Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby's first Christmas

It's been a really good year for us. Just look at that little girl!

Christmas Eve and morning was spent at my parents house. Norah already has her own stocking and got her first pair of Christmas Eve pajamas. Grandma and Grandpa went all out and spoiled her rotten with an incredible baby hiking backpack, books, and toys. It was so much fun to have my mom and dad help her open presents and to be there for Norah's first Christmas. Nic and I were also incredibly spoiled. Thanks Mom and Dad for all you do!

We had Christmas dinner with the Stewarts, so Norah got to see all her cousins with all their new toys. It was a noisy, excited, happy bunch of kids. It reminded me of when we would go to my Granny Wilcox's house on Christmas Day when I was little. I would always take a favorite new toy to show my cousins. I love that Norah has so much family so close to make those kind of memories with. Not that she'll remember any of this year.

I'll get pictures soon. Although I do have this picture of where Norah slept on Christmas Eve:

Can't tell where she is? How about now?

She's in a drawer. I forgot her Pack 'n Play and so she spent her first Christmas in a drawer. A drawer. Nic has already assured me that he's going to tell her about it for the rest of her life, so I thought I might as well put it out there in the universe. But it was a very cozy drawer, just for the record.

Besides family parties and the like, we didn't do a whole lot of Christmassy things. I didn't even put up a tree. My attitude is that I have very limited time left until things like trees and lights and presents that are actually wrapped really matter--so I'm enjoying my last few lazy holidays. We did venture out into the cold once though. Really it just gave me an excuse to get Norah all bundled up and adorable and take some more pictures of her wide eyes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

On working

It's probably because I'm in Utah, but as soon as people find out you're having a baby they assume you'll be a full-time mom. And maybe it's just me, but it seems like when they find out that you'll be going back to work, they feel bad for you (and probably pity your child too).

I'm not trying to get into a debate about what is best for whom; all I can say is that I am so much happier being back at work.

My maternity leave was awesome, but it was also a huge challenge. Something about not having a lot of structure just isn't good for my mental health. It was hard getting up in the morning and having what seemed like an endless day in front of me and at the same time not knowing what all I should do. I think the best word I could use is daunting. One day I even scrubbed the tile grout in my bathroom with vinegar because I heard somewhere that that's a good way to clean. I'm just not good at being home all day.

But still I always feel kind of defensive when people find out I work. I feel like I have to explain that sometimes we don't know when Nic is going to get a paycheck. Or Have you met my husband? You live with him for a year and see how you'd feel if you didn't have health insurance. And so on.

In truth, I feel blessed beyond belief to have my job. I work six hours in office and then the rest at home. On days when I feel Norah really needs her mom, I can work from home all day. For me, it's the perfect arrangement. I also have to say that I'm incredibly lucky to have friends and family who watch Norah so I never feel like she isn't being loved or well cared for.

I guess my whole point is that I'm discovering that being a good mom is so specific to each family. I know so many stay-at-home moms who rock it each and every day and I've worked with some amazing women who can balance work and family seemingly effortlessly. So good for all of us moms! Girl power and all that.

The only part I could really do without is the getting to the car part in the morning. Once I gather my purse, phone, lunch, Norah's diaper bag, car seat, her chubby little body, and convince the dogs that, no, they're not coming with, I can barely get out the door. The only bonus is that Nic has been shoveling the driveway religiously because he's scared I'm going to trip and fall to my death with all the excess baggage.

And as if this post wasn't long enough: I get an email from Baby Center each week with an update on my child's progress and they always include a little comic at the end. I got this one a while ago and felt like they totally understood what I'm going through in an oh-my-goodness-this-is-what-my-life-has-become sort of way. So now that I enjoy cheesy parenting cartoons, I guess the next logical step is to find a nice pair of mom jeans.

Monday, December 13, 2010


At six weeks Norah starting sleeping from 8:00 p.m. to around 4:00 a.m. when she woke to eat and then went back to sleep for another four or so hours. The first time it happened I felt like I won a prize. Then she started doing it all the time and I felt like the luckiest new mom on the planet. Then I starting working again. And then she started waking up two times a night. Then three. Then four. Then sometimes five or six.

