La Vie Quotidienne Feed

Oh hey...It's June.

Yeah, June. huh?

As you can probably tell from my lack of blogs that life has pretty much taken over and much to my chagrin blogging and taking photos has waned. I think about my blog a lot these days. The feeling of an overhaul looms in my mind every time I look at my blog. It doesn't help that we are doing some major demenagement chez nous right now. The apt is in utter shambles but soon it will be a much better living space just in time for my personal organizer to come and help teach me how to keep my apt organized. 

So, I got a new camera today. I know. I know... I have a perfectly good camera. My D200. I intend to keep using it, can't part with it. Love it too much but I don't love how heavy it is. And now that I carry 3 year old treasures in my purse along with 6 months old diapers and baby things there's unfortunately no room for my heavy DSLR. Looking at my photo stream on Flickr it's littered with photos from my iPhone. Fun, yes. Good to print and make memories out of? No. So, I bought myself an Olympus Pen E-P2. It's a perfect compromise between a DSLR and a point and shoot camera. I couldn't bring myself to purchase a point and shoot. They were just TOO small for my hands. I like the feeling of looking through a viewfinder and holding my palm under the lens of the camera. I scoured Flickr for a solution and that when I found the group dedicated to the Pen I had found the solution. It arrived today and I have already shot a few photos. My models were very obliging today.

Here's Alixe sitting in Max's Stokke chair for the first time:

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

Hits me like a ton of bricks at how big she looks here. 6 months old. Her head is ginormous! She just started sitting up last week. The bumbo is obsolete now so we needed to find another solution for her. I casually asked Max yesterday what he thought about Alixe sitting in his chair like he did when he was a baby. He said she could have his chair! And today while I was preparing dinner for Alixe he told me that the green chair is Alixe's char now.  Sweet boy. Now I'm in search of a cool chair for Max. Something fun and colorful and not a Stokke. Any suggestions are welcome! 

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

So, the sweet boy... not so sweet lately. It pains me to write this because he's always been such a sweet, compassionate boy but lately he's been testing his boundaries. It's been now twice in one week he's spat on or towards his assistants at the creche. And today he also stuck out his tongue when the assistant asked him to calm down at lunch. I am simply surprised at all this spitting and sticking out of tongues. I, personally, have never seen Max do this to anyone, child or adult. And even playing he's never stuck out his tongue at me or his father. The only place I can think he learned this is at the creche seeing another child do it. Remember the biting incident when he first started at the creche, Max bit a child because he was being bit by everyone else! I chalk this up to him testing his limits to see what happens. He's very cause and effect these days. He will tell me things like I scare the pigeons and they fly away! Or I push the button and the light turns red so I can cross the street. I assume this is normal three year old behavior but it makes me sad after he goes to bed because I am being hard on him by punishing him by taking away his movie rights, game rights, dinosaur rights and balloon rights. I see how sad he is but I hope he will understand that he can't go around spitting on people. We're getting Mamoo (Julien's mother) in on the loop this weekend. He's supposed to go visit her and at her house will have the same limitations as home. I hope that by Sunday he will have retained this lesson and we won't have any spitting incidents next week. Typing that makes me feel so bad... 

So, a bit of an update. Don't be surprised if things change a bit here. I'd like to do more with my photos and baking recipes (just perfected my vanilla scone tonight) and recipes I am trying out like rhubarb syrup to make my own rhubarb soda!  Also, I have had to put a bit of lock down on how people comment on my blog because I was getting bombarded by spam. So, if the logging in and using a secret code word turns you off from commenting I completely understand. :)

Aaaaaand like clockwork... it's almost midnight and Alixe is waking up for her midnight drink of milk that's my cue to click publish! Good night!




Today's Toddler

Max iphone batman 3yr

Yesterday, Max and I were talking about dinosaurs and dragons. We talk about these things a lot lately and a new thing that Max is into is looking up photos of dinosaurs and dragons on the computer. We open up Google and I type in "Dinosaur", click images. Max navigates the computer using the finger pad and clicking on the photo he wants to look at. From an early age we've used the computer with Max. The television? Very rarely. We have a TV and I can count on one hand how many times I've turned it on since the beginning of the year. We do use the computer to watch videos on You Tube, lots of great Sesame Street clips and if you want to see trains of all sizes and from all over the world. I do let Maximilien watch some TV. I have downloaded from iTunes episodes of The Little Einstiens, Word World, Max and Ruby, Curious George (loves this show!), Madeline and Martha the talking dog.  He picks an chooses which show to watch. I save movies for him to watch with me on weekends. Lately, he's really been into Dinosaur (of course!) and Up. So, yes we do watch "tv".

The iPhone has been a neat learning tool for Max. The educational apps that are coming out these days are plentiful. Some are not as good as other. But some are just excellent and for .99 cts for the majority of them I have no problem investing in a few apps for Max.

Max apps1 MaxApps2
I am excited to see what technologies will come out that my son (and I) will get to experience. I can imagine an iPad being a very cool learning tool. As much as we're all about computers and internet I'm glad to read books and play with play doh and color with crayons. I also love that my son can sit for an hour straight and do puzzles and not get bored. As much as technology will be present in my children's lives I strive to keep a balance. I love that I can leave behind the easy access world (leave my iphone at home) and go outside to the Parc de Choisy and spend the afternoon looking for the perfect stick to chase pigeons and hunt dragons. Parenting today's toddler is all about finding the balance between technological parenting and hands on parenting.

Oh, hi there... I am still here.

My poor blog. I've neglected you so long. It isn't anything you did. It's me no, no... it's actually Alixe. We're still in the midst of poor sleep at our house. Going on nearly 5 months of it I have started to get used to the disoriented feeling I have every morning I wake up and the sort of hazy feeling I have all day long. That being said, life is kinda hard right now because we're supposed to sleep at night and as much as I try to get used to the idea of forgoing this my silly brain can't let go. So these days,  I focus on three things:  Alixe, Max and my business. Sorry, my dear husband... you're in a close fourth. I know, I KNOW.... what a sucky wife I have been lately.

It's really HORRIBLE what sleep deprivation does to one's life. I feel for those people who suffer from insomnia and wonder how anyone could function so long like this. Example of the fragmented sleep we get, last night Alixe went to bed at 8pm. I *should* have gone to bed but had some baking and sewing that HAD to get done. I went to bed at 11pm and she woke up. Baby radar? You betcha. I nursed her and put her back to bed. ONE HOUR LATER, she woke up again. Julien is a DEEP sleeper and did not stir at all. I waited 3 minutes just to see if he'd go to her but nothing happened so I got up. I can't handle Maximilien waking up too at midnight. I nursed her and put her back to bed. She woke up again at 2am, 4am and 6am. The 2, 4, 6 hours of the night must be her magic numbers because she does this ALL THE TIME. Drives me bonkers. I can't let her cry because she's in our room and it DRIVE ME BONKERS. Julien sleeps through it. Bless his heart, I have no idea how he does but can he teach me?? Then on top of all this, I am sick. So, sleep deprivation + sick + nerves raw = disaster. I woke up Julien at 6am and said, "HELP!". He took her into the kitchen and I got a whole 15 minutes of uninterrupted sleep until Max woke up and came for cuddles. As tired and cranky as I am I can't say no to my three year old's cuddles. He likes to draw pictures on my face with his finger when I am trying to sleep. I can't sleep when he does this but it makes me feel so loved so I sacrifice sleep to let him draw on my face. 

Then this morning Ooshop delivered at 7:45am. I had to be up for that. I came out of the bedroom to crying baby, my three year old asking me, "Why, mommy? why is the door ringing" and my husband dashing around getting ready to leave for the day. I stood and watched the scene and thought, "wow, this is my life".

So, things like my blog have been put off to the back burner so to speak... just no time. I had good intention to post a photo a day for a 365 photo book for 2010. Ah, there are a few days forgotten but some how I still manage to take at least one photo a day. *hugs her iPhone*

Photo family collage April 2010

Screen-capture-2

But in the midst of this sleepless madness at our house, Maximilien turned three, Alixe was baptized, we had lots of family come and visit, I got my hair cut (finally!) and ordered I some new exciting yarn for the tea house.

And during the time I typed this blog entry I have gotten up two times to sooth Alixe back to sleep again. She's been asleep a total of 30 minutes. Whoo. It's the little victories that count, right? *sigh*
 


Letting go

55/365 : Letting go

Something that is hard for me to do but very essential to be Alixe's Mama. I have to let go of my expectations of her and go at her pace. I have to let go of my control issues and just be. Letting go means that I stay up until 2 am most nights and just be with my daughter. It means that the laundry sits in the dryer an extra day or two. The dishes don't get washed and I miss a shower. Letting go means I let Maximilien come and sleep with me because he needs to feel reassurance from his Mama. Letting go means forgetting the little things your husband does that annoy you because you know what? It's just not worth getting into it.

I've been feeling better the last couple weeks because I've decided to let go of all these notions of what kind of mother I should be and instead just be me.

The assistants at the creche told me today they are so impressed with how Max has evolved lately. Potty trained quickly. He's calmed down a lot and is much more focused. I have been paying more attention to him lately and I notice he is much calmer. It really proves to me that if Mama isn't doing well then how can her children be well? The month of December was a hard one for us. I was in such a bad place. I am so glad to be out of that and moving forward.

