I’m selling off some baby stuff and, while it is good for the overwhelming clutter situation at our house, my mama-heart is really suffering.

Saying goodbye to some baby stuff means I’m starting to admit that I’m not going to have any more babies. Ouch.

I’m starting slow, getting rid of things that I hardly used or that I would be OK to live without if we had another baby. All of the vital gear is staying put.

This grief-management system is kind of working. I haven’t shed any tears, for example. But it does hurt.

It’s a big step, though, and I’m trying to be proud of myself. I’m sure Kyle will be thrilled, partly because it means I’m finally admitting that we’re done having kids, but mostly because all of the stuff has been stored in his video game area and he’ll be happy to have his space back! Ha!

The first tooth popped through today! That was quick! I was finally sure I was seeing a tooth yesterday, and it was through within 24 hrs. Amazing!

I bet the second bottom tooth will be right behind it. They seem to be coming in as a pair.

I can even say it is fun and exciting because Ellen has been sleeping well despite the teething (yay tylenol!).

So in the end, Ellen got her first tooth almost exactly 3 months later than Lewis got his. So interesting how different they are!


I see teeth!

They look like they’re about to break through. Maybe in the next couple days!

…speaking of, Ellen just woke up only an hour after putting her down. Literally as I was writing this. Pesky teeth!

9 months!

First of all, look how cute Ellen is! Second of all, oh noooo! We’re here! Nine months old! This is one of the more heartbreaking milestones for me… sweet Baby Girl belongs more to the world than to my body now. From here on out, she’s been outside longer than she was inside, and the earth is her home.

This hurt the first time around, with Lewis, but it is soul-crushing this time, considering that Ellen is in all likelihood my very last baby. Never again will another tiny human “belong” to my body, inside or out.

(Side note – I just watched a video of someone’s gender reveal and bawled because I’ll never get to experience that for myself again.)

Heartbreak aside, this has been a great month. We didn’t charge through as many milestones as I expected this month – still no teeth, no crawling. But we have a generally happy girl who is a ton of fun!

Ellen’s sleep has been pretty consistent(ly good), and for that I am grateful. The last week or two she has needed Tylenol or Ibuprofen to get good sleep, which means either 1) she’s a little sick, or 2) she’s getting teeth. Hard to say which since they can look so similar, but I’m very glad that there is a solution to help her through it so we can both get some zzz’s. Life has been a whole lot more enjoyable all around now that I’m better rested.

I do think crawling is going to come quickly now. I would be very surprised if Ellen didn’t start crawling by 10 months, given what she’s doing now. She rolls everywhere, and from sitting she can get to her tummy. She even does it somewhat gracefully (sometimes). And in the transition from butt to belly, she pauses on her hands and knees, rocking, before going splat. Before we know it, she’ll stop going splat and will just launch!

I also suspect that pulling herself to standing (on her own) is coming anytime. She tries to do it at this point, but isn’t quite coordinated/strong enough to heft her body up. She can, however, do it with help holding onto your hands, and she is very motivated, as standing is her absolute favorite thing… so any day now! (Note to self: lower the crib mattress!!!)

Ellen’s eating has started a big swing this past month – less breastmilk, more food. She has become much less finicky about solid foods, and is enjoying both purees and bite-sized food. She hasn’t shown many preferences for one or the other lately, other than preferring spoon-fed purees over sucking them straight out of a pouch. My favorite thing to feed her is chunks of cheese or beans – it may be my imagination, but she seems to open her mouth extra eagerly for those!

We are still breastfeeding, much to my delight. I remember what it feels like to feel “done” from when Lewis was little, and I am far from “done” with nursing Ellen. With her migrating more in the direction of solid foods, my milk supply has been dropping proportionately, and that drop in supply has me feeling anxious and panicked. It’s hard for me to frame the drop correctly emotionally, even though I know it is proportionate logically. That emotional reaction is a pretty clear sign I’m not “done”!

However, I can see that I am on my way to “done”, as I find myself starting to be a bit bothered by pumping at work and daydreaming about not having to carve out quiet time away from everything to nurse her. I also daydream about not feeling anxious about my supply!

Ellen almost seems ready to drop her late afternoon feeding – she just isn’t interested in it! Doesn’t matter if it is from a bottle at daycare or straight from the tap at home – she doesn’t want more than a couple ounces, and would just as soon skip it all together.

So we’re still going strong, but Ellen and I both seem to be starting the weaning process – Her through eating more solids, sleeping more at night, and dropping another daytime feed, and me through adjusting supply and mentally starting to anticipate being “done”.

It’s such an interesting time of rapid change. Not just with breastfeeding, but with everything. I’ve always found that times of rapid change with my children cause me to question myself and whether I’m making the right choices, doing the right things, and providing for my children’s needs appropriately. It’s hard to keep up! As soon as you figure it out, they’ve changed again and you’re back to square one! It’s a lot of fun, but a lot of work, and very taxing!

