Thursday, January 30, 2014

What Would Abby Do?

Abby and Mia have always had a special connection of sorts. Though Mia's current stage of development and Abby's maturity level are not well-paired for companionship most of the time, they definitely have their moments. Though, unfortunately- especially when the sharing of space and toys is required- Abby's more prone to evoking tears than giggles much of the time, no one else seems to be able to make Mia laugh so easily as she can.

I've learned a thing or two from watching them, however, and so it was that I found myself taking a page from Abby's book this afternoon. Mia was growing tired of sitting in her high chair, and it came time for me to grab a damp paper towel to clean her up. This is not one of her favorite things in the world; while she was initially very amenable to the process when she first started solid food, over time she's become as unwilling a subject as her two siblings now are. She began to fuss and fight me, but rather than press on through the resistance, it occurred to me to counter her irritation with a little silliness instead. "Sticky, sticky, sticky!" I exclaimed, with as much enthusiasm and goofiness as I could muster.

I was rewarded with a wide grin. As I continued on, the grin opened wide to excited gasping, which then evolved into fits of laughter. Across the table, Abby joined in on the fun, and it was at that point that it occurred to me: I'd achieved an unexpected level of success due to the fact that I had taken the same approach that Abby might have, when instructed to "make sillies for Amelia."

It was a lovely moment, staring back and forth between my two beautiful daughters, so filled with pride at the cleverness of one and with joy over the happiness of the other.

When Mia began to reclaim her fussiness at the approach of nap time later in the day, I remembered the lunchtime antics of an hour or so before and asked myself the question: "What would Abby do?"

"Sticky, sticky, sticky!" was my answer, and it was met with perhaps more eagerness than before.


By the way, now that there have been two sightings of it in one day (in her crib this morning and along the sofa this evening) I think we can make an official announcement: Mia is now cruising. One tiny step for Baby, one huge step for her mom and dad...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Making Trouble at Ten Months

It's taken two days, but I've finally gotten around to dressing up Amelia all pretty-like and getting out the camera to record some of the little changes I've observed in her over the last month: the taller stature, the extra teeth, the thickening/lengthening hair.

Most notable during my photography attempt was her exponentially increased tendency to attempt to launch herself from the sofa, which made me consider awhile before placing her there for pictures. However, Tom was available to help out and carefully positioned himself just out of the frame but close enough to grab her with each eager dive.

Of course, his location made my job a little difficult, at first. It was tough to get her to look at either of us, but when she did Tom commanded the most attention, initially, due to his proximity.

Finally, I managed to gain her notice. The next goal was to get her smiling.

As I began to amuse her just enough to get the corners of her mouth to creep up, however, she made sure to hide them well behind the toy I provided to quiet her protests over being put down.

That is, when she wasn't turning her attention to chewing on it instead.

Or, alternatively, carefully studying it instead of acknowledging my pathetic efforts to make her laugh.

Or (best of all) waving it around right in front of her face.


Gotcha anyway!

She seems to resemble her father more and more each day; I can see it most in her smile.

It's too bad, though, that she works so hard to partially hide that grin so much of the time- behind her hands, behind whatever object she's deemed her current favorite chew-toy. I wonder if she realizes that I can still clearly see the mischief that she's made of in her sparkling, scheming eyes?

So much trouble awaits me there; I can only guess at what the next ten months have in store.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Life is What Happens...

Mia turned ten months today. I wanted to feel some amount of excitement over the milestone, but sifting through any kind of emotion is a tricky prospect these days. My soul is a bit of a minefield, and I've found that the best way to keep it diffused is to humor whatever mood it drapes over me for just long enough to recognize the meaning and then tuck it away beneath some form of distraction.

This gets me through the days well enough, but doesn't leave much room for adaptation. I'm ridiculously short on patience and general coping skills, and practically bereft of any urge towards spontaneity.

Still, I felt a pang when I finally made the silent decision not to try for any photographs today.

It wasn't a decision influenced entirely by my state of mind; the truth is that Mia has a bit more recovering to do from her cold, just as I do from my stubborn grief-demons. However, it occurred to me today as I considered that she probably just needs a day or two more for her head to start clearing, her nose to cease its running, and her energy and appetite to return, that I can't take nearly so passive an approach to my own healing.

Getting out on Sunday was hard and scary, but it was a positive thing; a step in the right direction. I know in my heart the importance of taking more steps just like that one, but I get bogged down in the anxiety that comes with any change of routine. The answer, then, is to establish a new one.