Problem was I had no idea what to do. I thought that by feeding her I would help her sleep longer; but the more I fed her, the more she woke up demanding a bottle. And the more she woke up demanding a bottle, the less sleep I was getting. Can you see where I'm going with this? Exhaustion. That's where.

I posted something on Facebook and Siouxzy recommend this book:

I read Baby Wise and researched the Internet and asked other parents and all that, but I had yet to find anything that seemed doable for me. Until this book. God bless this book and the man who wrote it. I had heard of Ferber before, but didn't pick up the book because all I knew about him was he's the cry it out guy. And yes, Norah's had to cry it out at night, but it's not heartless and impossible like I thought.

And now. Now, we've gone from five or six nighttime wakings and feedings to zero feedings and only one waking in about a week. One week! I'm a changed woman.

I'm not going to go through all the details of how it works; you can read the book if you're interested. I just wanted to shout to the universe that we're getting sleep again. Glorious, glorious sleep.

And for anyone who still thinks I'm heartless, this clip from Modern Family is for you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

On November

So. November. Ahhh November. If you ask Nic what he thought of last month, he'd probably say that November can suck it.

We started out the month with yet another knee surgery. This one's been a while coming, but I made sure Nic got it done before the end of the year so at least we wouldn't have to pay copious amounts of money for it. Turns out it's really easy to meet your deductible and out-of-pocket when you have an ambulance ride, ER visits, colonoscopy, some other weird test involving dye on your insides, culminating in the removal of your gallbladder. Put it all together and you get free knee surgery!

And no, he didn't take any time off. And yes, I think that is ridiculous.

Nic's also been working on a job in Ogden that spanned all of November and is just now wrapping up. Hence the reason he didn't feel like he could take any time off. It's good because usually this time of year is slow, but bad because he's been working crazy hours and has to top it off with a two-hour drive each way. So basically it's been girls night each night at our house, which is awesome when you're in California, but not so awesome when there's nothing to distract you from a baby who has her first cold and won't sleep.

All of this is just to say that I haven't really been in a blogging mood. But this month is already proving to be so. much. better.

So suck it November. Suck it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Totally worth a minute of your time

You really should, but if you don't read Alissa's blog, take a look at the vacation recap she put together. Then be jealous that I have such an awesome friend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We know how to party

Besides being one of my very favorite people on the planet, Alissa is the best vacation buddy because she is happy to go at Erin and Norah speed--which is slow. We can only handle about one activity per day. But what we do get to do is pretty much awesome. Like hang out and be adorable at Laguna Beach. Seriously. Everyone needs a Norah or an Alice. Put them together and get ready for a cute overload.

I love that you can see all four of us in this picture; just check out the reflection.

And, oh, did I mention that Norah got to go to Disneyland? Now when she's older and telling me how I've ruined her life, I'll just remind her how It's A Small World blew her mind and how she should be grateful to her mother for taking her with me.

It was just a little too loud.

I won't remind her of the Finding Nemo ride though--she did not like that one even a little bit.

All that fun was exhausting.

See what I mean about a cute overload? Whole groups of people did double takes at Disneyland for Miss Alice.

To top it all off, us moms got to make our annual pilgrimage to the So You Think You Can Dance? tour. This year it was at the Staples Center and we were right smack in the center floor only six rows back. I completely lost my voice. I can't even describe how good it was. I'm obsessed. Our favorite dance? This one:

We cried.

Thanks to Jon for watching the kiddos while we went and acted like children. And thanks Alissa, Russell, and Alice for having us. We'll do it again soon!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Norah's first Halloween was more of a three-day lobster fest. Friday it was party at my work; Saturday party with the Stewarts; and Sunday party with Mom and Alexi and off to the neighbor's for more partying.

You can't tell me you've never wanted to just gobble up a baby--especially one this delicious.