Happy 9 monthday, Ellen. You make me feel so happy!


Hi! Long time, no write!

Lots has been going on at our house this last month! Today’s post is to update about a big financial move we made. Namely, we took out a home equity loan! Our home value increased to the point where this was possible, and we decided to pursue it to solve a few problems.

The money is intended for a combination of financially responsible items as well as lifestyle improvements that we deemed worth the financial risk of taking money out of our home’s equity.

Financially Responsible

1. Pay off credit card debt (again). And dammit, this time we’re going to keep it down. Seriously. I mean it!

We’ve paid it off and let it creep back so many times that it’s embarrassing. But I think we’re in a better place financially overall now, so maybe (no, definitely!!) this will be the time it sticks. We’re keeping the cards open since they’re a good safety net for emergencies, but seriously… just for emergencies!

Ok… and for cash back points too. We’re going to keep using them regularly, but only for things we can pay off immediately after purchase with money we already have in the bank!

2. Pay for a home appraisal to remove the mortgage insurance from our main mortgage. It is a small fee, but it will pay for itself through the saved money within about a year. We elected to do this to get rid of the mortgage insurance instead of getting a cash-out refinance because of our exceptionally low interest rate on our main mortgage, which we don’t want to lose! Better to pay the higher interest rate only on the equity loan rather than the whole mortgage, and we can get rid of the PMI anyway!

3. Home improvement project – This is a combo item – financial investment and lifestyle improvement.

The plan is to blow out the big window between our kitchen table and our backyard so we can actually access our outdoor space, and then build a deck. We had originally planned a quite elaborate deck, french doors, and plumbing natural gas to the BBQ. But we’ve revised to a more realistically sized deck, a slider, and no natural gas line. It’ll still be wonderful, and it should improve our enjoyment of the house as well as add some value to the home.

4. We paid off my car! Together with paying off the credit card, our monthly bills are significantly lower, theoretically enabling us to more successfully live within our means.

Lifestyle Improvements

These were tricky to pull the trigger on, as they needed to be impactful enough that they would be worth borrowing money from ourselves (plus interest!) to do them. But we feel we created a good list of things that will really make a difference in our lives.

1. Lasik eye surgery for me! No more glasses! I could write a novel about why I am looking forward to tossing my glasses in the trash, but I think you could probably guess my reasons!

2. Purchasing another car. This new car will be Kyle’s “daily driver” so his fancy, gas-guzzling racecar can sit in the garage (sigh… I knew this was coming from the moment I met car-loving Kyle).

I took some convincing, and I still wish Kyle’s gear-head tendencies didn’t require this, but the thought here is that 1) we will save money on gas, and 2) Kyle can stop putting 17k miles a year on his “future collector’s item”, therefore avoiding expensive repairs and declining value, in favor of putting those miles on a very simple car, mechanically speaking, so future maintenance should be straightforward and (hopefully) easy on the wallet.

This, of course, predicts that the racecar will actually increase in value someday due to its rarity. Time will tell, but either way, Kyle loves that car and this plan preserves it.

He already has a deposit down on his new-to-him car, and he will be flying to LA this coming weekend to purchase it and drive it home. It is (I kid you not) our third Ford Focus! We already own two (Kyle’s RS and my Titanium), and now Kyle is purchasing a 2004 Focus SVT. It has only 48k miles on it (only 3.5k miles a year! wow!) and seems to have been well maintained. Plus it fits the requirement of being a “nuts and bolts” car, hopefully inexpensive to maintain.

3. New wardrobe for Kyle. He recently expressed that his closet seemed to be full of things that didn’t fit, referring both to physical fit and style fit. It has been many, many years since Kyle did a huge overhaul, and a lot has changed since the last time. So he’s overdue!

Overall, we’re super excited about the plans, but also hoping that we’ve been thoughtful and careful enough so as not to cause ourselves any issues.

I love being a mom.

I’m toast. Ellen was so sick this week that I had to miss two days of work. I was so sick overnight last night that I missed the entire night of sleep. Lewis threw a 30 minute tantrum over God knows what earlier. There are piles of laundry everywhere – both clean and dirty – and every time I do the dishes there are enough left over to fill a second dishwasher.

Not to mention the cleaning lady couldn’t come this week because of Ellen being home sick, so my house is not just cluttered, it is actually dirty.

I’m so tired and overwhelmed that I don’t really understand how I can feel this happy. But I’m sitting here, rocking my daughter to sleep for her morning nap, and I am. I’m happy. And I love my babies. And my sweet husband. And this life we have together. It’s a mess, but it’s so good.