Given that the current routine is bereft of even the occasional outings I used to manage, it will be a tough process just to get back to the old "normal." It's important, I think, to start by changing things up a bit at home. Making small improvements to get the house back in order. Taking time to do the things I used to feel compelled to do for the enjoyment of them.

Like those "Month" pictures.

I'm not feeling it right now, but I know all too well that sometimes you just have to do a thing, and the appreciation will come later. John Lennon penned the famous line that "Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans," and while it's mainly a poignant observation about the unpredictability of our time here on earth, since it randomly came to mind in recent days I'm trying to also see it as a reminder that you've got to keep making those plans, despite the uncertainty of their outcome.

I made a lot of very specific plans recently that fell through in the most painful way imaginable. This time, my plan is far more vague but pretty essential: to do what it takes to start living- really living, in a meaningful way- again.

Perhaps tomorrow that will mean a photo session. Perhaps it will mean, instead, something smaller and more manageable. Whatever it is, I know the key is to keep plodding along, pushing forward. Somewhere in there, life will start to feel like a life again, I know.

If I ever forget, I'm sure she will be all too happy to remind me.

She's not going to stop growing anytime soon, so I'd better make sure I pay attention.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mobile Moments, 1/20-1/26

This past week is not one that I'm particularly interested in reliving. Indeed, I can't recall much about it beyond the anxiety and bouts of panic that I suffered as I waited and prepared to do a difficult but necessary thing. In the end, that thing was nearly denied me due to an unfortunate turn of events, and I've since come to learn that sometimes the aspects that you fear most about an upcoming experience are not the ones that come back to haunt you in the end; it's the unexpected ones you're often left battling, instead.

Somewhere in the middle there, though, my Visit Summaries tell me, Michael weighed in at 28 lb, 12 oz and 35 inches tall at his two-year assessment, and Amelia demonstrated a height of 29 inches and weight of 20 lb, 9 oz for her nine-month (though she'll actually be ten months tomorrow). She seems to be slowing down her growth just a bit; though still tall for her age she's in the 83rd percentile now (down from 100th at four months), and has fallen to 77th percentile in weight.

Somewhere at the end, I tried to push my internal conflicts aside for just a brief while and be a part of life again. I'd hoped that we could all attend Abby's friend's birthday party as a family, but the irksome cold that felled first Michael and then Mia kept them home with Tom and Mei Mei this afternoon. So it was that Abby and I ventured out, just the two of us, and had a pretty good time while we were at it.

Little owls become her.

Halloween never gets old around here, apparently.

Party girl "cheesing" after enjoying a colorful chocolate cupcake.

My poor, miserable Mia. But she loves her Mei Mei, and her Mei Mei's smartphone.

Overheard this week:

Between Tom and Abby

T: "Abby, where should we hang your new picture?"
A: "On the wall."



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Worthless Wishing

I want this to be my last dark post.

I wish this could be my last dark day. Of course, while I could always make the decision never to write of such things again, not feeling them is a bit farther from my control.

While I'm in the habit of wishing, how about I wish this whole experience away?

What if I could go back to that first sonogram and see a heartbeat instead of a near-empty screen? I'd be in my second trimester now.

What if, barring that, I could have had answers sooner, and not spent my Christmas holidays in agony over what might possibly be?

What if those answers had actually made sense from the beginning?

What if I could have come to an acceptance of reality sooner and had the wherewithal to demand the care I deserved?

What if?

I could go on all day listing what-ifs and wishes. I could rant all day in an attempt to burn off my anger. The story will remain the same.

After hearing and processing all of the arguments for why I should elect a D & C, I agreed to one. Once the scheduling was in the works, I set my focus on preparing myself emotionally. I requested more testing, I asked more questions. I did everything I could to quell the nagging doubts that I was sure would haunt me after-the-fact.

True to the pattern of this whole horrible saga, the fears that I anticipated were not the ones that came to light. My ambivalence led my doctor to schedule the procedure for a later date than was perhaps wise. Wednesday's extra ultrasound revealed information that I'm not certain I really wanted to know (though it was pretty essential in helping me better come to terms with what was happening inside of me).

I won't say that it wasn't another spear through my heart to see that second yolk sac on the screen. It was. But what I found more fascinating was how much it didn't hurt anymore- not right away, anyway- after having suffered so much loss already. In this, however, time has not been my friend.

I did not have much time to dwell on the revelation that first day, however, because the bleeding started shortly after, and the panic.

