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This is my blog.

And I have neglected you for so long.

I see that I still get lots of hits everyday. I thank those of you for visiting. I hope you are enjoying my archives. I know I do from time to time. About a month ago it was time to renew my subscription with Typepad and my credit card information had expired. Then I got bogged down in email land with my inbox over flowing at 200+ emails and the email from Typepad got lost. Until now... So, I've fixed the problem and hopefully my blog is back to it's boring self again. Though I am getting spam comments and have no idea how to stop those.

I last blogged in June. July has come and gone. I can't even tell you about all the things I've been doing because there's just so much. But I will tell you this my extended maternity leave will be ending in mid September. I will be back at the tea house full time once Alixe is full acclimated at the creche. I look forward to going back to work. Thought I still worked a lot from home being at the tea house all day instead at home will be a welcomed change.

Ah, Alixe... my sweet girl who doesn't sleep. And that means I am not sleeping all that well. It's better than it was the first two month after we brought her home but just barely better. Lots to write about Alixe and I intend on doing that. ON VACATION!! Yes, we leave for our favorite island off the coast of France, Belle Ile en Mer.

Here are some of my favorite photos from past trips:

26 weeks

26 weeks pregnant with Maximilien

Port Coton - Belle Ile en Mer

Port Coton during a mild storm in February - I adore this island hors saison especially in February. It's practically deserted with only the locals living on the island. We're very lucky that the family house is on the island so we can go often.

Great Grandmother & Max

Meeting his great grandmother for the first time.

Mother and Son

I look so young in this photo. Having two kids ages you...

The one I love...

Julien, my love.

Chasing seagulls

Max's second visit to the island. We took him when he was just two months old.  But this visit was marvelous. Just watching him take his first steps on the beach will be forever etched in my memory.

Contemplating the sea

And another favorite that is on our refrigerator. This is what a toddler looks like the first time he see the wide, open sea.

A little photo bombing there to make me feel better for my lack of posting. I hope you have enjoyed them too.

So, I have lists. My lists have lists. But on my list is my blog. I am going to work on the template and perhaps have a professionally made banner done for just lil' ole me. I think I deserve it. :) And here's a recent photo just taken TODAY by my brother in our kitchen as the light was perfect. Alixe is very concerned with her uncle's hair.

She's a serious one... I'll tell you all about her very soon. Love her striped shirt. She's ready for Belle Ile!

Alixe et Mama

So, I'm pretty sure the house on Belle Ile hasn't been wired for internet so other than updating Twitter and Facebook via my iPhone that may be all the contact I may have with the outside world. And then again, I may not even do that much. Which sits pretty well with me because a good break from it all will be nice. I have knitting projects slated, books to read and am looking forward to taking my kids to the beach EVERYDAY.


Agrandir le plan

And now it's after 1:30am. Finishing up some business correspondence with the US and now I can finally go to bed... Apparently, Alixe has been sleeping well while I was away at TricoThé tonight. Typical.

Good night.


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!




Different

MaxAlixe5months

Look at these two faces! It's hard for me not to see the similarities because these are my children.  But so many people have commented on how Alixe and Maximilien really look different from each other. In each of their faces I see my mother's nose, my father's nose, my husband's hair line, my hair line, my husband's mouth, my mouth. One has blues eyes. The other has brown. Chatting with my father recently over Skype he mentioned that Alixe's foot looks like mine. It really does! It looks just like my mother's...

Genetics is an awesome thing. Almost awesome enough for me to want to have a third. Almost. 

I have been really enjoying looking back at Julien and I's baby photos to see who Alixe and Max look like the most.  Maximilien is pretty much a mini Julien and Alixe is turning out to be a mini me. I admit that I am thrilled. It seems perfect that Julien and I have a little version of us. Our family of four feels so very right to me.


He made me a mother... she taught me the meaning of love...

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

They make my life amazing. Needless to say that my life is so much fuller with my children in it. Not to say I didn't have a good life before Maximilien and Alixe. But now I truly understand how my mother felt raising the five of us. The love she had for each of us. Different yet the same. How each child must have brought a new dimension to her life. I now understand that because each of my children bring me a different outlook on life and love.

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

Maximilien brought back a breath of fresh air into my life at a time when I needed it the most. Alixe is showing me that motherhood is a challenge I enjoy and LOVE. Both of my children are very different and I am grateful for that. The difference in their personalities keep me on my toes and keep everyday fresh. At three years old and 5 months old these two are as thick as thieves. Everyday I look forward to seeing them interact and am amazed at how they bring comfort to each other.

