Max, 1 month

I’m a little late posting this, but I’m going on 5 weeks of poor sleep, so I think I can be forgiven.

Mr. Max just had his 1 month doctor’s appointment. He was 10 pounds 12 ounces and 22.5 inches long, so I think it’s safe to say he is growing well. He’s already gotten a cold from Harper, so I guess with a toddler around his immune system will be getting tested often. Props to whoever invented the snot sucker!

Max eats like a champ, though we’ve had some breastfeeding challenges. I saw a lactation consultant (and can we just take a moment to THANK GOD these people exist) and with practice and time, we got through our issues. Honestly, the fact that I had to pump extra bottles was kind of nice because then other people could feed him while I slept.

Also, thanks Obama for the free breast pump!

While the past month has been pretty stressful and sleepless at times, it was nothing like Harper’s overwhelming first month. There is a definite ease with the second baby, and it helps that he is pretty happy and loves to cuddle.

This time I know he will cry for no apparent reason, wake at all times of night, and expel every bodily fluid. Because that’s what newborns do. Accepting those challenges has made it a lot easier to appreciate the good things. I think I spent most of the first week just staring at Max and feeling weepy. Both because he’s wonderful and because it felt instantly like our family was complete. I just felt really lucky that so many of the things I wanted in life came to be.

Harper continues to be great with him. She’s a little rough at times, but she just wants to help. She asks to hold him a lot, which totally melts my heart.

While Harper was kind of an odd baby in the sense of not minding being cold and always wanting to be outside, Max likes to be super warm and he wants to be held all the time. Sometimes that’s hard, but at least he is willing to be worn in a carrier. He just passes out and makes these contented little noises.

He’s already trying hard to hold his head up, and he occasionally smiles. Once I put him on his activity mat and he darn near rolled over. He’s a strong little guy!

Mike’s parents were here for a few days when he was like 2 weeks old, and that was really nice. Since they had another grandson born the day before Max, they are really soaking up the grandbaby time.

Max had a lot of baby acne in the beginning, but now it’s starting to clear up and he’s starting to chub out.

He is bigger than Harper was, but oh my gosh they look so similar. I look back at pictures of her and I can’t tell who’s who. It’s amazing. I’m wondering if that will continue. He’s already getting that strawberry blond colored hair that she got.

As much as I’ve gotten used to my middle-of-the-night feedings with episodes of Felicity in the background (how is it I never watched that?), I am hoping that in the next month Max will start sleeping longer stretches and we can all catch up on sleep a little. Our shift system for nights has been great, but I think we’re ready for the next phase.

And here’s hoping that this little cuddlebug takes long naps when he finally gets on a schedule. And he will be getting on a schedule!

Harper at 2

Sometimes Harper wakes up from a nap and my mom and I will go, “Does she look different?” She literally seems to change hour to hour.

She still has a tangle of strawberry blond hair (fine and mostly straight like daddy’s), but it’s a lot longer now. Sometimes I give it a trim, but she’s yet to have a real haircut. I’m a little afraid of that process…

The biggest change, of course, is language. She seemed kind of stuck on a few words for a long time. We were kind of surprised, given our communications backgrounds, that she wasn’t more verbal compared to her peers. But this week has been like an explosion of words and words turning into phrases.

Her favorites are “No, no, Sadie,” “Mommy, (where) are you?”, “Uh, oh, what happened?” and things like “Ready, set, go!”

I recently heard the phrase “three-nager” to describe the personalities of three-year-olds. But I have to say that Harper seems like a two-nager at times. She can change her attitude on a dime and you can see her not knowing what to do with her frustration.

Thankfully, she is spunky, giggly, and curious most of the time. Her energy is just astounding! Sometimes she will take off down our long hallway or the driveway outside and just do laps yelling “run, run!”

She got her first real shoes this month. She was tripping and falling a lot in her soft shoes and seemed to need more support. She’s a pretty fearless climber and I think she is about ready for a tricycle or a balance bike.

She’s less inclined to put a strange thing in her mouth now, but you never know when she is going to go digging through the trash, or stepping in dog poop or any number of destructive things.