How much time did I have from that point, when my labors tend to be so short? The medical staff that I consulted seemed to think that I had plenty, or perhaps did not care whether I made it to my surgery date or not. I was told that I wasn't bleeding enough just yet, and once again I had to play that same old waiting game.

I played it as bravely as I could, even as the pain increased, and the anxiety. I tried to place my trust in the very people who had already begun to wear down my faith in them.

As a result, that "what if" question pops up once again.

What if I had pushed harder? What if?

Though at one time I thought that what I wanted was to end things privately at home, I had long since set aside that expectation and desire. There were answers that I wanted that only lab analysis could provide. There was a certain level of control promised to me.

These expectations fled before my eyes as things went suddenly out of control on Thursday evening. Gone were the concerns that I would later feel that something was taken from me (though something was, indeed, taken from me- just not in the way that I had anticipated). Up rose the horror at the realization that things were not going at all the way I'd wanted needed them to. I frantically grabbed for Tupperware containers to collect what I could, but not before I lost the first bit to the toilet upon which I sat while trying to figure out just exactly what was happening. I try to tell myself that fretting about whether any one of those containers contained my baby is a useless exercise. After all, what is the lab going to do but take it apart and destroy it? Somehow, however, that option seems a far less dehumanizing end than being sucked down a sewage drain like so much waste.

Something tells me that my baby suffered the latter, and it is a thought that will haunt me to my dying day.

So, too, will the anger I felt at being told to wait and rest as I lay bleeding out on my bed. So, too, will the agony of trying to drag myself out to Urgent Care with Tom (over the initial recommendations of the on-call OB), cold, scared, and damp with my own blood.  So, too, will the fear as I lay on a bed in a back room watching my blood pressure drop and clinic staff run hurriedly around me.

On top of it all, I mourn the tainting of a beautiful memory, one in which I was taken by ambulance from my home with Amelia in my arms and rushed through the emergency department of the hospital to labor and delivery.This time, I rode an ambulance with Tom, wrapped like a mummy in so many blankets, thinking- as I watched the walls and ceilings of the hospital hallways pass me by- that this was just like Amelia, only I had no baby to take home.

No baby.

A trans-vaginal ultrasound at the hospital, made overly traumatic by my sensitivity, pain, and the insertion of a catheter beforehand, revealed that the baby had definitely passed. There was still more to come, however,and despite my obvious weakness I still had to endure the cavalier attitude of the on-call OB, who suggested to me that perhaps I might want to go home for remainder, now that the bleeding had started to slow.

She then proceeded to list for me the risks of D & C (which I was scheduled to have done the next day anyway), in perhaps the most terrifying way possible, and then wait expectantly, wide-eyed and uncaring, for me to decide on the next course of action.

I went ahead with it anyway. There was no assurance that the tissue I collected at home could actually be used, no assurance that things wouldn't get worse again when I left the hospital, and no way I wanted to prolong my misery any further.

Of course, the misery was somewhat prolonged anyway, as I waited uncomfortably for my surgery to begin, nearly always cold and wet in my own blood, and nervously watched my blood pressure begin to drop again. Despite whatever opinion the doctor had, the ER nurse assigned to me deemed me "too weak" to move myself onto the OR bed, enlisting two other staff members to slide me over on my blankets, a favor for which I am eternally grateful.

It's technically over now; surgery went off without a hitch. Well, that's what I'm trying to tell myself, anyway. But I don't know that it will ever truly be over, not with so much awfulness to relive. Not with so much loss to consider. Not with so many, many responsibilities abounding that keep me pushing all of my thoughts and emotions at arms-length until the dark of night. That's when they come in force and bury me with their weight, when I'm suffocated by the immediate demands of all of the pent-up pain, and I fall apart again until morning.

I wish, I wish...

I don't even know what I wish anymore.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mobile Moments, 1/13-1/19

Another week has passed in a month that- thus far- has been largely marked by near-constant worrying and waiting. Now that I at least have answers to the major questions that haunted me through Christmas, the days seem to have gotten both harder and easier at the same time. I'm feeling torn about the time that I still have left to go before the procedure that will finally begin put an end to the physical concerns (not that my attitude towards it would change the reality in any way). On the one hand, it means more days before I can even approach some closure, and an increased risk of beginning to miscarry on my own, but on the other- I have more time to come to terms with a surgery that I still feel quite ambivalent about, and more time collect further information that will hopefully counter the lingering doubts I have about whether I can safely proceed without future regrets.