I know it's not Mother's Day in France but in the US it was yesterday. Lucky me I get to celebrate it twice in one month.  Mother's Day has obviously taken a new meaning for me since I became a mother but I still reflect upon the my Omma and how amazing she was in this role. I say it again as I say it to myself very often I appreciate my mother so much more now that I have little ones of my own. I wish I could have told her this but I know she's enjoying the show from a distance and speaking volumes to me through my very own children. 

image from farm1.static.flickr.com


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


In front of the camera

26/365 : in front of the camera

I really don't like to be in photos. Something about seeing all my imperfections doesn't appeal to me. Instead I take photos of my family and stay behind the camera as much as I can which you can clearly see from all the photos I post on my blog. :)

A part of the reason why I wanted to do this year in photo was to work on doing more self portraits of just me. Not me and my kids, though they are a big part of who I am today I have a lot of work to do on myself and I am hoping taking these photos will be a good way to motivate myself.

So, I've been inspired by a new blog to get myself back in front of the camera again. Maybe you'll play along too... if you do, let me know I want to see. :)


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.


Alixe, One Month

Dear Alixe,

I'm a little late with your one month letter. You'll have to excuse me because I've been up very late every night for the past month partying with you. Yes, you... The baby who does not sleep. The baby we call Grunty McGrumpyPants. Or Vomita when you eat too much. You've had a very productive first month of life considering your lack of sleep. You met your brother, Maximilien, who is completely smitten with you. And you seem to be fascinated by your brother. You seems to really enjoy his stories he tells you after his long day at the creche. Often you are wearing your GrumpyPants and when he comes into the room and says, "Bonjour, Alixe!!!" your eyes open wide and stop eveything you are doing. 

Brown eyed girl

In all honestly, my biggest fear was that Maximilien wouldn't be prepared for your arrival. But in all reality, it was your Mama who wasn't prepared for your arrivial. I had in set in my silly Mama mind that you were going to be just like your brother. Big eater, big sleeper. You are a modest eater and do not sleep at all. Modest eater meaning that you don't pig out when I feed you like Max did. Though somehow you managed to gain 1.8 kgs and 4 cm in height. The doctor was shocked when I told her you were only a month old. Looking at you, you look like a four month old. But you act like a one month old in every way. Especially, when it comes to sleeping. But I'm learning to deal. I have come to terms that I won't get any sleep and not to count on getting any sleep if you are awake which is like most of the day. I try to busy myself by cleaning the apt and doing the endless laundry that you are happily contributing to. But sometimes I need sleep and these are the moments that are the hardest for me because this is when you want to be awake. We are trying a combination of co-sleeping, the five S's and lots of contact with Mama. And sometimes we get lucky (like right now!) you decide to sleep for a while. Everyone keeps telling me that this is a phase... let's just hope that is really is.

I am thrilled to say that you look a lot like me! I would hope so since you're my daughter and if you looked like your dad you'd be very, very hairy and I'm not sure that you'd be so happy about that. Your eyes are brown and you have a darker complexion than your brother. You have attributes that are very much yours but you also look a lot like your brother. Don't worry, your brother is a good looking kid...

Maximilien et Alixe

Maximilien (2007) and Alixe (2009), both 4 days old.

I am looking forward to the coming months of your development, Alixe. I am anxiously awaiting for your first REAL smile. Though, we've had a few smiles lately but they always precede a nice big fart so we can't officially say that you are smiling yet. But since you're so big for your age, you can easily hold your head up for several moments at a time. I put you on your stomach and you pick up your head with such ease. And often when when we hold you, you push up with your legs and stand a few moments with all your weight on your legs. One thing is for sure, you are one strong little girl. 

Jan 7 - I adore

So, lack of sleep aside... I'm so happy that you are here. I feel like our family is complete and know there are many beautiful (sleep filled) days ahead of us.


Hands

Jan 5 - Hands

Hands.

Maximilien is obsessed with holding my hand. I admit that I love it. I loving holding my son's hand as we walk together. He grasps my hand when we cross the street. In the apt, when he wants me to come and play with him, he grabs my hand and says, "Come Mommy, come with me...". When we sit together and read or watch tv he is always holding my hand. Since Alixe's arrival he's been having a hard sleeping at night. I think this maybe his way of saying to us that he needs a little more attention. Usually in the middle of the night he crawls into our bed and comes and cuddles close to me. He always takes my hands into his and says, "petite carresse, Mommy?". A little cuddle? I say yes and he gently caresses my hands and rubs them against his cheek like it's his favorite dou dou.