57/365 : Out & About

I hold Alixe now and feel adoration for her. I say, now I feel adoration for her because just a month ago I did not. I felt resentment and anger. It was because I was holding on to too many expectations that I had set myself up for failure.  Today at the mother's meeting I host, we were talking about how no one talks about how sometimes being a new mom isn't all roses and perfection. And it was refreshing to meet some Mamas who like me felt the same dark feelings I felt the first month of Alixe's life. 

If I were to give advice to a new Mama I would say let go of any expectations you may have of your new baby. Just take each day, hour, minute as it comes. Forget the dishes, the laundry and putting make up on and instead just be with your baby.

56/365 : My little thumb suckers

I am okay with staying up until 2am. This past week I have woken up in the morning more refreshed after a few hours of sleep because I know I have nothing expected of me, especially from myself.


It's coming...

Max's third birthday. I can hardly believe it.

Tonight after dinner we made invitations for his friends from the creche that he'd like to invite to his party. He decided on inviting four boys and two girls.

53/365 : It's coming...

As you can probably tell which invitations are for his copain and which one is for his copine. Each invitation was especially made for his friends. I learned that Noé still uses his stroller and that Clement does not and that Guillaume likes boats and cars and he chose hearts and flowers for Sébastie, his girlfriend in his class. He also invited Aude because she's the smallest and Max has become her protector against the other boys. Ah, the social happenings of three year olds.

Trying to catch up with time

I can hardly believe how big Maximilien seems to me these days. In the early days of Alixe's arrival he seemed like a giant next to little Alixe. It made the melancholy I felt in the early days magnify because it became so obvious to me that my first born wasn't really a baby anymore.

44/365 : Home sick and happy about it

Next month he will turn three. THREE. I can't believe three years ago I gave birth to my little stinker that I adore. I mean, I honestly am shocked at how fast time flies. Having children really accentuates how fast it really does pass. Ferris Bueller said it best, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it" My maternity leave ends this month and as much as I really want to go back to work I am realizing that maybe I'm not all that ready to do so. I have the opportunity and the means to stay home a bit longer and I am going to try to do that. Because it's such a short amount of time my kids are little like this and I don't want to miss it. I don't want 5 years to pass and for me to feel like I've missed out anything. I don't want to miss even the littlest things. Max has taken to singing a lot these days. Mostly Christmas carols he learned at the Creche and a few tunes he makes up on his own. His language improves everyday and more more he is losing his baby ways of talking. I know in just a few months time he will have made leaps and bounds of progress but I love trying to decipher his toodlerese for now.


Singing and counting and POURQUOI? from PutYourFlareOn on Vimeo.


Max amazes Mama

So, as I write this I am STILL amazed that in just over two weeks time Max is completely potty trained.

Potty. trained.

Wearing underwear. Refusing the diaper.

Propre as they say in French. 

Not sure how it all happened. We had been trying to interest him in the potty by buying him one of those bells and whistle potties that sing and play music when you go poo or pee. Well, he played with it more than actually using it. Then Alixe came home and there was a click. She's a little baby. She wears a diaper. She poops and pees in her diaper. I'm a big boy and why am I still wearing a diaper? This is what I imagined Max thinking when he'd look at Alixe.

One day he came home from the Creche and said to me, "Mommy, je veux une culotte". I want undies. I broke out his Thomas undies that had been long piled under his PJs and off he went. That first week we had a few accidents because of timing on his part, busy playing and forgot he has to go pee. And then one day about three days into wearing his culotte at home he just started telling us on his own that he needed to go.

And boy did he go! All the time. All hours of the day. Middle of the night trips to the potty were hard but sometimes I was up with Alixe so it worked out alright. And then starting this week he started sleeping through the night without a drop of pee in his pull up. 

Last week, the assistants kept telling us that Max was peeing in his diaper at nap time. Which I found weird because  on the weekends when he'd nap for me I put him in his culotte and he'd either wake up int he middle of his nap to go pee or he'd wake up dry and go afterwards. Finally, Julien was able to get it out of one of the younger assistants that they were NOT LETTING HIM GO TO THE POTTY DURING NAP TIME. And they would tell him to go pee in his diaper! Coincidentally, that week they were doing this he took HORRIBLE naps at the creche and we had the hardest time getting him to sleep at bedtime because he was overtired. I mean, yeah... if I was told to pee my pants and then go take a nap I'd not sleep. And then at the end of the day report time when Julien would pick him up, Max always had notes in file saying that he was agitated in the afternoons. Hmmm... I wonder why?

So, I flipped out a bit. How completely counterproductive, right? Well, I was ready to take Max to the Creche the next day and let the assistant hear me out. But Julien calmed me down and said he'd deal with it. He's good at smoothing things out when it comes to Max. My mama bear-ness just comes out and it's a bit hard to control sometimes. Julien talked the assistants into letting Max go to the bathroom BY HIMSELF since apparently he's one of the few kids in the class that can actually flush the toilet. And since last week he's been getting up from his nap, going to the bathroom and coming back to sleep again all by himself. He even washes his hands by himself.

One of the assistants asked how we got Max potty trained so fast I just told her that we really didn't do anything but provide cute undies (Thomas the Tank Engine - which helped a lot to motivate him to wear them) and ask him periodically like when he's watching TV or playing intensely if he needed to go. And somewhere along the way he figured it out.

Max toy camera dinosaurs

As a reward, we took him to see the dinosaur exhibit at Le Palais de la Decouverte as his reward.  We went out all day without a diaper on him (Julien being the risk taker did not pack a change of clothes in case of accident) and Max used a public potty on his own. Apparently, it impressed him so much that he now uses our toilet without the toilet seat adapter. Not to humiliate my son later on in life I will not post a picture of him on the big potty but it's pretty funny. He's pretty much falling in but he makes it work.

All I gotta say is having one kid in diapers. Yes, yes, yes. thank you very much.


Mama Break

28/365 : Mama break

Churros, good  from my Year in Photos.

I packed up Alixe and went out for a mama's coffee break today. On the way home I found a great book shop that had a wonderful selection of children's books. Must remember to go back with Max.

And I really love texting. I helped a friend decide on a dress today via text and sometimes one word texts are so good because you know you're on the same page with that person you're writing to.

Being out most of the day just proved to me that I need to get out more. Today was gloomy but it felt great getting out and stretching my legs and seeing people. Bring on Spring. I am so over Winter now.


L'Herbe Rouge

1 bis rue d'Alésia

Paris 75014


Little Rewards

14/365 : Little rewards

After the crazy night Alixe put us through last night (6 hours of no sleep from 10pm to 4am) we got this today:

A REAL SMILE. And a laugh!

As much as I am tired and want to throw in the towel these little milestones bring me so much happiness and I crave them.

Speaking of milestones, Maximilien is pretty much potty trained now. He only wants to wear his "culotte" and we have to talk him into wearing his pull up at night for bed. He has done poo and pee outside of the house without any problems. And he wakes up in the middle of the night when he needs to go to the bathroom. This has been the highlight of my week.

I went to see the doctor today and got a clean bill of health. He asked me when I'd be having baby three since the factory is ready to be in service again. I just kinda stared at him and shook my head and told him to ask me again in about 5 years.

I'm disappointed that I am so tired these days. I had intended after seeing my doctor and him giving me the green light on exercising to get started on working to getting myself in shape. I can get into my pre-pregnancy jeans already but need to lose another 20lbs to be where I want to be. I had intended to start tomorrow! But I am too tired. My arms and legs ache from the fatigue. I have migraines and my appetite is poor because of lack of sleep.  So, instead I have new vitamin regiment to follow (to keep me from getting depressed) and I will put off my workout plans for a while.

I'm not feeling too sorry for myself though... Alixe is smiling and laughing! And Max is using the potty ALL BY HIMSELF!! These are the things I will think about when and if I get to sleep tonight.


Fatigue

12/365 - Fatigued

I think we are starting to figure things out with Alixe. It had been a long month and half since her arrival.

The time I spend in the shower is probably the most quiet time of my day.  And I don't get to take a shower everyday! I am sure the mamas out there can relate.

All I wanted to do today was go right back to bed after my shower this morning... wishful thinking from this tired mama.


In search of comfort

Jan 9 - In search of comfort

Maximilien was in a very melancholic mood tonight. He came back from spending the night at his Mamoo's house asleep in his stroller. That was a sign to me that he had not slept well at nap time today.

I transferred him from the stroller to our bed knowing very well that he'd wake up and want to be somewhere he felt safe. "Mommy et Daddy's lit" is probably one of the safest places for a little boy his age. He woke up in tears and clutched on to me for dear life. I just sat and held my baby and waited until he felt better.

Well, better didn't come and he started to cry and hold on to me. I decided that it was PJ and ice cream in bed time with Toy Story to keep us company. I fed Alixe put her in the swing and she fell asleep (for once!). And I had the rest of the evening to devote to my boy.

I've been transitioning myself into this role of mama to two. Frankly, I've been afraid to take care of both kids alone. Fatigue causing a lot of the fears inside me but tonight I just decided no rules, forget dinner and I asked myself what do we need? We needed ice cream, pjs, movies and hugs. Though, we did eat some broccoli before ice cream because Max loves broccoli like it's candy.

Taken from my Year in Photos at Flickr.


Sleep

Jan 4 - Sleep

Ah, sleep. Such an elusive thing at our house at the moment.  But we're getting better at coping with the lack of sleep. It's been a huge learning experience for me this time around with Alixe because with Maximilien I didn't even have to think about sleep at all. He just slept all the time. Alixe needs help falling asleep and then staying asleep. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel and am learning her cues for when she's sleepy. And now that I am feeling healthier and stronger there's a lot of baby wearing going on.

