Gosh, it’s been so long since I’ve updated I don’t even know what to say, where to start! So much has happened in the last year, I can’t believe it’s been A YEAR (almost exactly), and I haven’t documented any of it. At least not here, anyway. Which is fine with me, sometimes you need to just live life privately and keep journals and not worry about sharing your life with strangers on the internet.
And then sometimes you kind of miss it, because somehow it feels like it’s a part of you, after blogging all these years, for different reasons and different places.
Not to be dramatic or anything.
So what have I been up to? The biggest news of course is that Julian and I became parents this past October. Not to be completely cliche but, OMG. How amazing are babies? I won’t lie and say “this won’t become a mommy blog” because who knows what I will want to talk about – I certainly hope it isn’t all about babies, but I reserve the right.
To quickly summarize the most intense and incredible year of my life…
Last Winter (Jan 2013), I found out I was pregnant. I had terrible morning/all-day sickness. We found out it was a girl just before we went to Turks & Caicos in May for a “babymoon” where we decided we would definitely name her Nora. When we returned, we learned we had to move houses. No! We moved, begrudgingly, from the house we loved. We worked very hard to get our new house in order before baby girl arrived. We flew back to our hometowns for baby showers and summer visits. We stressed about our to-do list. Parents came to help, baby care and breastfeeding and childbirth education classes were taken. I turned 31. Then, she arrived, three days past her due date…
October 1, 2013 – 12:37pm. Eleanora “Nora” Lynne Smith. The most beautiful baby to have ever been born, of course! What a feeling, I am still reeling from the whole experience and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the wonder of it all. The delivery went as well as it could possibly go. I doubt I will share our full birth story publicly, but for those who are curious (I am always curious about birth stories since becoming pregnant) my water broke in the middle of the night, we had a fairly quick & very intense labor, and with the help of incredible husband, my doula, my doctor, and a tough-love nurse named Joy, I delivered her au naturale. No drugs, which had been my goal, but wasn’t really sure if I’d be able to follow through with (I have no words, by the way).
The first few months of Nora’s life were spent in a sleepy, foggy joy – what an incredible time, I will cherish those memories forever. Becoming a parent for the first time is interesting. In many ways, it felt completely natural and easy. I was born to do this! At other times, it felt like we were being thrown into a lake without ever having a swimming lesson. Steep learning curve for sure. What a payoff, though. Truly, truly amazing. I could stare at her all day and kiss her little cheeks and stare into her sweet blue eyes and just hold her and never let her go. Which is how I spent most of those newborn days – staring at her and letting her sleep on me as much and for long as she wanted. I was exhausted of course – we both were (are), but when opportunities for breaks came about, all I wanted to do was run back and hold her longer. Ahhh, it’s like a drug!
So then the holidays came, which we stayed home for, and celebrated the three of us. We had lots of family and friends visiting throughout the Fall, and it was wonderful. Then, we moved again. Because we’ve lost our minds! Really our circumstances just changed, and we realized we had needs that wouldn’t be met at the current house, so we moved back closer to the home we lived in before. We moved on January 31. And the last month and a half have been spent settling in, getting into a good routine for all three of us, and giving a big exhale… as we hope that most of the chaos is behind us. Just in time for crawling!
My days look something like this:
7am she is up, give the baby to Julian, go back to bed for an hour or so. Wake for real, breastfeed the hungry baby. Change & dress Nora, drink coffee, eat breakfast, shower (not always in that order, many times without the shower). Play with Nora. Put her down for nap. Do the dishes, do the laundry. Try and remember to eat lunch. Run any errands or go to Mommy & Me if it is Friday. More naps, many more feedings, not as many diapers as you’d think (though we’re using cloth most of the time so I have a lot of extra laundry). Lots of playtime, lots of changes of scenery for my girl who is now at the point where she gets bored with the same old, same old. Around 5-6p Julian is done for work for the day and he and Nora get some QT while I get dinner started, put laundry away, or stare at the wall blankly for a few minutes. She goes to bed around 7-8pm and then Julian and I have our “free time” in the evenings – something that we didn’t have until we moved/she turned 4 months old. Around then she magically decided 8pm was her bedtime, and she mostly sleeps through the night give or take a feeding or two (or three, or four if we’re teething a lot). Around 11pm we decide we better go to sleep or there will be hell to pay in the morning (we are always right).