The funny thing is, I used to do this to my own mother's hand when I was little (and as a teenager and young adult, I admit). My mother's hands were the softest things in the world and always brought me comfort. When I'd lay with my mom, I'd always hold her hand and like Max, rub the back of her hand against my cheek.

I couldn't believe how quickly the emotions welled up last night. As Max fell asleep, I quietly weeped missing my mother. I miss her immensely but I especially miss the simple gestures like hugging her or holding her hand. Holding her hand was one of my most favorite things. And for this to be one of my son's favorite things to do brings me so much happiness and sadness at the same time.


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.


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. 


30 of 30 - The Belly

30 of 30 - last belly shot 30 of 30 - last belly shot 2 

Well, there you have it! The Belly. I just measured it and it's at 49 inches. Two weeks before delivering Maximilien I was at 49 inches. So, perhaps BB will be a bit smaller than Max but still she's going to be a BIG girl. I'm packed and ready to go. I'm just sitting here busying myself until Julien and Max get home from the Creche. I'm going to spend a couple hours with Max and then have to go check into the maternité. I'm scheduled for a 7:45am operation. BB will be here before 8am Paris time Tuesday morning! 

The little elephant in the photo is Max's bébé elephant that he's been carrying around with for over a week now. We found him a big and little elephant that he's been calling Mommy elephant and bébé elephant. Lately, he has been into comparing everything as petit or gros. Especially Mommy's bidon (belly) and Max's bidon which is very svelthe and petit, he makes sure to point out to me every day. 

Max is about to become a Grand Frere to his Petite Soeur. Let the baby adventure begin....


29 of 30 - Perspective

Thanksgiving 2009 (69 of 79) 

Here I am taking a break while my belly digests a belated Thanksgiving meal. I'm grateful for all the friends I have made here in Paris. They have become my family away from home. Friends that share a lot of the same values as I do and people that I just have a lot of fun with! We joked about how this meal would be my "last supper" before BB's arrival. Technically I can eat lunch before I enter into the hospital but after the dinner I had tonight I highly doubt I will be hungry tomorrow at lunch time. In less than 24 hours I will be admitted into the hospital and will have to spend the night before being prepped for my AM operation. I can't believe we're almost there...

   Thanksgiving 2009 (49 of 79) 

If you asked Maximilien where his "petite soeur" is? He will respond, "Mommy's ventre". I then I ask him who is "grand frere" and he points to himself and says very proudly, "moi!". I can't believe that my first born baby is going to be a grand frere very, very soon. He still lets me hold him like a baby and he still nuzzles my neck in search of butterfly kisses and calin from Mommy. Two more days until our little girl will be here. Last night I was up until 3am baking pumpkin pies and up at 8am this morning ready to go. Sleep is the last thing on my mind thought I know I should get some rest before the big day but I am too excited to sleep. I was playing the Mamarazzi tonight at the party taking photos of everyone. I felt like a million bucks. The adrenaline was flowing and I can still feel it now. So, I guess I'll put it to good use and go do a few loads of laundry before bed tonight. 

 Two more days!!


24 of 30 - Routine

24 of 30 - Routine 

Not until I had Max did my life have so much routine in it. Sure, I had a job before I became a mother and the routine that came with that. Metro, Boulot, Dodo. It was pretty boring and I'm glad I don't do that anymore. My routine as a Mama is much more fun. No more alarm clocks I have a walking and talking one that comes and wakes me up almost at the same time everyday. And when he doesn't, it's a nice break because it's he who sets my routine for the day not some man behind a desk. 

The last couple months I've been having a very hard time getting up in the mornings. Julien has taken over morning routine of feeding Max breakfast, changing his diaper and clothes and getting out the door all by 9 am. In the hour that they are up and having breakfast I slowly wake up and get out of bed to kiss my boys goodbye and wait to see them off from our 6th floor kitchen window. If you could hear Max, you'd would hear him yelling at the top of his lungs, "Goooooodbye, Mommy! I love you!!!" as he waves to me. I watch them walk around the corner and thus starts my day.

One key thing I learned about being a mother to newborn Maximilien was that he needed routine.  He always wanted to nap at the same time and eat at the same time.  And in turn I craved this routine too. And I find myself in these final days of pregnancy thinking about the routine that I will start again with BB and as crazy as this will sound to you I`m really looking forward to it. 