I love this photo because a) she's asleep and  b) the cute thumb tuck she is doing. She's always done this since she was born and I saw a 3-D shot her her hand when I was in the US last summer and she was doing it then too. Every once in a while she'll pop her thumb out and it will find it's way into her mouth and that's even cuter. Maybe she'll be a thumb sucker like her brother. 

This photo is part of my Year in Photos that I am doing this year. May seem crazy that I would commit to a huge project like this but I feel like it's just what I need to keep my sanity intact. I try to find a moment in the day for myself to take my camera and snap a photo. I plan to print each photo from this year and make it into a photo book for myself. I will share bits and pieces of my year in photos here on my blog but won't make a habit of it everyday. I wrote a bit more on my January 1st photo the reasons why I want to do this. If you're curious you can read about it here.  But feel free to check out the set I created on Flickr of my daily photos of 2010. 

By the way, Happy New Year! I hope 2010 is starting off well for everyone. And I just realized that my daughter is one month old now! I owe her a letter. So, I will get working on that one. So much to write about and she had her first doctor's visit and you won't believe how big she is now. I'll share it all in her one month letter very soon.


The Fourth Trimester

Recreating the womb. Alixe & her 4th trimester

I had heard about this concept of the 4th trimester but didn't pay much attention to it when Maximilien was born. I can clearly see now how EASY he was as a newborn. He was pretty much textbook. Had his moments of crying when he needed to blow off steam before settling down for a good night's sleep. For a newborn anything more than three hours is a good night's sleep. For Max, I would have to wake him up to feed him or else he'd sleep for 6 hours if I'd let him. Alixe,on the other hand, doesn't sleep for more than a hour, maybe two hours during the day and at night (her nights start at 2am) she will sleep maximum 3 hours. And this is progress we've made over her first month! Before this she'd sleep for 30 minutes to an hour at a time and wake up and stays awake after that. She's the most awake baby I've ever met.

Well, you can imagine what toll the erratic sleeping of my petite fille has taken on her parents. Julien is faring better than I am since he can sleep through anything. I, on the other hand, am physically in tune with Alixe to the point that when she starts crying and I can hear it (not be in the same room) my breasts start to leak with the anticipation that she needs to feed. TMI, I know. :)

In the midst of desperation and massive searching on Google and asking on Twitter for any advice or new ideas I ran across Dr. Harvey Karp's website for his book The Happiest Baby on the Block. With in minutes of reading about his theories and the behavior of newborn babies, I held Alixe in my arms and was like, "This is my baby!". He talked about the fourth trimester theory and how some babies still need the extra three months of comfort, jiggling and constant noise that the womb provided for the first three trimesters. I immediately got my hands on the video and the book. Thanks to the reviews on Amazon saying that if you are sleep deprived the last thing you want to do it read a book so they suggested watching the video and complementing Karp's theories with the book later when you're sanity has returned. I've already read through more than half the book and so far we're making good progress on the sleep process.

Upon watching the video with Alixe in my lap, I followed along Karp's advice and techniques and IMMEDIATELY Alixe took to these manipulations. I have to say, the first time I saw him settle down a baby using the five S's, it brought me to tears. I simply couldn't believe it.  The five S's as Karp calls them or The Cuddle Cure. And boy, did they work! for Alixe Julien watched the video and immediately after wards took Alixe and applied the techniques and we were able to calm our screaming baby within minutes instead of hours like before. The first time we were successful of calming Alixe we looked at each other and felt like we were the best parents in the world. 

I now understand why my little girls needs to calm down and get herself to sleep. She needs a combination of swaddling, swinging, laying on her side, shushing and sucking. The photo above is her falling asleep with only the use of three of the 5 S's. This is progress because when we started the calming techniques she needed all 5 S's and she needed them loud and hard. Since we've started The Cuddle Cure, Alixe now can stay asleep for more than a couple hours during the day and at night she is starting to stretch her nights a little longer everyday. 

As I type this blog, BOTH of my kids are napping. Mama feels like a million bucks. Time for a shower and a second cup of coffee!

For those of you who are curious, the white cushion that Alixe is sleeping on is called Cocoonababy by Red Castle.


Hibernating

Mama et Alixe

We've been home just over a week now and life is starting to take a familiar routine. The late nights have started as Alixe seems to be a night owl and I repeat to myself everyday, "when baby sleeps, Mama sleeps." As hard as that is because sometimes I just want to knit or have a bit of face time with my husband, I am reminded at midnight when the night feedings begin that I should have taken that nap in the early evening. It's all a new learning curve for me. I have let go of "Max did this when he was this age" type of thinking because all it does it frustrate me because I think it would be easier if Alixe just did what I knew. Talking with a girlfriend on the phone, we reminded ourselves that we have to let go of the comparisons even though they are innocent on our part.  Alixe is a whole different baby. She doesn't get colicky like Max (thank goodness) but she is much more awake and aware than Max was at this stage. (There I am comparing again...) I enjoy the awake time with her but sometimes I run of things to sing and do with her because she's awake for like 4 hours straight sometimes.  I've taken to swaddling her when I notice she's getting tired but fighting sleep. I am finally getting good use out of the Miracle Blanket I bought for Max which didn't work because he was  brut and he'd break out of it. But with Alixe, she likes it just fine. We call her the burrito baby now. 

Snapshot: Wednesday Morning

So, the weather has turned quite cold in Paris. And in turn, we've been hibernating in our apt. Our bedroom has become command central of our apartment. I spend probably 85 percent of my day here, either laying in bed or sitting in the rocker by the heater and window.  Julien has stocked our frige and freezer full of food so that we wouldn't have to run out for anything (except fresh mlik) and we've had continuous pajama days at the Gille house. Maximilien is feeling much better. It turns out he had an ear infection on top of the lung congestion he was battling and was finally prescribed antibiotics for his ear. He is completely smitten with his sister. Everday after the Creche he comes home and immediately asks where Alixe is and goes to see her. We have a routine of him taking off his shoes, washign his hands and then kissing his sister. It's so very cute. Now instead of Mommy getting the first morning kiss, it's Alixe who gets kisses first. 

December 17th: SNOW!

We were teased all this week with low temperatures but no snow! What's the point of it being so cold if there's no snow?! Growing up in Kansas, we always had snow at this time of the year. Always had a white Christmas and probably much to the chagrin of our parents snow days from school! And snow always makes me think about my mother. She loved the snow. Today is her birthday and always for her birthday there was snow. I still have vivid memories of my mother bundling up with a homemade scarf wrapped around her standing at the door waving goodbye to us as the school bus would take us to school. Winter time always meant fires in the fire place, homemade cookies and pies and her birthday. I was down this morning when I woke up. I shuffled to the kitchen to get a drink without even looking out the window. I then came back to the bedroom, scooped up Alixe and walked over to the window and saw the snow. I immediately felt better because I felt like it was a little wink from Omma saying hello. 


Calamity

Well, if having a baby next week on Tuesday wasn't big enough news in our lives Max went off and scared the crap out of us a couple days ago by getting very, very sick. Two mornings ago, we sent him to the Creche, a happy, bouncing boy. That same evening, my husband went to go pick him up and I mean literally off the floor because for the 30 minutes before we arrived he had been sprawled out on the floor with his dou dou staring off into space. He was feverish and then vomited on himself just as we were getting his coat on. 

There has been two confirmed cases of Grippe A (N1H1) at his creche. 

We high tailed it to this pediatrician's office which happens to be right across the street from our apt and then turned us away (!) saying it was gastro. I know gastro and when Max has it and this wasn't gastro. But then again, I didn't know what the flu would do to him since he's never had it. We walked across the street with the instructions of if he had a fever of 39°C for more than 24 hours we were supposed to take him to the hospital because our Ped's office isn't equipped to deal with Grippe A. I watched Max's temperature rise over the next 24 hours from 38.5 to 39.9°C. He would go from HOT to less HOT and just pant and stare off into space. Every once in a while letting me cajole him into drinking some water. And wouldn't let me out of his sight. He grasped my hand with his little, burning hand wanting me to stay with him. We called SOS Medecin to come to our apt at 2am because he had a 104°F temperature that wasn't breaking. Thank goodness they came fast and the doctor took his time examining Max. Everything seemed to say Flu except he was missing the cough which was typical of the Grippe A. He advised us to watch him another 24 hours and see how things. 

Then this morning, Max woke up NORMAL. I laid in bed sleep deprived because I kept waking up all night long checking on him and to see my happy, bouncing boy sitting right in front of me waiting for me to wake up so we go have breakfast threw me for a loop this morning. 

I laid in bed for a few my head spinning at how quickly things changed. Thank goodness for the better and not worse because we all know next week is going to be a big week for our family. But still... talk about complete calamity of the last 24 hours. 

Since Max was sick it threw off my schedule and my to-do lists which included making massive batches of cookie dough for the tea house. But in a fit of despair and stress my husband asked if he could learn to make the cookies. I was skeptical but he had never offered to learn to make the cookies before and I thought, why not. These cookies are hard to make right because there isn't a written recipe (it's my mom's and I learned it by watching her make it through out my childhood) and every person I've tried to teach to make these cookies can't seem to grasp the ratios. Yes, my recipe has ratios and logic in them. The only person who can do it is my brother but then again he has the advantage of eating these cookies ALL of his life, practically. 