In the meantime, whether the particular day has felt quasi-impossible or highly manageable, it's the nights that have really been tough. Somehow, when the screens are shut off, the lights dimmed, and the background noise quieted, whatever courage held me steadfast up to that point crumbles away, and I'm forced to let emotion carry me away for a time. In the midst of it I always feel a sense of strangeness and distance, since it seems that these moments of despair must be mere precursors to the grief that will surely fall down hard upon me once the pregnancy comes to an end at last.

I was blessedly spared from the pattern last night, as Tom and I rolled wearily into our bed at the end of a magical day that was somehow blessedly sandwiched between all of the recent anxiety and pain. There was so much about Michael's birthday to be happy and thankful for that I didn't even have a moment to regret the fact that my little guy, like his big sister before him, is charging non-stop towards little boyhood and away from the babyhood that I've been desperately trying to retain since the very moment of his birth.

I'm hoping that, beyond the respite from grief that our one carefree day provided us, it will further buoy us up as we steel ourselves for what promises to be one of the toughest weeks yet. At the very least, it will prove physically challenging as I attempt to overcome epic levels of exhaustion to drag myself out to the three appointments I'm due for (for pre-op, ultrasound, and outpatient surgery respectively), as well as the combined one for Michael and Amelia to cover their two-year and nine-month health assessments.

When it's all over, I'll be back here again, hopefully with a freer, albeit somewhat heartbroken, soul and a report of all of the lovely and interesting things that managed to happen as we each tried our best to simply push on through.

Caution: Babies at Work

Mia the baby genius: Protecting her baby brainwaves from little green men.

Look who's ready to join in for the pre-bedtime story.

Abby's first stick figure drawing.

"Hold one moment please, while I connect you."

He's more than ready for a "big boy" bed, but am I?

Overheard this week:

Between Mia, Tom, and Abby

M: {burp}

T:  "Oh! She should say 'excuse me.'" To Abby, "Should Amelia say, 'excuse me'?"
A: "She should at least say 'excuse me' when she's growing up to be a grown-up."


"That's a puppy!"


{nom nom} She's going through purees at the rate of at least 12 ounces a day now. If only all that extra food actually had some effect on her current sleep schedule, which continues to require a stubborn 2-3 feedings a night to keep the peace...

Saturday, January 18, 2014


For Michael, One was...

Shaky first steps that gained confidence, strength, and speed.
Messy faces, first from ill-aimed fingers, then from awkwardly-held utensils.
Giddy giggles and enigmatic smiles, brought on by ever-more creative forms mischief.
Purest joy at the sound of clapping hands, the sight of high-fives offered, the initiation of a session of patty-cake.
Hard-won teeth, a full baby set minus four molars more.
Typical "annoying little brother" behaviors; often followed by beautiful, "caring little brother" acts of kindness.
Long-awaited hesitant attempts at verbal communication.
High-pitched, happy "bye-byes" offered with enthusiasm and the slightest bit of shyness.
Eager waves and blown kisses.
Earnest pleas of "up."
A curt "yeah," as the answer to every question (unless it warrants a vigorous head shake instead).

Day-long bouts of frustration and/or discomfort.
Impromptu kisses, hugs and cuddles.
Restlessness at mealtimes.
A downy head first fuzzy-haired, then rat-tailed, then full on party-in-the-back.
Unexpected acts of empathy, gentleness, and love.

So far, for me, Two has been...


A day of beauty in the midst of great sadness.
Lovely red outfits, left abandoned during the missed Christmas celebrations of some weeks past, brought forth and owned.
A little Christmas magic recaptured in the midst of still-unretired decorations.
Wild and free jet-setting all through the house.
Happy squeals and plentiful laughter.
Cake devoured, extra raspberries expertly stolen (by the Birthday Boy himself).
Back behind the camera for a bit and loving every minute.

My gorgeous girls played princess for the day.
My handsome boy reminded me of all there is to smile about.
And just when I thought he was all partied out from no nap and too much cake, he pushed through impossible levels of overtiredness, crashed again, and came out the other side of an unavoidable follow-up meltdown just in time for bed.

(The same cannot be said of Big Sis, but we'll pretend that her epic bedtime tantrum happened on a different night.)

Through it all, I still remember our very first meeting (two long-and-short years ago), when I marveled over every new and as-yet-unseen feature of his tiny body.

I'm still marveling today.