22 of 30 - Preparations

22 of 30 - Preparations

8 days to go. I've started my to-do lists for this last week before BB arrives. Breaking it down day by day of the week so that I can be sure to get it al done. And yes, there is another trip to Ikea programmed this week. 

I've been experiencing pretty strong contractions all last week especially when I find myself on my feet for more than 5 minutes. Walking has become a chore so I've assigned myself to bed rest pretty much this last week. Sitting and laying down as much as I can. My feet are swollen. By 30 weeks with Maximilien, my feet were already swollen and uncomfortable so I am happy to only have to experience this in the last week of my pregnancy. I went to get a pedicure yesterday and the esthetician amused herself by pressing her finger into the top of my foot and watching it leave a dent. She let me have a salt soak for my feet free of charge which was nice. 

I miss being able to be fully mobile. I want to play with Max and keep up with him and I can't. The fact that I don't have full use of my body and that it's been impossible to sleep is very frustrating and makes the end of this pregnancy very uncomfortable. 8 more days to go. 8 more days to go. 


20 of 30 days - My little helper

20 of 30 - My little helper 

I can foresee that Max is going to be my big helper once BB arrives. Nearly every night for the last two weeks I've been baking in the last week or so he's shown interest in helping Mommy out. He pulls over his green Stokke chair and climbs up it like a ladder and asks what he can do "aide Mommy". His official job is to raise and lower the bowl to my mixer and he holds to it for dear life as it mixes and he alerts me when he thinks its done. I keep having these moments where I catch myself staring at Max and can't believe my eyes at how big he seems. His legs are so long. His face is looking less like a baby. How big his hands are. He articulates himself so well using new words everyday. It's impossible to grasp at all these moments but I'm trying my to do my best to get some of the good ones in photos in words.


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! 


18 of 30 - Comfort things

18 of 30 - Reblocking Lady E

I refreshed Lady Eleanor yesterday. This is a shawl/scarf I knit a few years ago right after my mom passed away. It was a large knitting project that helped to get my mind off things. At the time I was unemployed and just needed to be. Every year, I reblock her so she's nice and fresh for the fall/winter season. She brings me a lot of comfort when I wear her. There is a lovely feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes with wearing your own handmade designs. This is something I learned from my mom from an early age. She always wore her own scarves she made and in turn I loved wearing them too. For now, I have her scarves and handknit treasures packed away safely in an air tight container. Saving them for the day that I can share them with my kids, mostly BB because they are very girly. I hope that BB will love them as much as I do. 


17 of 30 - Waiting for BB

17 of 30 - Waiting for BB 

Things are starting to come together. Only 14 more days to go until she's here... The crib wasn't put together when Maximilien left for school today so we'll see what he thinks when he gets home.

*edit* - Max came home and we took him into the bedroom to show him the crib. Last night, he noticed that we had taken out our dresser and there was a big space in our bedroom. He was surprised and kept asking 2 year old style over and over again where the dresser went? Today, Julien built BB's crib and we set it up in our bedroom, we plan on sharing our room for the first year with BB and then transitioning her to Max's room. Tonight, when he went back to our room to see the crib he was immediately intrigued. He climbed up on the bottom railing to look inside and asked where the baby was? Then proceeded to go into his room and point out that Maximilien's bed was there and this new bed was for the baby. And that the baby that is in Mommy's belly will sleep in this bed. I don't know how else to prepare him for the arrival of his sister. Except to talk to him everyday and assure him that things won't change very much. I am worried about the time we'll have to spend apart when I go to have BB. Because of the N1H1 virus going around, there are no visitors under the age of 15 allowed in the maternity. I'm hoping there will be internet I can surf and maybe we can skype. I've never been away from Max more than 24 hours before. But we'll see... I'm grateful that Julien has a lot of time to dedicate to Max right now. I feel like we're doing a good job to prepare him. 


15 of 30 - Nesting

15 of 30 - Nesting

The nesting continues... all this knitting keeps my mind off the feeling that I'm going to pop any day now. I started the first sock over 2 years ago while visiting our friends in State College, PA. We were watching Ratatouille and making a nice evening of staying in and sipping wine and eating cheese. Just a pattern I made up as I went along. Top down, basic rib sock. Nothing too complicated. 

Last night while organizing my projects that need attention I found the first sock and decided to finish the second one. I am the worst at finishing the second sock but I did it while watching Grey's Anatomy last night and now BB will have nice warm toes. I suspect she'll be able to wear these for a while. Now to finish a pair of socks for myself to wear in the maternity...


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.