So, last night while I was in tears and stressing out, Julien set out to make cookies while I directed him and he did a really good job. And I feel better today knowing that he can do it... then again, thinking about it this morning, he's eaten the original cookies made by mother many times so he has that to fall back on. My little brother can attest to this because Julien once ate an entire jar of my mom's cookies leaving only one for my brother as an after school snack. That was a big turning point in their relationship but I think they've recovered from it. 

So, here's to staying healthy until BB gets here. That's the new mantra for the rest of this weekend. 2 days to go and she'll be here. Tuesday morning is the big day, let's hope for an uneventful weekend until then. 


23 of 30 - One more week....

I'm deviating away from my photo project for a moment. I'm not feel very motivated to pick up my camera. The battery is on charge and I'll just leave it like that for now. 

7 more days

Since last Weds, I've been pretty uncomfortable. Getting up and walking from the bathroom to my bedroom (13 meters) I can feel my uterus contract and I hunch over walking like quaisimodo at snails pace. The most comfortable positions for me are sitting down or laying on my side with pillows propped up around me. 

Listen to me. Aren't you tired of me complaining. I am tired of complaining. 

I can't believe that Tuesday of next week I'll have children. I remember talking with someone at the bakery right after Max was born and talking about "mon enfant" and how it sounded so weird to say that. Just as right after Julien and I had been married and me coming to work and talking about my husband. I was 25 and and talking about my husband to my colleagues. That kinda blew my mind back then...

I'm more surprised with the new terms that I have to start using then the action of executing these terms. When I became a Wife, nothing really changed except that I had a husband to come home to and make dinner for and spend time with. But getting used to be introduced as someone's Wife made me blush. When I became an Expat, I just had to learn to live in a new country and find my little piece of home. But saying that I was an Expat took getting used to.  When I became a Mother, I just followed my instincts and everything worked out fine. But saying that I was a Mother after Max was born made me feel like I should have wisdom before my years. When I became a Business Owner, I again followed my instincts and try my hardest to be as responsible as I could. But the stress of knowing that I was Business Owner is something that I am still getting used to.  And now becoming Mother x 2, I assume that nothing else is going to change from the first time around. If anything, I feel more relaxed and prepared. But saying outloud to a friend on the phone today that I will have children. Made me giggle and pause because wow, I'm going to have CHILDREN. 

When I first got pregnant with BB, I used to wonder if I could love BB as much as I loved Max. I love Max with every fiber of my being. I can feel it when we're laying together talking to each other, playing, eating dinner or just looking at each other. I can feel that he feels it too. But as I type this, inside my heart, I know that I will have this for BB. It's just there waiting to burst out of me like it does for Max. This is why I can't wait until she's here. Not because I am physically drained from this pregnancy. I feel like my life has been on hold for the last few months waiting for it start again. Waiting for us to become a family of 4. Waiting for me to become the Mother to my Children. 

One more week to go, little girl. Your brother is anxious for your arrival. He asks when you'll be here and where you are every morning when he looks into your crib. I think he thinks that when he wakes up in the morning that you'll magically be there.  When you do arrive, it will sort of seem like that for him because I will be gone for a week in the maternity when I go off to have you, BB. But I think you and your brother, Max, are going to be best friends. Yesterday, I caught him singing the theme song to Max and Ruby and instead of singing Ruby he sang your name instead. THIS is why I can't wait for your arrival. Mama is waiting for you....


19 of 30 - Knitterly things

SG SilkMerinoLace_Ultraviolet 

Sweet Georgia's Silk Merino Lace in Ultraviolet. Now available at L'Oisivethé

I haven't written very much lately about the tea house here on my personal blog.  I maintain a blog for the tea house here. And use Twitter and Facebook to post updates of things happening at L'Oisivethé. But lately things have really been taking off for the tea house and it's a part of my everyday life so I should include it in my 30 days. As many of you know, I dreamed of opening my own knit café in Paris. The first year I had L'Oisivethé, I ran only the cafe portion of the business.  Trying to learn every aspect and reworking the work processes to my standards.  I took my time incorporating the knitting portion of the business. I did market research and contacted potential  yarn vendors in the United States and a year and half after I opened my business I received my first shipment of yarn, ShiBui Knits. And 6 months after that my next shipments which increased my yarn stock to include 3 more North American brands, Lorna's Laces, Dream in Color and Sweet Georgia and I'm looking to secure one more at the end of the year. It's a very exciting time at the tea house. Sometimes it's hard to process it all with the arrival of BB happening at the same time. 

After I learned to knit, I'd sit around and fantasize about how it would be so awesome to just sit around and knit for a living. I am not an awesome knitter. I would categorize myself as an intermediate knitter who likes to try new things. As much as I love the actual gesture of knitting I love the who culture surrounded by knitting. Someone said something so true at knitting last night, they mentioned that we may not all be friends in real life but because of knitting we have a common interest and because of this common interest we'll always have something to talk about. It's very true but at the same time, I feel like because of knitting I have had a chance to meet people that I wouldn't normally of had the chance to meet and because of that I have made a whole new array of friends that I enjoy spending quality time with. And all this through what I do for a living... I am very grateful for what I have. I thank my lucky stars everyday. 

One of the French speaking knitters last night announced jokingly, "Ca ya est! le tricot est à la mode! " according to some major fashion magazines who have declared this lately. We all had a nice little chuckle over that because many of us who have been knitting for years already knew this! 


14 of 30 - Change

14 of 30 - Change


There's going to be so much change coming into this little boy's life very soon. We're preparing as much as we can but as much as we wish we could plan it all out, I think we'll just have to take each day at a time. As we approach BB's birthday, Maximilien continues to grow and change everyday. He's such a chatter box. Speaking up phrases in French and English. Mixing the two languages to the delight of both of his parents. 

This morning we went and got Max his haircut at the salon across the street from the tea house.  This is Stephane, my coiffieur extraordinaire, cutting my big boy's hair. It's funny how after each haircut Max seems so grown up yet I still see my little baby in his face. I know that when BB arrives there will be a moment when it hits me that Max really is a big boy. But I still have a few weeks to hang on to these special moments together. Just us. Me and my first born baby.


11 & 12 of 30 days - The 50mm is still on the kitchen counter.

Well, I got caught up in life and my camera was left at home. These days I can't carry much around with me because I'm carrying a 4kg+ baby in my belly. I've been caught up getting the tea house and my staff up to speed before I go off line and have my baby and will be absent for a week. It's still three weeks away but I gotta start now because that's just how I roll. 

We had a huge turn out for knitting last night at the tea house. It was very exciting to see so many knitters in one place. My little tea house was busting at it's seams we barely had enough chairs for everyone. I went and helped out with the dishes and watched everyone knitting around me and it warmed my heart. I watched my dream happening right before my eyes. I silently thanked Omma for her help because I know without her watching over me I wouldn't have been able to do it alone. 

With each turn in my life, I find myself looking up at the sky and thanking my mother for her guidance. I can't explain why I know she's right here with me I just know it. I feel it. I used to write that I would prefer that she be here physically. I think it's something that doesn't need to be said. Anyone who has lost a loved one would prefer that but this feeling of knowing that she is here with me spiritually is a powerful one. And it has helped me get through many difficult times in my life. 

I remember when I was in the operating room having Max and that feeling of panic and dread came over me.  I was panicking and speaking in English and no one in the operation room could understand me. I swear there was a moment when I heard my mother's voice saying to me in Korean that it was okay. over and over again. And right at that moment my doctor leaned over the partition and said to me in French, that it was ok and showed me my pink, chubby baby. Panic and dread faded away and I drifted off into unconsciousness. 

Last night I couldn't sleep. I would close my eyes and have these mini dramas in my mind and be forced to wake up. Talking with my brother today he told me that last night he had slept terribly as well. It was 4 years ago today that my mother passed away. I hadn't been keeping track of the day but somehow my subconscious was. It is inevitable that I think about my mother at this time in my life. I'm about to give birth to my second child and taking that trip of becoming a mother to a newborn again. I think as mothers we inevitable think about our own moms. I remind myself that life is cyclical and that this is all part of my cycle of life. As hard as it is I have to keep on going. I feel her hand on my back guiding me along the way and I know it's going to be okay. 


5 of 30 - Everyday Julien

5 of 30 - Everyday Julien

You guys remember this guy, right? Here we are at Ikea. I think we've been to this place 4 times in one month. We're bad at making lists and always find that we need something else once we get home. There are several Ikeas that are not that far from our house so we can go pretty easily but it's not always easy for Julien and I to go together because Ikea stresses us out. I think it's the fact there's just too much stuff offered and we get overloaded. We used to fight all the time when we'd go but recently we've both decided it's not worth it and we go, get in and get out. And eat donuts and smoothies while we're there because they are mighty tasty. 

But looking at my husband in this photo fills my heart with love because this is my everyday husband. Not the one who gets up and shaves and puts on a suit to look like all the other business types in Paris. Sure, he looks hot when he does that but this is the Julien I prefer. Unshaven. Rough around the edges. My everyday man. 

I am hard on him and I know I haven't been a walk in the park this pregnancy because I haven't felt all that good but I look forward to moving forward once the baby is here and being a better wife. 


4 of 30 - The Fall before the baby

4 of 30 - The Fall before the baby

34 weeks in the only pair of shoes that fit me now. 