By the time we made it to the last party, she was done and done. But even when she wasn't a lobster, she was still in costume: Say hello to our little boy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Now that it's freezing, it is getting more tricky to walk the dogs with Norah when Nic isn't home. And they have to be walked; it's either walk them or strangle them or just open the front door and hope they don't lick a neighbor child to death. (That last option is starting to be really appealing, especially considering some of the neighbor kids.)

Last night was one of those times when I was on my own. I typically try to avoid their gazes as long as possible, but as the evening progresses I can't even walk by the door or look at a pair of shoes without sending both dogs into an Oh-Boy-She's-Really-Gonna-Take-Us-On-A-Walk-This-Time frenzy. Now they've also caught on to the fact that if I get Norah ready to go somewhere, they typically get to go too. So you can imagine their reaction when baby appeared in this:

I think it blew their minds. And hers too, apparently.

So the bunting bag I bought on clearance last year is still a little big. But you guys, it is so warm. I couldn't get her to smile at the camera, but the mirror? She loves the mirror. And those HUGE bags under my eyes? That's because she's decided that she needs to wake up every three hours at night again. I forgive her only because she is so adorable.

But the walk was a success. I didn't have to murder my dogs and Norah was warm and happy the whole time. That means I win.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm only, like, two and a half months behind

So remember how I mentioned Norah's blessing and said that there'd be more to come? Well, here's the more. The hold up was that in my post-baby haze I didn't take any pictures of my own and I just now got some of the pictures that Dennis took.

This first picture kind of sums up how Norah felt about the whole event. And this was even before the blessing, so you can imagine how happy she was afterward. But she did look adorable even though she acted like a turd.

We blessed her on August 1, which was particularly awesome because Josh and Jessica were in town and so were Alissa and Jon. That means that minus Nic's sister, all of our immediate family was there. And yes, Alissa, you count as immediate family.

And I know that I have mentioned the incredibleness of Norah's blessing gown, but oh my goodness, it is incredible. Seriously. Debbie made it out of raw silk, complete with hand pleating and embroidery. Norah's even wearing little handmade bloomers under there. Thank you again, Debbie, it really is a work of art.

I didn't get to visit with everyone as much as I would have liked because of one screaming five week old, but thanks again to everyone who came out to support our little family. We felt very loved.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Remember her?

Poor Moxie. Baby came along and done stole the spotlight. Don't let lack of presence on my blog fool you though. The dogs are still a prominent part of my growing entourage. In fact, wherever me and Norah happen to be, you can typically find Moxie there too. I just have two rules: Watch where you step and no face licking. She's doing really well with rule No. 1; we're still working on rule No. 2.

Sup spent his first year of life with two little girls, so this whole baby thing is old news. I think he's just biding his time until Norah gets enough hand-eye coordination to be able to pet him. Then he'll be her best friend for sure--it'll be like I grew him a whole extra set of hands.

Moxie, on the other hand, is kind of obsessed. That's why we've had to establish the no face licking rule. If Norah is playing on the floor, there's Moxie. If Norah is crying, there's Moxie trying to figure out what's wrong. If we're on the bed with Norah then ooh, ooh Moxie wants to play too--hence the watch where you step rule.

My favorite thing about our little animal family is that these guys are going to be Norah's childhood pets. As soon as she learns to grab, I'm gonna let her get a fistful of Sup and there's nothing he can do about it. And you'd better believe that both those dogs are going to be ridden like small yellow horses.

Oh, and once she's old enough to wield a shovel, Norah can scoop the poop.

This is what I mean about face licking. I take a picture, get ready for the next, and bam. Face. Licked.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Strawberry Reservoir

So before the madness of going back to work and attending my grandpa's funeral, we celebrated (mourned?) the end of my maternity leave by taking the boat and camper out for a weekend fishing trip. Have I mentioned that we have a truck-bed camper with a heater? Because we do. And I am never camping in a tent again. Really, never.