9 of 30 - Self Portrait

9 of 30 - Self Portrait 

While setting up the camera for a self portrait I took this shot accidently triggering the shutter while trying to set up the timer. Out of all the photos I took this one was the most natural. Pregnancy has brought out the freckles on my face.   

I feel like age is starting to catch up with me. I am 32 years old. Still very young. But I often stare at my eyes and see a wealth of experience in the depths. Experience that I have inherited because I share the same eyes as my mother.

After becoming a mother I notice that I instinctively react and do things and after the fact I often wonder how I knew how to do that. I must have seen my mother do it. I don't have any other explanation. Unknowingly as I grew up I was shaped by my own mother to become the mother I am today. 

Omma has been gone for 5 years now and I still feel the pain of her absence. I take enormous comfort in the fact that when I feel down I can hug my son and know that the love I feel in this moment is what she felt when she'd hug me. 


8 of 30 - Trousseau

8 of 30 - Trousseau

I'm in full nesting mode. I have this urgent need to knit warm things for my winter baby. Hats, booties, blankets... I am building her trousseau of baby things. Wee knits that I will treasure later on when she's out grown them and they will join those of Max and be kept as family heirlooms. 

While I have the energy to stay up late at night to knit I don't have the energy to do the dishes or vacuum the apartment. I believe that the end of pregnancy gets us ready for the lack of sleep that is coming the first few months of your baby's life. I'm amazed sometimes how well I function on such little sleep. But then it catches up to me like today while I was trying to play with Max and all I could do was lay on the bed while he played around me. I know this uncomfortable time is coming to an end and before I know BB will be here. 

Three more weeks to go and I feel like time is standing still again. I am trying to take in the moments of each day and appreciate and be grateful for what I have. I am grateful that I can take maternity leave and devote time to the end of my pregnancy. 

Edit: I've finished the purple hat this morning: http://loisivethe.com/2009/11/09/norwegian-style-hat-for-baby/


7 of 30 - Grateful

7 of 30 - Grateful

I had another photo for today but decided at the last minute tonight to change it to just this snapshot. Julien brought home a gift that one of my blog readers had brought to me today to the tea house. She is Margaret from Michigan. Thank you, Margaret! I titled this photos grateful because her gesture makes me feel grateful for all the love that I have in my life today. From my family to my great friends here in Paris to my faithful blog readers I am surrounded with love that I am grateful for. 

In her note she thanked me for sharing my life, hopes and dreams with everyone. I started blogging to keep a journal for myself and never had the thought crossed my mind when I started blog did I think that I would inspire people or that anyone would find my life interesting. Now I keep this in blog in part to stay in touch with all the friends I've made all over the world through blogging. Be it through knitting, baking, being young parents or we share the same craze for shoes, I love all these friends I've made over the years. And in many ways we've connected and been there for each other when we've needed each other. 

And now that I have opened my tea house I have had the good fortune to have the opportunity to meet some of them on their travels through Paris. I must admit this is one of the major perks of my job. :) 

I'm sorry I missed you today at the tea house, Margaret. Thank you for the wonderful baby hat and the book. This is one of Max's favorites and his copy is very tattered and torn. It's the perfect size for him to carry in his bag to the Creche. 


6 of 30 - Little Tricks

6 of 30 - Little Tricks

My husband always has these little tricks up his sleeve. Is it a mini pumpkin? Looks like it. It's clementine season and we have our daily dose of clementine after dinner. Good way to get some good vitamin C into Max. Tonight, Julien started cutting his clementine with a knife while Max and I peeled ours with our hands. Intrigued, Max watched wondering what his father was doing. 

Apparently when Julien was young they didn't have easy access to pumpkins like we do today. His grandfather would make homemade jack-o-lanterns for the kids out of clementines. 

This reminds me of when Julien I started dating eight (!) years ago and another trick he played with a match and an invisible string. I was impressed then and I'm still impressed now. 


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. 


3 of 30 - I love cookies

I think cookies are the perfect dessert. They are small and you can eat a few and not feel too guilty. I always feel guilty after eating a big piece of cake or a dessert drenched in crème anglaise. Though so good I don't full enjoy because later I'm thinking I shouldn't have sopped up all that crème anglaise

But then there's the cookie and its perfect companion the glass of milk. My favorite is lait frais by Candia. I drink at least 3 liters a week. Milk has been something I've craved this entire pregnancy. 

So, after going to the Casino tonight I decided I needed to bake a batch of cookies. I have been curious about using pumpkin in cookies since I love it so much in bread and cakes. I whipped up these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies tonight and they are light and airy cakey-cookie goodness. Coupled with a glass of milk and you've got one happy pregnant lady. 