Walking home from the La Poste a lone tree in the Parc de Choisy caught my attention. It reminded me of home and how the trees between Olathe and Lawrence would turn yellow, red and orange and make the hillsides look like they were on fire from a distance. 

This is the last fall season before I have two children. I am still trying to get my head around that. We'll go from a family of three to a family of four. And this time next year, BB will be crawling and Max for sure will be jumping his way through the leaves on his way to school. 


2 of 30 - Twice Daily

Since August 3rd, I've been giving myself twice daily injections of this little drug to prevent my body from developing blood clots. Something I developed while being pregnant and something that will go away once BB is born. I wrote about it back in August when it happened. I've given myself 186 injections and still have 84 more injections to go until I'm done. Yes, I keep track because it's not a walk in the park and now I can now see the end is near. 

2 of 30 - Twice Daily

Halloween in France

It really doesn't exist. Halloween is as my friend puts it "Good 'ole American fun" that the French really don't understand. Thought in the last few years I've seen more and more kids dressing up but have yet to have a trick or treater come to my door. I had big intentions this year to throw some kind of Halloween fete at the tea house but being at the end of of pregnancy my energy level has disappeared. Oh well, there's always next year... 

The Creche let us know that they would be doing some activities for Halloween this year and told us that dressing up for the occasion would be encouraged. I quickly made some tiger legs and tail for Max to go with his Tigger hoodie et voila! Tigrou!

Hey don't play with my tail!!

His Tigger tail was a big hit with all the kids. They took turns pulling it. And seeing Maximilien dressed up the other kids wanted to dress up too. The Creche had a costume box that they use at Carnival every year so quickly after Max's arrival the room was full of pirates and gypsies. It was all very cute. 

Luckily, I have a small group of expat friends here in Paris and our kids are nearly the same age. So, Max was invited to his first ever halloween party yesterday afternoon. After having a yummy gouter, my friend, Libby, had arranged with her neighbors and friends for a small trick or treating adventure for the kids. Needless to say that Maximilien caught on quickly. Knock on door, growl and get candy. He loved it. 

Trick or Treat

Even though Halloween isn't a mainstream holiday here in France I'll always look forward to celebrating it with my kids. I have fond memories of carving pumpkins with my parents and anxiously waiting for our dad to get home from work so we could go out and trick or treat. Hauling home pillow cases full of candy and pigging out until our tummies hurt. My brother and I were talking about the homemade costumes we had growing up and it made me smile because I'm doing the same thing my mom and dad did for us. 


The state of our union

I start my maternity leave tomorrow. And I have to say that I need it. This pregnancy has been very exhausting. Even though my life circumstances are different now, I'm working full time and have a toddler to chase after, physically this pregnancy has been much harder on me. The all day sickness I suffered the first three months lasted more like five months and then while traveling to the US I developed a blood clot in my upper extremity. A lot to deal with and all the while juggling being a mama, a wife, an entrepreneur, and trying not to get lost in it all. I welcome maternity leave tomorrow. I need it. 

Us

We had our third trimester scan on Monday and BB is scanning in as big as Max at this time. Based on the length of her leg bones and the circumference of her head she's weight in at 2.1kgs (4.6 lbs) already. I found out that I tested negative for gestational diabetes which was a huge relief since I had a sinking feeling I had it. But not because of the medication I have to take everyday until the end of the pregnancy I must go in every 10 days for blood work to monitor my platelets level. Want to know the best way to cure your fear for needles, well there you have it. One thing that I am glad for is I haven't gained much weight this pregnancy. I think I've gained 6lbs the entire pregnancy which is a record for me. It also makes me worry that something is wrong because I know my body and I just don't do this. 

Something new that has occurred lately is this unnerving sense of doom I feel all the time which turns to utter complete stress for me. I keep feeling like something is going to happen to my business while I'm not there. A fire or we'll be burgled. I keep telling my husband that we need to change the car seat in my MIL's car for Max because I don't feel like it's safe enough for him and i have these dreams that he's in a car accident and something terrible happens. I am sure these feeling of unease are due to the pregnancy and stress of running my own business but I don't know what to do to really deal with them. Therapy? Well, that's what I use my blog for...

On to more cheery subjects, Maximilien is doing great these days. We've transitioned him to a full size twin bed and he loves it. Where as in his make shift toddler bed he looked so big in the full size bed he looks so small. But he's not a baby anymore. He's talking in complete sentences in French and in English. He jumping and climbing higher than Mama would like. He's affectionate and as obedient as a two year old can be. And he's very excited about the baby in Mama's bidon. Everyday he says, bonjour to his sister and calls her by her name (yes, we've found the perfect name!!). And he pays close attention to Mama's bidon so that I won't get too many bobos on it. I medicine I must take for the blood clot is an injection that I administer to my love handles and often they leave bruises. This worries Max and he checks everyday to make sure there aren't any new bobos on Mama's bidon. 

Love

I am preparing myself for the arrival of BB and I know that I won't believe I'm having another baby until she's here. Every night I go and check on Max before going to bed and so the same thing I've done since the day he was born. I stroke his head and tell him that I love him. Kiss his hands and cheeks and smell his baby scent. Soon, I will have two...


Perfectly imperfect

Such is life. We all know it. Sometimes hard to admit and sometimes hard to live. I've been inspired by some of my favorite blogs to embrace the imperfection in my life. Yes, I don't make my bed. I put dirty dishes in the sink and leave them there for a couple days.

  Perfectly imperfect 

 As I type this entry there is a pile of laundry that's been on the kitchen table for a day or so and I keep neglecting to fold it because I'd rather do things like blog. Gasp. :) And you know what else? My husband and I fight. We're not perfect and us fighting shows me that we aren't. And I think I can admit out-loud that I am okay with that. But vow to make us better by working on my little imperfections. 

Snapshot: Monday morning breakfast

Yesterday morning I awoke like clockwork at 7:30 am. My internal Mama clock telling me it's time to get up, play with Max and have breakfast with him. Except that yesterday morning he was at his grandfather's house sleeping in. And there I was laying awake unable to sleep again.

This morning, I awoke to Max snuggling next to me sucking his thumb waiting for me to wake up. He's learned to be gentle waking up Mama and Daddy in the mornings. I can tell he's getting impatient and wants me to get up. He starts giving me kisses on my belly (really zerberts) and that says to me no-more-sleeping-mama!!!

We trek downstairs and have breakfast at the kitchen table. Sitting together slurping our milk from our cereal bowls I realize that I wouldn't change anything in my life right at this moment. 


Snapshop: Monday Breakfast


As I type this blog entry, Max has fished out our old Lite Brite from the floor (whose light bulb has long burnt out) and has pulled out the pegs by color and announcing them to me as I type. In this moment he seems so big to me. As much as I wouldn't change this moment, time is sweeping our lives and changing us faster than we can see. 

Snapshot: Lite brite gets a second life

Max's first haircut

When Maximilien was born he had very little hair. Not even eye brows! As he grew older we could always tell what age the photo was taken based on how long his hair was. Right around 18 months old his hair started to really grow and out came the cutest baby curls. 

Since we've been in the US it's been very hot and Max longer hair was slightly unmanageable and always in his eyes. So, while getting ice cream at Baskin Robbins we decided to pop over the hair salon next door and get his first hair cut. 

We went in with our baby boy with bouncing curls and out came our Maximilien, I'm-not-a-baby-big boy now.

  

Max's first hair cut Undeniably cute but I regret cutting the baby curls


Maybe it's a little foolish of me to regret cutting off his baby curls but I do hope they will come back again. 

When things are out of your control...

Some of you may have been following what has been going on this week through Twitter and Flickr. I still can't understand what has happened so I have decided to write about it here in hopes that someone who reads my blog has experienced something similar.


It started early last Sunday morning, I woke up to a sharp pain in my upper arm. So intense that it made me jump up in tears. It felt like someone had stabbed me in the arm or what my brain thought it would feel like if someone stabbed me. I got up and shook my arm out a bit in hopes that it would go away. Max was sleeping in the bed with me and I didn't want to wake him. I layed down and tried to sleep but was unsuccessful. The day started and we got up to meet with family for morning play and lunch. I ignored the pain in hopes that it would go away. It did not. I endured the pain until the afternoon and I think sometime upon returning to my sister's apartment I passed out because of fatigue and pain. I woke up to the most intense pain I've ever felt. My arm was pretty much incapacitated and we decided to go to the ER. 

After waiting nearly 4 hours to be seen due to other cases that were more serious, I was finally sent for a sonogram of my upper extremity and there they found that I had two clots. One in my internal jugular and another in a secondary artery. Both that run from my heart through to my arm. After that diagnosis, I was wisked away into a room and give medication and told to lay down. I suddenly became a priority patient.  With in minutes, I was seen by a barrage of doctors and specialists and told that I was going to be admitted.  All the while, I only knew they found a clot and that I needed medical attention asap. 

Once I was admitted I was given a drug called Lovenox. Apparent this is THE DRUG to combat against blood clots. And the best one to take when you are pregnant. It does not affect the baby because the drug can't pass through the placenta. I was administered a shot in my belly and later learned that I would have to administer this shot myself twice a day until the end of the pregnancy and 6 week postpartum. And I learned that because of the proximity of the clot to my heart (it is located in my chest on the upper left side) they can not operate to remove it. The only thing that can be done is to take Lovenox to prevent the development of other clots and hope that the existing ones do not break off and go where they are not supposed to. Like to my lungs. 