Norah kept up her track record of being awesome in the outdoors, which means we got to enjoy a full night and day out on the lake. When she gets older I think I'll make her kiss the fish like my dad used to. Just because I can.

Thanks to Mike, Emily, and Matt for joining us. You guys are always invited.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Passing on

I'm not sure where to start. My Grandpa Brinkerhoff passed away on Sunday. It's heart-breaking and glorious. Heart-breaking to have him suffer with Parkinson's and dementia for more than a year; glorious because he can finally be at peace and regain what was taken from him.

Maybe it's because I'm still a little fragile from having a baby; maybe it's because I feel so far away from my religion right now, but I was holding my brand new Norah in my arms when my mom told me he died and I just couldn't help thinking that life is a bitch. Not very poetic, is it?

Let me explain. My little girl is perfect, amazing, incredible--every good adjective you could ever think of. I have so much hope and anticipation for what she can become. The problem is that I can't stop life from happening to her. And with life comes hurt, disappointment, illness, pain. What sort of hopes did my grandpa's parents have for him? Certainly not a drawn-out battle with Parkinson's. Does this even make sense?

But here's how I think I'm coming to terms with it: Last week Norah grabbed a rattle and sat there with it in her hand, studying it with those blue eyes that I made in my body, until she finally thought hard enough to get her brain to tell her hand to get that rattle in her mouth. I wanted to cheer I was so excited for her. Just that one moment was pure joy for me. And the thing is: I get to enjoy those moments every day. How excited am I going to be when she walks, talks, goes to school? So just because my most recent memories are of a frail grandpa who was on his way out of this life, that doesn't take away the fact that his life was full of joy too. That's how his death--or anyone's--makes sense to me. Because no matter what bad things happen, life is full of so much amazingness that I can barely take it in. That's why the pain is worth it. And that's why I have every reason to celebrate each moment.

I know this is nothing new, and I rarely get this serious on my blog, but there you go.

On a lighter note, can I just tell you how for years and years my grandpa has always had the same little catch phrases? Things like: "It will quit hurting when it gets better." "When I was a little girl..." [followed by any number of stories]. And "That's a well-kissed cheek!" [said after each greeting and a dozen or so kisses].

And for those of you who don't know, I had a goat when I was little because my grandpa got me one. I honestly don't know why, but I think it's kind of the greatest thing ever--except when it ate the tassels off my Big Wheel. (I wonder what my parents thought.) One time we came home and there was a rabbit in a box for me on the kitchen floor. He also gave me a rooster that my dad ended up giving to a neighbor because it would wake him up at sunrise. And those are just the ones I can remember.

I hope that those are the sort of things that gave him joy, because they sure made me happy. And that's how I hope to remember him.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


The fact that the current hood for Nic's Coronet is warped and the paint is cracking literally keeps him awake at night. Which also makes it fun to point out when I feel like bothering him beyond belief. But of course there isn't a replacement hood in Utah; the closest one was about 1,000 miles away. So instead of just driving there and immediately back like we did in Washington for his '49 Ford, we decided to make a trip of it. Well, actually, we have a child now and can no longer get away with driving all day and sleeping in the back of the truck. So we also bought a truck-bed camper complete with heating, A/C, a queen bed, sink, toilet, shower, and fridge. I'm never camping for real again.

All this for a weekend trip to Oregon to get some car parts.

I predicted that it would either be awesome or be a complete disaster filled with a screaming baby and frustrated parents. Luckily, it was totally awesome and we kind of can't wait to go wherever we're going to go next. Norah was incredible with no freak-outs and she even kept to her normal sleep schedule. I call that a win. Plus we got to spend all day every day with just our little family. So. Fun.

With the help of GPS we found the hidden junkyard of Nic's dreams outside of Portland that is filled with only Mopar cars no earlier than like 1979. Norah doesn't seem quite as excited, but she did get to help Nic pick out his new hood, which to me is adorable.

We camped right next to the ocean. And if you couldn't tell, we were really excited to be on the beach with our baby.