Motherhood so far is a strange mix of unpredictable and completely predictable. Just when you think you’ve got your routine figured out, something new happens and everything you’ve just become used to changes. On the other hand, you do the same thing 7-8 times a day. Sing the same songs, play with the same toys, pet the cat (“gentlyyyyy”) twelve times, nurse in the same chair, wash the same dishes, the same pajamas, collapse into the same couch at the end of the day. The days take so long but go so fast. How do I have a six month old? I’ve only just given birth yesterday. This little baby that used to sleep all day and had to be woken up to eat now laughs at me and can sit up without me supporting her. It’s too much for me to handle. I try to soak it up – try not to become distracted with thoughts of things I “have to do” and just focus on her, on these little moments. I let things slide, I choose yoga pants over jeans, I forget to call people on their birthday, I ignore the dust bunnies in the dining room and the granola bar wrappers piling up in the car.
Still, I am learning that I need to make time for myself so that I can be the best Mom I can be. I will gogogogo until I breakdown, mentally and physically (my arms, back and neck are SORE. My chiropractor is my new best friend.) I am much happier and less [insert scary face] when I take a few minutes to be alone at the end of the day, to try and get out at least once a week by myself, even if it’s just to the grocery store (though last week I went to Target and wandered aimlessly and it was AWESOME).
I know the last thing I need is to start a blogging routine again, but it would be nice to know I can come here periodically and share whatever little piece of me needs to be shared, without thinking “ah but I haven’t posted in a year.”
So here we are! Baby is in bed, husband is working late, and I am here thinking about how I’d really like to learn to sew. And move to Europe. And take Nora to Disneyland. And go wake her up because I already miss her, even after it took an hour to put her down tonight! But really I need to go to bed because tomorrow is another joyful, exhausting, priceless day.
So hello again, and goodnight!
P.S. Call me crazy but I don’t think I’ll be sharing photos of Nora on the blog, or Twitter, or any public forums. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day, but I want to respect her privacy at this point, so I’ve only chosen photos here where you can’t see her face. But trust me, she’s cute!!!!
Today is a very special day because it happens to be my beauuuuuutiful sister’s 25th birthday!! Happy birthday, Ana! You mean the world to me and I am so thankful to have such an incredible person as my sister. I love you and I hope your day is perfect!
My Step Dad* sent me this beautiful video this morning that the National Park Service made in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, or “the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with 23,000 casualties on both sides.” I am no Civil War buff, but I have a great appreciation for all the men and women who spend their time preserving history and educating the public about this important time in our country’s history. Especially because my Dad is one of them! He is not in this video, but he is one of the many that take part in the frequent living histories that take place in the area. I feel lucky to have grown up in a place that is so rich in history and I think it’s really cool that he does this.
I also think the video is gorgeous and love the music. Hope ya enjoy it too!
My Dad IS in these photos, however. Pretty cool, huh?
*I say ‘Step’ here for clarification’s sake, for anyone reading whodoesn’t know I have four parents, but my Step parents are every bit my parents as my biological parents! They are the best!!
• it’s my one-week Pilates anniversary (still love it)
• my husband came home from his 2-day Nashville trip
• we saw Alexander Skarsgard at lunch today (for serious, ladies)
• it’s Friday
my first best friend
Not so good things about today:
• my little brother is flying overseas, and he won’t be back until next summer.
In this case, the cons kind of outweigh the pros, and so I’m feeling a little mopey. I have gone longer without seeing my brother, but it still doesn’t make it any easier. I will miss him so much and I really do hope the next year flies by.
We had such a fun time in New York and Virginia over Christmas… it really felt more like a month than 9 days. In NY we had no agenda other than eating, walking around, sleeping in, and shopping. I believe we met every one of those goals! Our time in VA was all about family and I was lucky enough to get to hang with not only my parents and siblings, but Grandparents, aunts & uncles as well! We cut down a (somewhat puny) Christmas tree, held baby bunnies, played a ton of games, cooked breakfast and dinner together, met up with friends, witnessed my best friend’s 11 month old baby girl walk for the first time (!!!), but mostly just loafed around with the people I love most in this world. It was wonderful.