The OB/GYN specialist who followed me explained that it's highly rare for there to be a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) in the upper extremity like the one I have unless I've had an IV port recently or a blood transfusion.  Both of which I haven't had. The last time I had an IV was two years ago for the birth of Maximilien. I have blood drawn once a month to monitor for toxoplasmosis but that is usually in the other arm and the doctor doesn't believe that it came from that. And to my knowledge I know of no other member of my family that has had blood clots so the only other explanation is that pregnant women are higher risk for clotting due to the pregnancy itself. But the doctor didn't seem to really buy into that either because I would have mostly like developed a clot in my leg and not in my upper body. 

All this scares the shit out of me.

So, this is what I know now....

- BB is just fine. She is active and growing and the blood flow through my placenta to her is exactly as it should be. 

- I have to take two shots of Lovenox for the next 4 months and 6 weeks after birth. A shot that I have to administer myself in MY BELLY. I was scared of needles but not anymore... 

- I will probably have to take some sort of anti-coagulant every time I fly now. The reason being that once your body clots like this it has a tendency to keep doing it. Sounds weird but the doctor explained it to me as like Girls Gone Wild, once one clot shows up and decides to hang around others follow suit.  

- I am now considered a high risk pregnancy and probably won't have too much control on how BB will be born. But this is to be confirmed with my own OB/GYN in Paris. The American doctor told me that I would need to C-Section to birth this baby to make sure everything went alright. 

- And the thing that scares me the most is that this clot probably won't go away. And it's in my chest and near my heart. The doctor reassured me that it's much more dangerous to have one in your leg then your chest. Because the risk of pulmonary embolism is much higher but still. It freaks me out that it's right there in my chest. 

I did some quick research of giving birth while on Lovenox especially VBAC and found a thread on Baby Center that was interesting.  I have a lot of researching to do on my part and am anxious to get home and see my own doctor which will entail getting on an international flight again. I am scared. 


So, there you have it. Our vacation so far. Whoopee. 

Anyone who has an experience on DVTs, giving birth on anti-coagulants or any word of support is very welcome. The power of Twitter is amazing. Someone sent me this tweet the day I was released.  But for now I don't even know how to get my mind around all that has happened.  

 

We're exhausted but at least we're on vacation...

We're arrived in St. Louis safe and sound and have done what we intended to do. Nothing. It feels good but at the same time a little wrong because just last week we had so. much. to. do. I almost feel guilty not doing so much. But I'll get over. So far we've had breakfast, slept in as much as we can and have gone shopping. Maximilien is enjoying himself very much. My father and his wife bought a really nice kiddie pool for the back patio and everyday at the crack of dawn we hear, "Pool? pool"? 


No doubt that Max is having fun on his vacation

I'm coming to realize how much Max's nursury school tired him out! We're going to KC this weekend for a big family fête and when we return to St Louis I will be looking into some classes for Max at The Little Gym or Gymboree. He just needs to run and play hard. But just being here for a few days already, I have noticed Max using more English words. It's very interesting to hear the transition and it makes me grateful that he has this opportunity to speak the languages of his heritage. 

20 weeks

I'm at 20 weeks in this pregnancy and finally things are starting to take a turn for the better. I've only thrown up once this week. That's pretty good. I'm starting to sleep better now that Maximilien has decided that sleeping in his own bed is cool. And summer pretty much passed us by here in Paris so that means I'm pretty comfortable physically with this pregnancy. BB is really moving around a lot especially right after I've eaten something. I just downed a huge glass of chocolate milk (haven't had a glass of this since I was like in 6th grade) and it was so good. Other than the urge to drink lots of milk and eat yogurt all the time I haven't had any other cravings. In all honesty, my appetite has been pretty non-existent so far. I pretty much tell myself to eat a little through out the day because I want to keep my energy up. Speaking of energy, mine is back. And that means I can actually work again. For a couple months there I'd drag myself to the tea house to do the morning preparations and back and by the time noon came around (starting around 9am) I was dead tired. But now I find myself working away the morning and still wanting to stick around the tea house and work with my employees. I've had to hire a full time people to replace me during the week because it was not possible for me to keep working 65 hours a week and get through my first trimester. 

Lately, I've been listening to a podcast called Pregtastic. And have found it very entertaining and informative. Today, I listened to an episode about VBAC after cesarean. I am hoping to go this route with this baby. My doctor supports me on this and honestly, I feel that this baby is going to be a different size than Maximilien. You remember that Max was 4.945 kgs (10.9lbs) at birth. And at all stages of my pregnancy with Max I was just HUGE. So, the decision to go with a cesarean was made. Of course my doctor presented me with my options (which did include a vaginal birth) but being inexperienced and sort of naive about having a baby I decided on the cesarean. I don't regret my decision because Max came out perfect and everything worked out fine but I do feel like I deprived myself of my womanly right to have a baby as nature intended me to and I really want to experience that. While on vacation in the US, I plan on stocking up on books to educate myself about VBAC and preparing myself for a different kind of birth for BB. 

I leave you with an interesting thing that happened to me recently. Shortly after getting pregnant again, I started to wear my maternity/nursing tank tops again. They are just so comfy and underwire bras are evil when your breasts are huge. I was wearing one in the presence of Max and the latch for the bra portion happened to unclip. It makes a distinct clicking sound. Upon hearing this sound, Maximilien looks at me and exclaims, "Lolo?!" Lolo was the code word I used while I nursed him for breast feeding. I'd ask him if he wanted to Lolo or if he wanted to drink from the Lolo. I didn't want to be heard in public saying "do you want the boob? or Do you want to drink breast feed?" It worked well for us. No one knew the better. Until a few months ago, I had assumed that Max had forgotten completely about the Lolos. But I was wrong. Upon hearing the sound of my nursing tank top clip open, he immediately knew what that sound meant. Makes you wonder how far back he remembers at his young age? 

And finally my latest belly shot:



BB: 20 Weeks


20 weeks where I feel like I am more at 28 weeks. As of two weeks ago I hadn't gained any weight in this pregnancy but I feel that has changed now with all the chocolate milk and yogurt I've been eating lately. We'll see on Monday at my big 2nd echographie and get another good shot of our girl. 

 Here, Max is trying to drive his tractor on the baby just an older brother would do, right? 

Pregnancy productivity

or I should say creativity. 


Something about being pregnant and working on a knit project just is a perfect match. The process of making something that I will wrap my baby in when she's born brings enormous comfort to me. I hope this blanket will do the same for her.  

I recently learned how to crochet. And I mean in the most basic form that I can make a chain and then do one technique over and over again. Thanks to a sweet gal who attends TricoThé every week she has taught me her wisdom of crochet and I have started this baby blanket for BB. Baby blanket detail
It's very similar to the granny squares that most of us know. I mean I'm sure each of our grandmothers had some version of a blanket like this draped over their couch. I decided to use some lovely Rowan hand knit cotton in an array of bright colors. Something soft and colorful for this our baby who will be born in the middle of winter. I've been averaging about two hexagons an evening before bed and hopefully over summer break I will make some progress on the blanket.

Anyone looking for an easy patch work style blanket to do I highly recommend making a crochet blanket. It's an easy project to keep as an ongoing project while working on other things as well, like baby sweaters.

I have to admit...

that I am not enjoying this pregnancy very much. Besides being riddled with hellacious nausea the first three months, I haven't been able to sleep very well lately and my body just feels completely taken over. I keep reading and hearing from friends that this is what a pregnancy with a girl baby does but I guess I just didn't really expect things to go the way they have. I mean I can't help but compare everything to my first pregnancy. I think its normal that we do this and pretty hard for us to avoid considering everyone asks me on a daily basis how this pregnancy is going compared to first. 

I saw a friend today who I haven't in about 4 months or so. She had no idea I was pregnant and she asked me if I were sick because I didn't look very good. Nope, just pregnant. She shook her head and remarked that's why I looked like I've gained weight. Thanks, friend, for so nicely telling me that I looked fat. Funny though, I haven't gained a kilo since I started this pregnancy. But putting on a skirt that I wore pretty frequently while pregnant with Maximilien I noticed that my butt looked bigger as I pulled my black maternity tank down over the top of my bum. 

And the heat... oh man, the heat. It's currently 29°C (84°F) in the apt right now. We own one fan and it's blowing into our room where Max has decided he'd rather sleep these days. The heat isn't helping things. I do find myself lingering in the yogurt and cheese aisles at the grocery store but besides that none of my daily haunts have la clim so I will have to go out of my way to find places to cool off. I thought about the pool today but walking home after doing morning prep at the tea house and seeing the line go around the building and down the street pretty much turned me off from that idea. And then I remembered going to the pool with Max and the craziness that the French public pools could be. 

In a positive light, Max is completely obsessed with my belly and babies. He tells me everyday there's a baby in there. The assistants at the creche know that I am pregnant now and talk with him about it. They were excited to get out their collection of books about becoming a sibling and new babies in Maman's belly. Today, I went to pick him up from the crèche and I saw Max pushing around a baby in a pousette. One of the assistants told me that he had been telling all the other kids that this was his baby. He would hold the baby and then put it back in the stroller and sing songs to it. Talk about total explosion of my heart.