Sleep has been a mixed bag. She had been sleeping pretty well at night and taking her usual scattered naps and then we hit a patch a few weeks ago that was far worse than the 18-month regression. I thought maybe she was getting a big molar because she was just so out of sorts and only pain reliever seemed to calm her down.

Now she seems back to normal and no new teeth. So who knows. I am pretty desperate for a break or a vacation and really wanting to travel more this year. I know now that breaks are key to mama happiness and that’s one of the things I really need to work on in the future.

The selfie photo reminds me that we actually had to take the iPad away completely because she became so obsessed with “Pen.” Now she is obsessed with Daniel Tiger on PBS, but that one doesn’t bother me as much. Hopefully we can bring it back in the future because I really liked some of the learning apps. But man was she attached to that thing!

Lately she LOVES baths. She practices counting with her toys and it’s so cute. She likes being in the car and it is about the only way she’ll fall asleep for naps. She loves to run wild in the aisles of a store. We’re working on finding more activities to do with her. I think the aquarium and zoo would be fun.

I do have the tiniest bit of sentimentality for her teeny baby days, but really each stage has been so much more fun and interesting than the last. And this one in particular with breakthroughs in communication is so big, I’m really enjoying it. And you better believe I indulge in sleepy cuddles as much as possible lately. Those are the best.

Pumpkin patchin’

We had so many good photos from our trip to the pumpkin patch, so I had to share.

It was a little strange to go on such a hot day (probably 80 degrees but felt like 90 in full sun), but we still had a lot of fun.


Mom: not in Kansas anymore.

Harper was determined to pick up pumpkins, throw them, or pull them in the wagon.

She really liked climbing this hay bale tower, which scared the bejeezus out of me.

She is so fearless. She went all the way to the top.

She also zipped through the hay maze.

They had this crazy pumpkin house that was basically a yurt that we used to get some shade.

Then Harper got to sit on the huge pumpkin.

We took a few pumpkins home for carving later. I might have gone a little pumpkin crazy this year, but I just love them so much!

Fall is really the time I miss the Midwest and the change of seasons. I’ll be going back to Kansas in November for my grandma’s funeral, so I guess I’ll get a taste of it then.

Beach day in Pescadero

Last weekend we really needed a break from all the projects around the house, so we decided to get out of town and take a hike. Except that when we arrived at our starting point, Bean Hollow beach in Pescadero, we realized our hike was going to turn into a day at the beach. So we went with it. 

I knew that Harper, being the adventurous soul that she is, would want to go in the water. But I didn’t realize just how much she would like it, or how eager she would be to walk into some pretty strong waves. 

So we took turns holding her while the waves splashed over her little legs. She kept signing “more” over and over. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her do that for anything other than food. 

It’s a pretty long drive to Pescadero, but we really liked that beach. It seemed less crowded than most beaches around here, and it had lots of interesting rocks and birds. 

Mike even found a sea anemone. 

The people there seemed really friendly, too. One guy even came up and offered to take some pictures of Mike and Harper. He did a great job!

Afterward we drove to Santa Cruz and had dinner at Pizzeria Avanti. I was a little skeptical when we drove up to this worn strip mall, but the restaurant was nice inside and the food (artichokes, padron peppers, and a sausage pizza) were excellent. 

My sister is coming in less than two weeks and we’re already planning our next adventure to Big Sur!

12 months!

A few days ago, Harper turned 1. We survived the first year! And that is something. 

Here she was as a teeny newborn. 

And here she is now.

It’s incredible how someone could change so much so quickly. Here she is, month-by-month.

In honor of her birthday I thought I would give you 12 things about Harper at 12 months:

1. She loves yogurt.

This girl cannot get enough yogurt. She can eat more at one sitting than I can! In fact, she eats way more than you would ever think such a tiny person could eat. But that’s because she’s going at full speed all day. 

2. Her hair finally lays flat.

Harper has had some epic hair fluff throughout her life. We always said she took after her dad that way, he of the spiky hair. But now it’s finally long enough and heavy enough to lay (mostly) flat. The only exception — post-nap hair.