Just have to stop in to give a super happy birthday shout-out to my beautiful sister Ana, who turns 24 today. Ana, I know you’re reading this, and I want you to know how much I love you, cherish you, and wish I could be there to celebrate with you!!! You are the best sister a girl could ever ask for & I am grateful everyday to have you in my life!
BTW, your gift will be late.
Ana and I this time last year
By the way – I’m alone again! Julian has once again been shipped off – to NYC this time to film his best friend Marc as he wraps up his new record in the studio over the next few days. I’m sad he’s gone so unexpectedly, but I think it’s a gift in a way because I really need to play catch up on a lot of school work and it’s hard to make myself focus when I have such a dashing, entertaining man hanging around the house all day.
See what I mean about the dashing part:
At least I have three furry kids to keep me company around here til he returns. Things are going well in my world – just had a lovely visit with Julian’s parents, started my 10k training program (so far so good, but it’s early – I’m enjoying the strength training & looking forward to getting some cycling in), been getting good grades at school & learning so much, and the weather is finally starting to feel more Fall-like regularly. I can’t believe it’ll be Halloween in 20 days! We don’t have costumes yet, so I guess I should get on that soon.
Hope you’re all having a beautiful October… xo
Photo: first by Julian / second by Julian’s Mom, Laura
I have the cutest husband ever. Woke up this morning to find a little polka dot package on my desk.
It was an early birthday gift from J, an iPod nano, which I had expressed interest in a while back because of how challenging it is to run while holding my phone. I kind of knew he would get it for me, so he wanted to make when I got it a surprise (my bday is still 2 weeks away). How thoughtful is he!
I also had no idea what color he’d pick. All I said was, “no pink!” but I was secretly hoping he’d get this pretty orange one! I was so happy. I can’t wait to go running again on Monday night. I was so excited, I registered for my first 5k immediately after. 28 days til the big race!
Well, I survived. But just barely. The two week double-header known as packing-moving-unpacking-get a new dog-week-turned-drive to AZ-turn around, drive back to LA-host little siblings-go to Disneyland, Warner Bros, etc-week has officially come to an end…. BREATHE.
The week with my little brother & sister was beyond amazing, but I can’t ever remember being this tired or out of sorts! Remind me to never schedule this many things in one short timeframe ever again. On the plus side, the new house is kind of starting to feel like home, I’m tanner than usual thanks to having a pool in the backyard, and the new puppy sleeps a lot, which is way better than barking/peeing on the floor a lot. As a matter of fact, he’s sprawled out in his bed with all four legs in the air as I type this. And the house is silent… which it hasn’t been since we moved in. I can’t stop taking deep breaths, because I kind of feel like I haven’t breathed since we began this process!
This ought to explain the lack of posting here. I’m sure I’ll be back to normal soon, though I plan on doing an awful lot of this for the rest of the weekend:
He was a Christmas present, so I decided he needed a Biblical name. I suggested Noah, and everyone agreed. Little did we know this would make saying “No!” confusing for him. He was our best friend for 13 long, wonderful years. He was a pain in the neck at times (like when he ate an entire box of candy bars, or an entire package of chicken breast, or an entire tray of muffins, or an entire lasagna, or nearly an entire pineapple upside down cake), but most of the time, he was just a fiercely loyal, sweet cuddle monster – both to his family and to his kitties. We’re fortunate to have been his family and to have so many amazing memories to look back on. Rest in peace, Noah. I miss you already big boy. Coming home isn’t going to be the same without being greeted by your shedding hair and wagging tail.
Happy Memorial Day. In remembrance of the men and women who have courageously stepped forward to serve our country, sacrificing their lives for the freedoms that each of us enjoys today and everyday.
WW2 Memorial at night in DC
Try not to forget the meaning of this important holiday today – no, it has nothing to do with hamburgers or lemonade – if you know a soldier or veteran (and don’t we all these days), express your thanks, give them a hug, appreciate their bravery. I am proud to know so many myself.