  18 weeks 
   

But standing in the mirror tonight in my favorite striped skirt and black tank I looked and felt like I was starting to look pregnant. I am definitely carrying this baby differently. With Max, I carried him out in the front  and with BB it's more of a fat tire thing going on with my whole mid-section. I can feel her kick and sometimes kicking in my back? Anyone else feel that? Maybe my placenta is placed in the front this time. I'll have to ask my doctor about that. But those little love taps make me happy and I quickly forget about how uncomfortable I am this time around. But still... I find myself counting the weeks until the finish line. I'm 18 weeks this week, indigestion and all. 

My two year old takes care of me.

If my hair was longer...


If my hair was longer he would have been holding my hair back for me. I got sick again tonight and it caught me off guard. I was changing Max's poopy diaper and I guess it hit me harder than I thought. I rushed to change him and put him down on the floor and rushed to the other end of the apartment to the bathroom making it just in time for the sick to come up. I hear the pitter patter of my toddler's feet in the hallway and the faint calling, "Mommy?". There is worry in his voice. 

I am hunched over the toilet heaving and unable to move. My son comes and rubs my back and says to me, "Mommy malade?" "Mommy malade.". The first time a question and the second time an affirmation. He repeats it until I acknowledge that he's right that Mommy is sick. He stood there quietly with his hand on my back until I was done. I washed my face and rinsed my mouth and scooped up my little man. Without hesitation he swooped in for a big kiss and a hug and whispered, "Mommy malade".

He understands that there is a baby in my tummy. He doesn't understand that the baby is making mama sick. I haven't explained that to him and don't want him to associate the baby with Mama being sick. He's gone from his days of imitating me being sick to sympathizing with me now. I do appreciate that a lot. 

I am always in awe at how compassionate my son can be. He is always concerned when there is a child crying at the creche or the playground. When we watch the Tigger movie he always gets upset when Tigger is crying and comes close to me to cuddle and find comfort. And instead of him seeking out comfort in my arms he comes and gives it to me when I need it the most. I am grateful for this and know that he's going to be a great big brother to this new baby. 

Here I am staying up late when I should be trying to get some sleep. I should follow my son's advice he gave me when I put him to bed tonight. He leaned in and said to me, "Mommy est malade. Mommy fait dodo". Yes, Max... mama is going to bed now. 

.Us.

I sat and watched Maximilien built his train track and for the first time today he figured out how to make the track into a circle without asking Mama for help. I was so impressed to watch as he tried out different pieces, turning them so they would fit taking out long straight ones to replace them with curved ones so that his train could run its course. 


Train track that he built himself

I snapped this shot of him right after he big accomplishment and inadvertently I caught my belly in the shot! As you can see our family is growing. As sad as I am that Max is growing out of his babyish ways I will have a new one this winter to fulfill those tiny shoes again. I can't wait. 

In which I speak French on French TV

Screen-capture-2
A month or so ago France 24 came to interview our knitting group, TricoThé, that meets at the tea house every week. The journalist was looking for knitting groups that met through out Paris and wanted to talk about the phenomenon that is known as Le Tricot that is becoming à la mode in Paris. 


You can view the newscast here. And unbelievably I was having a decent French speaking day. Though it took several takes and some coaching from the journalist because apparently there were certain things she was looking for me to say but over all I think it came out pretty well. I was very excited to see the tea house get some great exposure from this and this will help to transition my tea house to a knit café. 

Kerfluffle

But in a good way.

That's pretty much how my life has been for the last few weeks. Bouts of nausea that kept me pretty much laying down most of the day and then the excitement of old friends coming into town have occupied me the last couple weeks. Now we have an "empty nest" as our friends have left (we miss you guys!) and I am filling the void with lots and lots of administrative work that needs to get done. But during this busy time, I hardly had the chance to notices that the pregnancy nausea has disappeared. Where as just a few weeks ago I dreaded waking up for the last week, morning have have been better and my I feel my appetite and energy level coming back to normal again. 

Maximilien got to spend two full weeks with my friend's daughter, Rowan, who is practically the same age as Max. They spent the entire time sharing everything, exchanging languages, running up and down the hallway in our apt and hugging and kissing each other everyday. I only wish that my friends and I lived closer together but we look forward to our next big visit next year but this time in the US. Up until my friends arrived I had worried about Max's level of exposure to English. While I don't doubt at all his level of comprehension in English ( I only speak to him in English) I was a little worried about his English expression. He only speaks French at home (and at the Creche) with a few words in English peppered through out his 2-3 word sentences. But after spending two weeks with his American (girl)friend I can easily say that he's upped his vocabulary in English by 20-30 words. Just last night, he was telling me about going up and down the chair something he never really expressed before hanging out with Rowan, who said this to us at least 100 times a day. :) I look forward to our month long visit in the US and am excited to experience the new development in his English vocabulary.

The new baby who I am calling "BB" or BéBé is doing well. Last week, BB was measuring over 5cm so I suspect this week near 7cm. I can tell that some growth is going on in my belly as my pants don't really fit anymore and that at 14 weeks of pregnancy I am much bigger that I was with Maximilien. I am a bit disappointed in myself that I am starting out this pregnancy 10lbs heavier than I did with Max but I am happy to report that in the first 3 months of this pregnancy I haven't gained any weight. Oh, my doctor might be disappointed with me when I get back from the US with an extra 15lbs on me. Home always means eating foods that I miss... like baked beans, ribs and all the fixins. My father has been warned that I intend on eating BBQ at least once a week while I'm home.

Speaking of going home, we have booked out tickets for our big flight to St. Louis in August. This will be the first time in 6 years that I have been home to the midwest during the summer. I am afraid that I have forgotten how hot it will be but rest assured there will be good 'ole AC and I am betting that Julien, Max and I will come down with colds because we're not used to AC. But I think we'll survive.... I am looking forward to seeing family in Kansas and Nebraska and catching up with old friends, especially ones who may be having a baby very soon (Hi Lainey!).

There's a mini update on what's been going on around here... I have lots of photos to post and more things to write about. But for now I feel like going to pick up my boy early with a box of popsicles and going to the park to pick wild flowers.


Transitions

Bedtime for the last couple weeks has been hard. Maximilien insists on reading books and then falling asleep in our bed. In the beginning, we indulged him on this.  There really was no way to crawl into his crib and read him books in his room so it was our bed for the final step of his night routine.  He's a snuggler and likes to have a doudou or two and he hand picks out 6 or 7 books to read. And every time when I finish the last book he announces, "Do do, Mommy" and cuddles in for the night.  I've been so tired the past few months when Max's bedtime rolls around I am pretty much ready for bed too so there we are snuggling and falling asleep together. For the first week, we were able to scoop Max up and put him in his crib without him noticing. This last week, he minute we'd move him he's wake up and put his baby sleeper grip on our necks and wail, "No, Mommy... Nooooooo!". Of course, me being the softie I give in and  take him back to our bed. But then the sleepless nights for Julien and I started happening. Let's just say that Max is a pretty agitated sleeper. One moment he's sleeping soundly and then next you know he's sitting up (asleep) turning himself around and it's his feet in my back and his head in Julien's.

After three nights in a row of this we had had enough. We put him in his bed and let him cry it out. Parents to toddlers can agree with me on this that 2 year olds can cry for a freaking long time.

Two nights ago, out of desperation and obvious need of sleep for Julien, especially. I shut myself up in Max's room and held him like a baby and rocked him to sleep. As he was falling asleep, I asked Max why he didn't want to sleep in his bed. He pointed to it and said, "baby".  And I responded, "Max is a big boy and wants to sleep in a big bed like Mommy's?" And he said, "Oui". Ah, sweet communication and understanding.

Max's "new" bed

Julien took off the gate portion of his crib last night and for the first time in a long time Max slept in his own bed. Upon showing him his "new" bed, he crawled right in and laid down. He did fall out once last night. After a few minutes consoling him and lots of hugs he was ready to go back to sleep.  

Today, he napped like a champ, grabbing his father's pillow to take to his bed. And he did not fall out of his bed today. He woke up and played quietly for 30 minutes before calling for me to come and get him since he still hasn't figure out how to open the 70 year old door knob to his room. 

Tonight, I read to him in our bed, we snuggled and talked about the new baby, I sensed he was drifting so I asked him if he was ready to go to his bed and after contemplating the question a few seconds, he whispered, "oui, mommy".

My baby is becoming a big boy...


Taking a little break from the baby talk...

So, we're booking our tickets for our flight home this summer. Our plan is to spend the entire month of August with my Dad in St. Louis and will probably be driving to Kansas and Nebraska to see family and friends. Talking with Julien tonight about the purchase of the tickets, he looks at me with a serious face saying, il faut qu'on discute cette histoire de Swine Flu. We need to talk about the Swine Flu.

The first I heard of this was last weekend when my mother-in-law dropped Maximilien off and mentioned with a very serious tone her worry about La Grippe Porciné. I have had my head in the toilet (literally) for the past month so I had to ask what that was? And she was surprised that I did not know that my beloved state of Kansas had two confirmed cases.

So, here I am opening up a little discussion here to get a better feel about how you feel about this Swine Flu. I know a lot of people who read my blog live in the US and I am hoping that I can get a better idea from you what you think rather than listening to the media. I've tried listening to a few news broadcasts but get put off because they make it sound scary using words like, pandemic. And the mama bear in me is worried for Max and myself being all newly pregnant.  When people talk about it with me I feel like like the odd person out because I am NOT freaking out about this.  And it's like everything, I already have a ton of things to think about do I need to worry about this too?


The post that I wrote in less than 5 minutes and did not proof... but hopefully you'll understand...