3 of 30 - I love cookies

I'm taking a batch to knitting tomorrow night to let the knitters have a taste. I feel like I should add more spice to the mix but I'll wait and see what everyone else thinks. 

A few photo notes. I shot this with my 50mm f/1.8 lens and my speedlight SB-600. I haven't used my speedlight very much because I'm sort of intimidated by it. But it seems that I don't think to pick up my camera until the evening and the sun sets in Paris now about 5pm! So, I charged up my batteries for the speedlight and walked about the apartment and shot away. I'm pleasantly surprised how well this photo came out. I tweeked the exposure a bit in ACR but that's about it. I'm no pro but I think I'll start toting the flash around with me and try to learn as I go. 


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

1 of 30 - Slightly Obsessed

1/30 Slightly Obsessed

I love stripes. I dress myself in stripes. I dress my husband in stripes. I dress my children in stripes. I recommend stripes to my friends when we go shopping. 

I suppose you can say that I am slightly obsessed. 

This is just a small portion of BB's clothes I've bought in preparation of her arrival.  Stripes. Stripes. Stripes. I love it. 

I'm starting a new 30 day photos project to help occupy my mind this coming month before BB's arrival. My lists have lists of things to get done and why not throw a photo project in there as well. I know I need this to keep my mind sane and I will enjoy looking back at these photos after she's here. You may remember that I did a similar project when I was counting down the days to knowing if the tea house would be mine. Ever so often, I look back at those photos and am so grateful to have those memories. It was such a stressful time in my life but reminds me that I got through it and that I can do it again now. 

And for this occasion I've challenged myself to use only my 50mm lens. It's oldie but a goodie that I haven't used in ages. Will be good to exercise my brain on how to work outside it's fixed lens box. 

So, here's to counting down 30 days. Actually 31 days since she's scheduled to make her appearance on December 1st, 2009. But my slightly obsessional side needs me to start on the first of the month and not the second. 


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. 


He makes it all better

Still got a little baby curl 

As hard as it is to relive the minutes and hours after Maximilien's birth this little boy reminds me that it's all worth it.  I thought that if I didn't think about the experience it would just go away. And it did for a while I actually had forgotten but sitting in the doctor's office in the moment of dejavu finding out that BB was going to be a big girl all those emotions rushed back to me. But today for the first time in 2.5 years I actually feel okay about my birth experience. And I know I can type this and mean it because I am not  crying uncontrollably but instead I feel excitement for BB birth in 4 weeks time. 

I wonder in today's medical age of technology why it's so hard for us as women to get the birth that we want? There is a small part of me that wonders if I had decided to try to have Max naturally would it have gone alright? Would it have ended up in a cesarean anyways? I know women birth babies as big as Max naturally all the time. Heck, one of my readers did and I totally admire her for that! But I feel like when it was time to make the decision for Max I was slightly psyched out but all the technology and terms and medical jargon thrown at me that I was pretty much scared into choosing the cesarean. And now for BB, listening to the doctors explain to me the risks of induction with a baby so big and my uterus so stretched out and the scar and abnormally strong contractions and this and that... it makes my head spin and I just say, enough. Please, get me my baby and leave me the hell alone. 

Dozing in and out of consciousness this morning I wondered if I could change things with BB's birth. Part of me is like change doctors! get more opinions! But I like my doctor and I wouldn't change doctors for the world because I. trust. him. And then all of a sudden I feel tired. And in this moment as the fatigue washes over me, there is Max standing by my side of the bed waiting to give me my morning kiss and I am reminded that everything ends well. Here's my 2.5 year old who's in perfect health who is happy and excited about the imminent arrival of his petite soeur. And I realize that I have made my choice. And I am alright with it. 


31 weeks

31 weeks

31 weeks @ Ikea.

31 weeks. Finally. I felt like I was in the twenties for such a long time. The thirty something weeks are the home stretch. In France they calculate on a 41 weeks gestation period. Maximilien came at 38 weeks. I hope BB comes around the same time. 38 is good. Apparently I make a good home for my babies and when it was time for Max to come I wasn't anywhere near the stages of giving birth.  But this time around I am going to let nature take it's course and we'll see when BB decides to show her pretty face. I keep dreaming that she looks like Max just with a pink headband and a bow. Julien thinks she'll come out a brunette with dark eyes. I'm secretly hoping she's blond and blue eyes like her brother. 9 more weeks to go...


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...


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. 

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.