My dearest Michael,

You are too young now to have hope of remembering this day, so I promise to remember it for you. Your second birthday was truly a special one (for Mommy in particular). I am every day thankful for you; I only wish I always remembered how much.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rough Waters

My soul is adrift. I've been assured that somewhere up ahead there will be sunshine- perhaps even a rainbow- someday, but for now I'm just trying to navigate the choppy waters.

Emails exchanged, phone calls made, appointments scheduled. Check. Check. Check.

I now know the date of my D&C: January 24th. I've always loved the number twenty-four and I sorely hope that this experience doesn't ruin it for me. I want the finalization of my plans to focus me, but it only causes me unease.

The threshold for my discomfort over what must be just keeps dropping. Where once I saw some assurance in the declining levels of HCG, I find only renewed panic. Did they really drop enough to show proof- absolute, inarguable proof, of inviability? They drop again, but I'm still questioning my doctor, asking her to repeat herself again and again; explain to me once more exactly why the decline cannot be indicative of anything else.

Ultimately, the discussion goes back to the scans. We should have seen growth, we should have seen change. But I keep going back to my body, my physical experience. Without all of this crazy, blessed technology I'd have had no knowledge of my own internal tragedy up to this point. I still don't have a form of proof in front of me that I can really get my head around. In the end, I'm putting all of my faith in the tests that various medical staff have run, interpreted, and flashed the results of before my horrified eyes.

I trust them enough not to string myself along with false hope. But do I trust them enough to let them take this pregnancy from me, erase it as though it never was? I don't know if I'll ever be able to provide an unwavering "yes" to that question, but I intend to spend the next week trying, with all of my might.

One more ultrasound, one more blood draw, and perhaps I can finally make peace with what must be done.

Once it is done, maybe then I can finally set my sights on making peace with what has happened. If the storm's end lies in any direction, it must be that one.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Waiting Seems to Be the Hardest Part

I'm waiting. Waiting, worrying, and wondering, much as I have been doing for nearly four weeks now.

In the beginning, it was a wait for more information. A few days before Christmas, I went in for what should have been my first prenatal appointment, the dating sonogram. Only, the doctor couldn't find a baby to measure. This was unusual considering that I should have been (according to my own calculations) nearly seven weeks along by this time. I was sent for a more thorough ultrasound, and the results were somewhat inconclusive.

A small sac was measured, a fetal pole perhaps seen, but it was not definitive. I was assured that I was probably just early, but these words left me no comfort, sure as I was of my own timeline.

I was desperate for more information, for explanations other than incorrect timing to explain the issues that were encountered. I was unable to get sufficient answers. My doctor saw no reason why the baby shouldn't have appeared if it was there, and finally admitted to me that if I was sure of my dates, it was "looking like a blighted ovum."

Looking like a blighted ovum.

Those were the words that haunted me for two-and-a-half weeks as first our travel plans (which we canceled) and then the holidays and my own doctor's vacation schedule made it difficult for me to get any follow-up. I agonized over what they might mean. If development had ended before it began, had I truly lost a baby, or just my dreams and expectations? Was there truly nothing there beyond a yolk sac, or was there some unconsidered reason why my still-so-tiny baby just could not be seen?

I tried to cling to the most positive outcome, but was too afraid of disappointment to truly embrace it. I wanted to enjoy Christmas despite the constant weight on my soul, but I could barely take in what was going on around me, numb as I was becoming to it all in a mindless attempt to simply survive each day.

The night before the long-awaited third look, I kept running both scenarios in my head, but I could really only imagine the happy one. I just could not fathom how I would ever cope with the news that I had endured almost through the tenth week of pregnancy only to suffer loss. I didn't want to try.

As it turns out, I still don't know how I will cope. I didn't know it when the ultrasound turned up empty again. I didn't know it as my doctor's words of comfort rang hollowly in my ears. I only remember the wind being knocked from my lungs, the thoughts floating far from my head, and my last-minute fixation on the printouts that my doctor folded in her hands as she started to walk out the exam room door. I had to stop myself from asking for a copy. They don't give you pictures of an empty uterus, after all. What would be the point?

Despite weeks of consideration, I was wholly unprepared for the thoughts or emotions that came next. My brain, in some unfortunate attempt to comfort me, began listing all of the reasons why this outcome was perhaps "better." Our hands are already so full, after all, and there are any number of things that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to do with another pregnancy; another baby, so close behind the first three. The end result of the mental barrage was a rejection of all suggestions, and the immediate personal reassessment of myself as an Officially Horrible Person for having thought such things. No matter the circumstances, I would never and could never wish a baby of mine away.