3. She can walk. She just won’t.

Evidence here.

She cruises around all day. Either that or her funky crab crawl with one leg out. But I still have to convince her to walk by herself. As with so many things, you can’t make Harper do something if she doesn’t want to.

4. She’s a strawberry blond. For now. 

She’s gone from brown hair to red hair to blond with a reddish tint. I can’t imagine it will stay that way forever, but it seems to be sticking around for now.

5. She gives great hugs.

One of the many reasons I like this age is the hugs. She cuddles and gives you a full-on squeeze now. It’s so sweet. I might be in the minority but I don’t have a lot of nostalgia for the newborn days. This age is a blast in comparison.

6. She’s starting to form her own language.

I think she’s on the cusp of syllables turning into words. She repeats things rather than saying them totally randomly. I think mama, dada, and dog are in there somewhere. You know, the important stuff.

7. She pretty much always has a cold.

This picture really sums up what our January was like. First she had a stomach virus (and her first real throw up, ugh), then a cold, then another cold. Mike and I got them too, so we’ve been a bunch of phlegm wads all month. I didn’t realize there were so many things kids could get sick from, but I’m learning fast! Thank goodness for boogie wipes. 

8. She’s nothing like me.

I joke, but she really is so much like Mike. Both in appearance and in personality. She looks a lot like he did in baby pictures with the blond hair. And especially the way she scrunches up her nose when she laughs. She’s mischievous and expressive and social. But there is one thing we all have in common — we want things done our way!

9. The dishwasher might be her favorite toy.

I don’t know what it is about the dishwasher, but she could stand there for hours. We are going to have to start eating with only spoons so she doesn’t poke herself. 

10. She still loves to be outside.

Fresh air goes a long way with this kid. Now that we’re all well we need to plan some more adventures.

11. She is a little too fearless sometimes.

Harper got her first fat lip this month when she tripped and fell while cruising around. I’m sure it was more traumatic for us. Her mouth was bleeding and I couldn’t tell what from. Turns out it was just a cut lip. But ooh, it makes you scared for the future!

12. She’s going through rapid-fire development.

It’s amazing to watch the wheels turning as she figures things out. You can’t trick her anymore. If she wants to go somewhere or play with something, she points or shakes her head no.

It has to be incredibly frustrating to want to do so many things and not be able to communicate those desires. So I’m sure that’s the origin of a lot of her crankiness.

She cracks us up with her dancing and her peek-a-boo games and her fascination with small dogs. (Her favorite is Mike’s office dog, Juan Carlos.) She’s big on handing you things, but not necessarily giving them to you. 

We had this birthday picnic planned at a park in Berkeley, but of course the long-awaited deluge of rain happened last week. We moved the party indoors and it ended up being really fun.

Happy birthday to my baby girl!

11 months

I feel like this month someone took my baby and streeetched her out. Though she still has plenty of baby chub, she is starting to grow more up than out.

She is all energy and curiosity lately. December was so busy with craft sales and travel that I really needed her to be on her best behavior. And by some miracle, she was.

Of course most of the time she was crab-crawling or cruising around the house getting into trouble. But at least she was in a good mood!

Early in the month her Denver grandparents came to visit and took on the back-breaking job of walking her all over the place.

We had early Christmas with them, which featured these adorable Babiators.

She’s always looking around for someone to engage with. She’s big on clapping and waving when she feels like it.

She learned to shake her head no. But I think it only means no about half the time.

Our house looks like it has been hit by a toy tornado. But most of the time she can be found playing with anything but toys. It’s messy, but I like that she’s trying to learn more about the world around her.


The hair refuses to be tamed.

She still eats pretty much anything we give her, but I don’t think it will be long before she starts getting picky. We’ve also discovered the magic of Cheerios as both a toy and food.

For Christmas we traveled to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where she got to experience a number of firsts:

First bone-chilling cold. It was -13 the morning we left.

First time seeing snow.

And eating it.


She got to hang out with her buddy, Aldo, in Minneapolis.

