on me.

You dance to music. Any music. You bop up and down and clap your hands. The smile spreads across your face like a crashing wave. 

You’re walking with the wagon and crawling while always dragging one leg behind you. It’s amazing how fast you are with only one leg.

You eat like crazy. You love all foods. There isn’t a single one you haven’t liked. Except, you aren’t into Puffs, or Mum Mums or baby cracker-type foods. You want the real deal. Doesn’t matter if it’s meat, veggies, fruit, pasta, you will eat it. It does make dinner awfully easy with you eating with us. And I love your adventurous palette. Although lately, the whole throwing-food-on-the-floor thing is driving your father batty.

You give kisses to us all. Big, wet, sloppy kisses. Sometimes, you decide you don’t want to give one to me or Daddy, but without fail, Quinn always gets some love.

Your sister – the bond with you two. My biggest wish is that it never goes away.

You go through the phases. All of them. Just like any other baby does. But most importantly, uou are a good, kind baby. You love to laugh. You seem concerned when others are unhappy. You like to share. You are active and alert and curious about EVERYTHING. You aren’t afraid to jump into anything, which is a blessing and a curse for me.

Ruby James, you have changed our lives, our family and our hearts. We are all madly in love with you and everything you have taught us about ourselves in the past year. I know we were a family before you were here, but even then, it seemed like you were always there somehow. Just waiting to make your grand entrance.

We love you Little One. My sweet baby girl. No longer my baby, but, my girl.

Happy first birthday, Ruby James.

 

"They say, Ruby you’re like a songYou just don’t know right from wrongAnd in your eyes I see heartaches for meRight from the start, who stole my heart?Ruby, it’s you…”Ray Charles.
Happy first birthday, Ruby James.

"They say, Ruby you’re like a song
You just don’t know right from wrong
And in your eyes I see heartaches for me
Right from the start, who stole my heart?
Ruby, it’s you…”

Ray Charles.

Happy first birthday, Ruby James.

This is really happening??

This is really happening??

My Philly Girl.

My Philly Girl.

Our brick was placed in Ned Wolf Park today. Now, our girls will always be a part of Mt Airy - their first home.

Our brick was placed in Ned Wolf Park today. Now, our girls will always be a part of Mt Airy - their first home.

Rascals.

Rascals.

Ruby’s first birthday gift arrived. Who needs more clothes or useless, plastic toys when there is Tiffany’s?

Ruby’s first birthday gift arrived. Who needs more clothes or useless, plastic toys when there is Tiffany’s?

Christopher Walken.

(I think I used that same joke when Quinn started walking. I’m getting stale.)