But the grief? Though it's slipped through in spurts, it remains largely on hold. The loss, after all, is still waiting to physically occur.

As it has waited, I've had one last ultrasound, one more blood draw. The pregnancy hormones are finally beginning to decline, along with the last vestiges of doubt that I ever held about what multiple medical experts have been trying to tell me. How could I not doubt? I've had no bleeding or suspicious symptoms. When I look down, I see a swollen belly. Throughout the day, I'm still feeling those familiar waves of nausea. The all-consuming exhaustion has yet to let up.

As for that ultrasound, it has delivered perhaps the most painful news yet. There was a baby, after all, who spent a mere four weeks striving for life inside of me before succumbing to I'll-never-know-what at about six weeks' gestation. There is a baby, still, and as the self-blame begins its cruel attack (Was it something I did, ate, drank, took, omitted?), I find that I have difficult and important decisions now to make.

I'd hoped to let things proceed naturally; the surest proof that there was, indeed, never any doubt of the outcome. I argued for it despite my fear of the level of pain, the unpredictability of the occurrence, the potential mess and discomfort. However, some other details that the ultrasound has revealed are a bit concerning, and make a strong argument for a procedure instead.

If I make this choice, it will mean more control, less waiting. It will also mean taking more responsibility, which I'm not sure I'm comfortable with doing. But it will ultimately mean an end to the hellish limbo, a closure that is long overdue.

Perhaps then, the grief will truly come. And then I will likely learn that waiting wasn't really the hardest part at all.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mobile Moments, 1/6-1/12

This past Monday was the twelfth day of Christmas, noted by our family as "Three King's Day." All through my childhood we marked the occasion with one last gift hidden under our beds by the magical visiting magi.

Though Abby is now old enough to have appreciated the start of the tradition in our own home, it was left uncelebrated- one of many, many things I've forsaken since those few days before Christmas in which my whole reality was changed and I found myself sucked soul-deep into a seemingly unending personal trial. I will perhaps find the courage to write about the details soon, but for now I am still expending most of my energy in a desperate attempt to push forward to the next minute, hour, day.

I've found more comfort lately in simple physical (but extremely low-exertion) tasks, such as my latest project, and have largely abandoned the blog to its slow but steady completion, though I fit in one last post this week when Mia inspired a video and the sharing of her most recent accomplishment.

Blessedly, the children have not failed to awe, impress, and remind me of what's most important, even if they do so intermittently between episodes of screaming, fussing, tantruming, and otherwise causing loads of trouble. Michael, in particular, seems to be making great strides in communication, attempting an unprecedented number of new words and proving his knowledge and understanding by identifying objects on the pages of his favorite books. Mia continues to improve upon her pulling-up strategies, and has mastered the art of the standing nighttime wake-up cry. As for Abby, she is full of surprises nearly every day, but her latest achievement of note is the accuracy with which she has begun repeating pitches and rhythms when she sings and attempts to play the songs that she knows. She has no understanding yet of how to match a pitch to a note on her tiny toy piano, but I know when she's attempting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by the punctuation of her hammering. Occasionally, too, she sings it while she plays- a regular piano gal in the making.

Hardly even grazing my mind until now has been that ever-encroaching day: Michael's second birthday. This will have been his last full week as one-year-old, though I can hardly bear to allow that reality to sink in just yet.

Train track-building with Granda.

Abby designs her own track.

She's got her eye on the big, wide world but she's not ready to take it on just yet.

Playing "Bunny Hop" with Mima (and having too much fun for my smartphone to properly capture).

Looks like someone found Mommy's glasses.

Making progress on my Art Therapy project.

Princess castle-ing.

A little boy and his little bowl.

Mia finds a new use for the rubber scraper, as she showcases those dreamy eyes.

Overheard this week:

Between Tom and Abby

T: "Abby, the toilet is not very clean."
A: " Well, you have to clean it, then."

T: "Mommy needs a hug."
A: "No."
T: " Okay. I'm going to give Mommy a hug."
A: "NO! I'm gonna do it!"

Between Nana and Abby

N: "Hello, Darling."
A: "I'm not a darling!"


"Pulled pork, sea turtle, shark, owl, sock, flower"


She's been saying "dada/dadada" for awhile, but now she'll often do it on command.

{nom nom} We've finally discovered a love of purees, which helps me better fill her tummy even as she digs into all of the bite-sized morsels of table food that cover her tray at mealtimes.

As for teeth, she's now officially got eight of them, though the latest two (upper left and right lateral incisors) are only about a millimeter exposed for now.