And apparently the deer at our campsite have no fear. I thought this was awesome until it got a little too close for comfort and all I could think about was When Animals Attack. And then when I had to walk down the path by myself in the dark I was sure that I was going to get sideswiped by one of these guys. It made him seem not quite as cute and cuddly.

But I survived and we were all still smiling by the end of our adventure.

I guess that's how it goes when you spend five days with your favorite people.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Five years

Yesterday Nic and I celebrated our fifth anniversary. Our favorite thing to say all day? Four happy years. We don't really count that first year, what with all the misunderstandings, hormone imbalances, and crocodile tears. It wasn't so funny then, but kind of hilarious now in a I-can't-believe-we-acted-like-that sort of way. We were both ridiculous. Silly, silly us.

Thankfully, being married has only gotten better--better to the point where I don't think either of us have ever been so happy. We both agree that this past year has by far been the best too, and that was even with me being pregnant. (I didn't even lose my mind while I was growing an entire person! I feel like I deserve a prize.) And now we have this perfect, wiggly, noisy, funny, beautiful daughter who is so awesome I kind of can't take it all in and we're so excited to grow with her.

Basically, I feel like doing some sort of cheer for our lives right now. We honestly worked our asses off (sorry Mom) to get here and everything has been 100 percent worth the effort. So thanks to all our family and friends for helping us along the way, and thanks Nic for being the best friend and husband a girl could have.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Weighing in

At two months Norah is now 11 pounds 7 ounces and 24-something inches. This was the first time we got the whole percentile thing: She's 75th percentile for weight and 95th percentile for height. Tall like her mom apparently. I wonder if she'll always have to stand in the back row for school pictures too.

Nic had to come with me to get her shots. He held her little arms across her chest and she looked at him like "Oh, hi Dad, whatcha doin'.....wahhhhhhhh! Why would anyone do something that horrible to me? This is the worst day in the history of my life ever!"

Thankfully, my parents live about five minutes away from our doctor so I got some great all-day help. My dad got the worst of it when I slipped out to the bookstore. Norah screamed for the whole 40 minutes. Sorry, Dad, but thanks too. I really wanted that book.

And how much do I wish that big-people thighs and feet were this cute?

As for information that is only interesting to me and a handful of others: Norah is starting to discover her hands to suck on and swat at things. She's no longer the cross-eyed bobble head that she was only a few weeks ago. Her favorite things include looking at books and not being put down. She is super chatty and wiggly and is rarely quiet or sits still.

Best of all: She takes a bath each night at 8:00 then goes to bed and doesn't wake up until 4:00 or 4:30, has a bottle, then goes to sleep for another two or three hours. And she's been doing that consistently for about four weeks, which means that I'm almost starting to feel like a person again.

At this point I'm about down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but after shopping for some new clothes yesterday I still feel considerably larger than I was. I ended up buying some clothes for Norah instead of me. It's fun to buy her a bigger size, but not something that I was prepared to do for myself.

I'm also trying to prepare myself to go back to work in a couple of weeks. But before I do we've got some boating, road tripping, and general not-working-fun-having to get done first. Yay for maternity leave!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Busy, busy

Norah doesn't want to be cuddled or even sit still, she just wants to explore--which is terrifying because what in the world am I going to do with her when she's mobile? Train Moxie to corral her? Put a saddle on Sup?

Right now she's busy working on controlling her bobble head, uncrossing her eyes, cooing, and smiling. I know these little milestones happen to everyone and I don't expect anyone else to be as entranced by her as I am, but can I just tell you how incredible she is? Those little eyes that I made in my body recognize who I am and that little mouth that I made knows how to smile.

I've never been a morning person, but waking up to a happy baby has got to be the best way ever to start the day. My favorite is when she hears Nic's voice and it sends a smile through her entire body. Morning Norah is awesome and I kind of want to eat her sweetness for breakfast with a tall glass of milk. And if I could only convince Evening Norah that life is this good, we'd be golden.