First sledding with daddy.

We even had a sleigh ride, which was pretty cool.

First pom-pom hat.

First Packer jersey.

And of course, first Christmas.

She and her cousin Grace were pretty darn cute in their matching Christmas pjs.

I know her Wisconsin grandparents really enjoyed the time with her. And Mike and I enjoyed our first overnight trip to Duluth, just the two of us.

We were pretty grateful for a baby who traveled so well.

The plane ride home was full of babies, including maybe 18-month-old twins who screamed most of the flight. Instead of being annoyed, I just felt terrible for the mom. Harper can be a handful, but lately a pretty happy one.

I almost forgot to say that she took a few steps on her own during our trip. She’s not walking yet, but as soon as she decides she’s ready, she’ll just do it. Then we’ll really be in trouble.

Kansas + Iowa

After last year’s epic tour of the Midwest for Thanksgiving we decided to split up future holiday visits to our families. It’s just too crazy to try to see everyone in one trip. So we put our Mason family celebration in Kansas first, and we made it a little early so we could get more affordable flights. I also really wanted to squeeze in a side trip to Des Moines to see friends there (plus all their new babies), so we rented a car to make that happen.

We were really hoping to experience a true fall season, something we both greatly miss. And wow were we rewarded with fall in all its glory. We had great weather most of the time, with just a bit of chill and plenty of brilliant leaves to run through.

And of course we had some excellent food. We went straight from the airport to Oklahoma Joe’s for some authentic KC barbecue. Oh my gosh, it was unbelievable. And huge! Talk about a change of pace. I had enough fries to feed 3 people, and my whole lunch was like $6!

I don’t normally like ribs that much, but theirs were in a league of their own. Just fall-off-the-bone tender. I’m thinking we should make this a tradition every time we visit.

Something about the sky on the way home was really lovely. Black trees against a golden sunset and fields of hay bales. I must have been away long enough to appreciate it in a new way.

Friday we drove up to Des Moines. Can’t say I see a lot of this in the bay area.

We wanted to see the new Des Moines Register building. When we worked for the Register, the old building was in pretty sad shape. Now their new space looks fantastic, all shiny and new.

We checked out their recording studio and got to pretend we were on the Bryce Miller show.

It seems like so many of our former coworkers have moved on to other jobs, but we still know a ton of people there. It was great to catch up.


Harper got to ring the copy desk joke bell. 

After that we headed to the always adorable East Village where we got to say hi to my friend Karen from Ephemera.

We also had to check out Stitch, a new knitting/sewing store that is exactly what I would create if I could design my own craft store.

I definitely left with some gorgeous yarns. I couldn’t help myself.

Des Moines was looking particularly lovely that night as the sun set.

This is the part where I could just kick myself for not taking some pictures. We went to visit our friends Tim and Gretchen who just had triplets a few months ago. (I always think of them when I think my life is hard.) They are handling it amazingly well. You can follow Tim on Instagram if you want to see their adorable babies.

After that (yes, this was an epic day) we met up with our friends Brianne, Joe, and baby Emmett and our friend Arin with her baby Jonah for dinner at A Dong. It was kind of crazy with 3 babies, as you can imagine, but so much fun. We miss A Dong so much!

After that we just hung out, drank wine, and ate cupcakes from Creme Cupcake. They only had vegan stuff left at the end of the day, but my coconut cupcake was damn good.

The next morning our babies got to hang out a little bit.


Someday the paper will go from chew toy to actual reading.


Sweetness.

Harper gets a kick out of all dogs, so of course she was entertained by Wilbur, who looks like a fox.

Emmett is just such a sweet baby. I kind of wanted to put him in my bag and carry him off.

Before we left town that morning we decided to take a walk around Brianne’s lovely neighborhood. I was kind of obsessing over the trees, but they were so pretty.


You too could own a pair of hand-knit baby legwarmers

I mean look at that!

I definitely get a lump in my throat when I think about how much I wish I could do this every day.

But I’m glad we got the chance to spend some time together.