I've been sitting here for a while watching an old episode of Star Trek, you know the one where they are stuck in that time loop and keep experiencing the same day over and over again which ironically reflects what I've been feeling day in and day out for the past two months. So I show you this:


Here we go again....

And just tonight I am pretty sure that I felt the baby move for the first time. I'm at 9 weeks, so it's possible.  I know it's a bit early to be announcing it to the whole Internet and all but I figure through the good and the bad it will be nice to be able to write about it openly.

Right now the bad? All day violent nausea. Where with Maximilien my daily barf average was around one or so... with this baby, I've had to tubs in each room and carry plastic bags with me in my handbag. Car trips have been put off completely. And laying down as much as I can a daily requirement.  Where as with Max greasy cheeseburgers from McDo were the trick. With this baby... nothing does the trick. So, for the past two months I've been continuously nauseous and hungry.

The good? We are over the moon to be going on this baby adventure again.

Differences do far? Working and being pregnant. I'll write more on this later... if you'll excuse me, I have a very pressing matter to attend to...


Breaking the seal...

of silence.

I know. I've been a bad, bad blogger. I feel it too. I miss my blog. I miss writing my thoughts down. I have so much to write and I promise to get to it all very, very soon.

The tea house is a year old now! I can't believe that I just typed that. To celebrate we have decided to close on Mondays. We said we'd done one year of being open seven days a week and our analysis of the year says that Monday is the day to close. 'Tis so very French of us too... =)

And in an effort to get out and walk to parts of Paris that I haven't walked to before or in a very long time I am starting a new category on my blog called "Where in Paris am I?". I will post a photo on my blog (hopefully once a week) of a place I am in Paris and have you my readers guess where I am?


Where in Paris am I?

For a bigger image click here. Good luck and I'll post a hint if you need it... :)

Consider the blogging silence broken...


Two Years

Dear Max,

You are two years old today. Typing this out makes me pause for a moment and think back to your birth day. I remember not being about to sleep at all the night before. Knowing the day you were going to come into this world had been a comforting thought. I was excited for your arrival and sleep was the last thing on my mind. The end of my pregnancy wasn't the typical count down to your predicted due date instead it was like me being 6 years old again counting down the days until Christmas. You, of course, being the best gift I've ever received. I can remember clearly the day I brought you home. We hadn't bought a car seat for you yet so your Dad drove home my luggage and your bags while I walked you home from the clinic in the stroller. Looking down through the window in the canopy you looked so tiny. Today, you can turn and reach your hand up to mine and the days of being a stroller baby are rapidly coming to an end.

The day I brought you home, I remember riding up the elevator with you snuggled in my arms. You were awake and very alert. You were taking in all the new surroundings. I paused at our front door and told you, "welcome home, my son". Today, you know how to use the key to unlock the door to our building. You dash over to push the button to call the elevator. When we arrive at our door, instead of me being the one opening the door for you, it is you that demands to be the first one in.

Last night, I picked you up early from the Créche so we could go kick dirt together and chase pigeons in the park. "Bird" and "Tree" and "Woo woo!" (for dog) are a few of your favorite words. I stood back and watched you run, trip, pick yourself up and go again. My big baby is becoming a big boy. I ran after you so that I wouldn't miss a moment of our afternoon play date. Know that I will always be running after you, my son. We fell asleep in Mama and Daddy's bed tonight, you wrapped your little arms around me and hugged me. Patting my back and holding me tight as you fell asleep. The grip loosened and I snuggled you close.  I whispered in your ear that I'll always be here for you because I am your mother.

I try to remember my life before I became a mother and it's all starting to become a blur.  Being a mom to these past two years has really shown me that I have found my path in life. I am grateful for this gift you have given me, Max.


2 years of Maximilien from PutYourFlareOn on Vimeo.

I made a little photo video for your birthday and it was such a pleasure because each photo took me back to the day each moment was captured. One photo for each month of your life. With Shel Silverstein singing one of my favorite poems of all times.

Maximilien, you are loved. Your father and I are so blessed to have you in our lives. Do you know that every night before we head to bed we go into your room and watch you sleep? Smiling, we watch you as you dream... the love we have for you washing over us ten fold.  Never in a million years would we have thought that we could love someone as much as we love you.  

Happy, Happy Birthday my boy... 

Love,

Mama


Word storm

Max talking up a storm

It's started...the word storm. Everyday Maximilien uses new words to express himself.  Instead of grunts and pointing we have words!!!  Each morning for the past couple months there's an explosion of words coming out of his mouth so fast that our morning-tired adult brains can't understand.  It's so exciting. I can tell that Max is excited because finally he can express to us what he really wants.  There have been so many new words that I can't keep track how many new words he's used in the last week. Today, he asked for a cookie with a perfectly pronounced "Mommy, Cookie, please?".

Say "Cow"

Up until recently Maximilien would make the sounds of the animals he wanted to talk to us about. Moo, Bââ, click his tongue (for the horse), Mêêê (Fench goat), coin coin (French duck) and just last week during our trip I'd hear him say, "regard! Sheeeeeeep, Mama!" or "hooooooorse" or "gooooooo" (for goat) or "oiseau" (bird)! I then I realize that my son will someday speak better French than his mother and I think, I'm alright with that.  At 23 months, he impresses me with how well he processes the two languages so easily.   Everyday, I look forward to hearing the new words he's learned and the new things he can do. At the créche he is called the puzzle master (and dou dou master) by the assistants. Even still at 23 months old, I feel the amazing grip that motherhood has on me and am loving every minute of it.

 

Off chasing seagulls...

Chasing seagulls

We're back from our week of rest at the sea. A week full of eating plentiful plates of seafood and crepes. Late night knitting and sleeping in until 10am. Chasing seagulls and sloshing around in our beach boots all the while the sea air washing away the wear of the big city on us. Time away always makes me realize how much the city wears on me but being away too long makes me miss my beloved City of Lights. It's good to be back...

Contemplating the sea

As upcoming projects are starting to unfold unravel... March will be a month of great things. A second birthday to celebrate, wedding anniversaries, family visits and a great new direction for the tea house.


My little dreamer...

My little dreamer...

Life is a bit busy right now for me and I have little time to even think or sleep let alone blog. I really want to but right now I leave you with this picture of Maximilien who is growing before my eyes into a little person who talks, runs and dreams. In a couple weeks, I am hoping that things will calm down a bit after our vacation to the sea. Yes, we are taking a much needed break from Paris to recharge and come back anew. Until then, I gaze at my son as he dreams and experiences life, all the while I live vicariously through him.


Holding on to those moments

Spending the last few days home with Maximilien while he's (and I have) been sick I've found that I have been thinking about my mother a lot and feeling the void. Moments when Max snuggles close to me while we are reading books. Nestling his head against my arm, eyes closed while sucking his thumb. Telling me that he is tired and that there is no where else he'd rather be. I close the book and lay down next to him. His cheek against mine. I hear him "hmmm" and sigh.  Pure love. I think this has to be what my mother felt holding me as a baby. I've never felt so much love in my life. I close my eyes and hold him close and tell myself to remember.

You have these moments in life when you tell yourself to remember. Graduation from junior high. I was taking a photo with my parents wearing a pretty silly looking hat and a dress that my mother made. I remember clicking my press on nails and pushing my glasses up and looking at both my parents and thinking. Remember this moment. Girl Scout camp. I remember the day that I left getting dressed pulling up my green knee high socks with tassels and lacing up my brand new Reebok high tops. My mother and father leading me out to our back porch and them taking a photo of me. Later, the drive to the camp leader's house with my father in his gray pick up truck and saying goodbye to my dad who was smiling at me wearing his tortoiseshell glasses. I remember telling myself remember this moment. Saying goodbye at the airport.  It was after our church wedding ceremony. Julien and I had spent the last three weeks in Kansas getting married, spending the Christmas holidays with my family and just having fun. My mother was wearing her Christmas sweater and my father his fleece jacket. My hair was long and in a pony tail. My mother had her camera in hand and snapped a photo of us passing through security. I remember saying goodbye to my parents, hugging them with all my might and feeling the tight pang of sorrow as I had to leave them to return to France. Little did I know this was the last time I saw my mother alive.

So many of these moments come back to me at random times. Not sure what triggers them but when they come I try to think hard and remember them. Just today, laying with Max listening to him sleep I remember the last phone call I had with Omma while she was in the hospital the night before she passed away. I remember clearly her voice and how happy she sounded. Her laugh.  We talked about Thanksgiving and what she was going to make for dinner. We talked about the doctors and how nice everyone had been to her and how she felt strong and better than earlier in the week.  Then we talked about my visit and how it had been nearly two years since we'd seen each other. And how much we missed each other. The tightness returning to my chest as I said those words to her.  We just chit chatted about other things and at the end she told me she was ready to be a grandmother. My mother, the frank one.  And I told her that I had gotten the message with a smile on my face, of course. We said our goodbyes and I told her that I loved her and that I'd call her tomorrow. 

As mothers, I don't know how we are supposed to prepare our children for a life without us. I guess we just love them as much as we can and hope for the best? I never got to have certain conversations with my mother. I ask myself what conversations did I miss out on? Motherhood for one.  And many others I'm sure...  I just feel like we should of had more conversations like we did on the phone that last night of her life. Maybe it's just like this when you lose a loved one. Seems so unfair to me still....

All I know is, I hope that my blog will someday be a window into my person for my children and loved ones after I am gone. That if they have unanswered questions or memories lost they will perhaps be able to find the answers here.