When we got back to Lawrence we had a big family gathering with our Mason cousins. Harper got to play with her cousin Isla, who was only 5 weeks old when I met her last year.

Both of the great grandmas were there, which was so cute. We got to take some four-generation photos.

Harper got ultra spoiled with gifts. She basically giggled and shrieked all night. I think she was really overstimulated, but I know she was having fun.

Auntie Erin had to put in a bunch of laps while uncle Jason made the stuffed dog bark.

Later we got to have a little date while my mom stayed with Harper. Erin and Jason invited us to Merchants Pub & Plate in downtown Lawrence. We had some drinks and dessert (sweet potato donuts – fab!). Then we stopped by Erin’s parents’ house to meet their dogs. Believe it or not they have 3 Newfoundland mixes and a Great Pyrenees. Miss Bella owned the dog bed though.

Speaking of dogs, Charlotte was pretty jealous of Harper getting all the attention. She did eventually warm up to her though.

And she knew exactly where to stand when we had friends over for dinner.

The rest of the time we got to relax a little.

We made a big trip to Home Depot so Mike could take on some home-improvement projects.


The extent of our plumbing knowledge. 

The rest of us took some photos in the back yard. Mom’s weeping willow was looking so beautiful.

And we found Harper looked really cute in this red metal chair.

I also did a little shopping in downtown Lawrence. I picked up some cute earrings for Megan at Made, which carries all handmade goodies (including some familiar ones from the bay area!).

I also got a onesie made for Harper from Acme Tshirts. They have so many good ones to choose from.

We were sad to leave, but we have more family visits coming up in December. My dad and stepmom will be here mid-month. And then we’ll be traveling to Wisconsin and Minnesota for Christmas. Looking forward to seeing many more familiar faces.

One day, hour by hour

I really liked Erin’s idea of documenting a day, hour by hour, so I thought I would try it. When you’re home with a baby there is no average day, but I think this day (Monday) turned out to be a pretty good picture of our daily life. 

7:30 a.m.

Because of daylight savings time, Harper woke up extra early and Mike got up with her about 6:45. He usually lets me sleep a little longer since that’s their time together before he goes to work. When I got up, he was feeding her some baby food I’d made over the weekend.

8:30 a.m.

I tried putting her in her jumper to play, but she didn’t want to.

She used to love that thing, but not anymore. She seems to be making a developmental leap — mimicking, clapping, trying to stand/walk — that is making life chaotic lately. Note to self: get some next-stage toys!

9:30 a.m.

Mike left for work, so now I am trying to check some things off my to-do list. One of them was to try to get a replacement wheel for our stroller. After a few minutes with a grumpy customer service rep, I am told a replacement is on the way.

10:30 a.m.

I’m working on some pom-pom projects for an upcoming blog post. 

Harper is starting to get cranky, so I give her a cold teether. Her two top teeth are starting to come in, so that always makes days more challenging.

11:30 a.m.

Harper is an epic nap warrior. She has always taken short naps, and after getting into a routine of 4 30-minute naps a day, she is now down to two. And she fights hard to go down for them. After another major battle I finally get her to go down. I had to sneak in her room to get this photo of her.

After she woke up, a mere 20 minutes later, I realized that her leg was actually stuck in the bars of her crib. Now I feel terrible!

12:30 p.m.

After lunch (leftover pot pie, which I shared with her), I got some dishes washed.

Harper decided to play with a whisk on the floor. She is very into anything that is not an actual toy.

1:30 p.m.

Harper plays with some toys on my lap. I can tell she is still tired from only having one short nap, especially when she starts slumping over. 

I feel like I have to be consistent with her napping in the crib, so we battle again for her to go to sleep in there.

2:30 p.m.

The nap thing didn’t really work. I was so nervous about her sleeping position that I kept interrupting her sleep. When I finally gave up and took her out of the crib, she was not too happy.

3:30 p.m.

I realized that maybe I was being too strict about the naps and that maybe with the teething, the developmental changes, and the cold she has, she probably needs some extra comfort. So I cuddled up to her in our bed and she fell asleep. For an hour!

Poor thing was exhausted. I eventually got up and worked on the computer while she slept.

4:30 p.m.

Post-nap, Harper is in a much better mood. I assemble some cloth diapers while she plays. Usually we get some kind of outing in the afternoon, but we ran out of time today.

5:30 p.m.

I have one order to finish from a big group of orders I got last week. So I get to knitting. 

6:30 p.m.

I make dinner.

Harper feeds herself one of those baby food packets. She used to only eat a few bites of baby food here and there, but now she has a huge appetite. 

7:30 p.m.

Dinner is ready (veggie chili) and Mike is home.

I live for this part of the day when I get a little break! 

8:30 p.m.

Harper’s bed time. She ends up falling asleep on me without her bedtime feeding.

She hasn’t been this cuddly since she was a month old, and I have to admit I love it!

9:30 p.m.

Now that we don’t have cable, we are totally hooked on “Dancing with the Stars.” Tonight Cher is a guest judge. She’s still rockin’ it. 

I use my baby-free time to get a little more work done. This time of year I’m usually stockpiling accessories for the Renegade Craft Fair in December. 

10:30 p.m. 

Bedtime. Sometimes I get some reading done before I go to sleep, but not tonight. It’s been a long day. 

Mile-high fun with the family

Now that my dad, stepmom, sister and uncle all live in Denver, we thought we would make a trip out there to visit them. I love Colorado in the summertime. It’s definitely warmer than it is here, but still cooler than some of the other places we’ve lived. So it was a nice change of pace.


Dad played guitar for Harper. She loves it. 

Plus, we had all those extra arms to hold Harper and keep her entertained. Now that was a vacation!


Fun times with great-uncle Steve. He always knows how to get a kid to laugh.

The first night Megan took us out for a dinner at this quirky bar in Broomfield called The Old Man. We were a little skeptical at first — we all got carded but there were lots of kids playing outside in back. Family place or party bar? But once we got our food we were totally won over.

They specialize in heaping plates of barbecue. We tried brisket and pulled pork. But the best part was the appetizer — tater tots smothered in green chili.


Totally weird and totally awesome.

While we were in Denver we also checked out the mile-high flea market and took Harper to the pool in my dad’s development.

The little boat thing was a spontaneous purchase, but it totally worked. Plus it folds up small enough to fit in a suitcase.

We attempted to take a family photo. Harper was pretty tired and cranky by that point, but we tried to make it work.

I like this outtake.

We also wanted to give ourselves a Boulder day, so we all gathered for breakfast at the Buff.

You know you’re in a college town when you can get a mimosa for $1!

Harper showed off her present from auntie Megan, an “I dance for cupcakes” onesie from Tee and Cakes. (Later we stopped there for dessert and coffee — still amazing).

We did our little knitwear photo shoot on Pearl Street. Harper helped.

They had so many pretty flowers. It was the perfect backdrop for photos.

I’m glad to see it’s still such a fun place to hang out, shop, eat, watch street performers.

On our last day in Colorado, Mike and I decided we needed a little time to ourselves so we left the baby with her grandparents and drove up Boulder canyon.

We spotted some climbers, little dots on the side of a mountain.

Unfortunately Boulder Falls was closed due to falling rocks. I would have loved to hike down there, but not badly enough to risk getting hit by a rock.

So we just kept driving, up to Nederland and then back to Denver the long way. It was so nice and quiet back there. Almost no other cars.

It’s really hard to find anywhere that isn’t crowded where we live, so this was really relaxing.

It was so great to see everyone. I didn’t get photos of this, but we also got together with old friends one night. Wish we could have stayed longer, but now we’re back to reality!

June in photos

Needed to use up some blueberries — brown butter blueberry muffins were delish.

I figured out I can make Harper giggle by making rapid kissing noises. Hey, whatever works.

Hanging out with her buddy, Elliot. Would you believe he’s the younger one?

Pretty flowers I spotted in Berkeley.

The view of our funny tree from the ground, where I’ve been spending a lot of time with Harper.

Happy daisies.

A funny photo my neighbor took of us.