happy sunday | this week

this week

life was a little bit hard and a little bit frustrating. but, we made it to the weekend. hip hip hooray for the weekend. being a stay at home parent of a two year old and a two month old is hard folks – especially when you are also trying to run a business and keep your sanity.

but, it will get easier.

until next time.


dear eliot | your birth story

dearest eliot,

i can’t begin to tell you the story of your birth without first telling you a little bit about how you came to be. it’s too soon to go into the birds and the bees with you. so, don’t worry, i’m not gonna go there. what i want you to know is this – you were so wanted skinny legs. so wanted and so loved from the very beginning. here is a little note i wrote to you on the day i discovered i was pregnant. (and, yes, i called you eliot even then. i was convinced you would be named eliot regardless of your gender).

“dear eliot.

today, i found out that you existed. i peed on a stick. the “pregnant” line appeared immediately. i am still in a state of disbelief. your sister’s reaction to the positive pregnancy test was, “good job mommy.” i don’t want you to be offended, but her response was probably directed to my having gone pee in the toilet rather than on the floor or in my big girl panties. she appreciates the little things in life.

i can’t believe that you exist. i really can’t. it will take me some time to process this news. for now, let me say that i love you already in a very vague and indeterminate sort of way. but, i know that i will love you with my whole heart soon enough. it will be an all-consuming love. a love so big that my heart will barely contain it. i can’t wait.

best of luck to you little zygote.


here is something else you should know – mommy is usually right. i do love you with my whole heart. the minute i saw your face i was overcome with emotion. with love. with hope. with humility. but, i am getting ahead of myself.

at some point during my pregnancy, i knew that you would be born via cesarian section. i tried for a “natural, un-medicated, birth” with your sister. but, that didn’t work out so well for me. when the doctors (multiple doctors) suggested a c-section, i was right there with them. call me a member of the uneducated, uncaring, unnatural masses if you want, but i am not in any way troubled by that decision. it was a good one for me. and for you. and for our family. that’s what matters. the end. moving on.

you were born on april 5, 2012.

that morning, i woke up, showered and dressed. i made pancake mix for grammie. (grammie stayed with us and helped with lillian – one day you should ask her about why i had to make pancake mix. it’s a funny story.) i made sure that i had everything i needed for the hospital. i didn’t eat or drink (it wasn’t allowed), but i did think a lot about that forbidden breakfast and coffee. i texted a few people, including sally brewer, my friend and fellow photographer, who had agreed to photograph your birth. i gave grammie many instructions on caring for lillian (none of which she needed. but, i was nervous). then, daddy and i were on our way to the hospital.

at 10:00am, i checked in. i changed into a gown and socks (totally stylin) and answered a lot of crazy questions. i was hooked up to various devices and readied for your birth. i was nervous. what would the surgery be like? would i be one of the unfortunates who had a difficult recovery? would you be okay? would i love you right away or would it take some time?

you see, baby eliot, i was most worried about that very last question. i read that sometimes mothers who have c-sections have a difficult time bonding with their baby initially because of the medication that is necessary to preform the surgery. your emotions are stunted (because you are high as a kite). and, i’ve heard from some of the crunchy crowd (those i like to call “birth nazis”) that mothers who have c-sections can’t have the same emotional experience as those who push their baby out of their bodies. i beg to differ. because, my little friend, the moment i saw you i loved you. i knew that you were coming. i felt a slight tugging. i heard you start to cry and knew that you were out. when they held you over that sheet, and i saw your tiny face, i fell in love. you had arrived. and, i loved you. my heart felt so big and so full. and, in that moment, i felt complete.

i didn’t get to see them weigh you. but, your daddy did. he went with you over to the warmer and watched them take care of you. i wanted to see everything, but i couldn’t. i suffered a crazy side-effect that made my shoulder cramp and couldn’t look to the side that they had you on. but, that was okay. you were here. and, before i knew it, your daddy held you close to me. i could see your tiny profile. your dark hair. your puffy cheeks. you were so red! you looked so healthy. i felt so blessed that you were mine.

in recovery i was able to finally hold you. i put your skin against my skin and closed my eyes and breathed you in. because, eliot, your mommy has come to realize something. each day, each minute, is precious, especially those minutes spent with your children. you won’t be my baby for long. and, i know that. i plan to try and savor every minute of your little baby life. those first few days (and even now), i couldn’t get enough of you. i marveled at your little hands and feet (with their long fingers and toes). i stroked your soft skin. i admired your beautiful dark hair. eliot – the baby of the world! (ask your sister about that some time).

your sister and grammie came to meet you the afternoon you were born. i was still in recovery, but, as luck would have it, the doc came to check on me and let them back as well (i was only supposed to have one guest at a time with me in the recovery room – but, i had four!). the look on your sister’s face when she saw the two of us was absolutely priceless. i will never forget it. sally photographed your meeting, and i will treasure those images always. the love in the room was overwhelming.

sweet eliot. you are darling. your birth brought you into a family that adores you (and adores each other). i can’t put into words the emotion i felt when you were born other than to say that i have never felt closer to God, to my family, to myself. you complete me. you complete our family. i can’t wait to watch you grow but am enjoying every minute of your newness.

i love you skinny legs.


what follows is a birth video made by me from photographs taken by sally brewer of sally brewer photography. when we decided to have another baby, i decided that this birth would be photographed by a professional photographer. (as many of you know, i photographed my friend’s birth many months ago and fell in love with birth photography. hopefully, one day, birth photography will be a bigger part of my business.) i am so grateful to have these images. hospital policy would not allow sally to come into the operating room with us, so we had to improvise in there (bradford and the nurses took photos for us). but, the images of lillian meeting eliot were worth it all. they are now among my most prized possessions. enjoy.

to see a larger version or an ipad ready version, click here: eliot pearl | birth (photos by sally brewer. music by the dixie chicks. turn up your sound!)

life with eliot pearl | our baby is here!

four weeks! eliot pearl was delivered four weeks ago today. the time is flying by, which is sad.

with lillian, i remember being so ready for the next stage – whatever that was. when i was pregnant, i was ready for her to be born. when she was a newborn, i was ready for her to grow up a little. to sleep more. to breastfeed better. to start doing tummy time. to sit up. to crawl. to stand up. to talk. to walk. only recently did i stop and really think to myself – holy crow. she is growing up too fast. my baby is now my little girl. that hurts.

i don’t want lillian to grow up. of course, i am excited that she is growing and learning and thriving and coming into her own. but, i miss having her as my little one. my constant companion.

i guess that’s why i grew a new one 😉

eliot pearl is the best thing since sliced bread. she is ridiculously adorable. her hair is dark and wild. her eyes are wide and curious. her arms are long and skinny, as are her legs (earning her the nickname “skinny legs”). her fingers and toes are also long and skinny (no surprise there). she craves contact. she wants to be held and loved. even at night. especially at night. (yes, she sleeps with me. whatever. she loves it and i do too and we all sleep. yay for sleep).

lillian is a wonderful big sister. i worried about how she would respond. but, as usual, she has exceeded my expectations. she enjoys having baby eliot around. she likes to do things to help us take care of the baby – especially picking out which diaper baby eliot will wear next (baby eliot’s favorites are the ones with the birds according to lillian) and bringing her her pacifier. she also enjoys talking to baby eliot (baby eliot’s voice is very high-pitched fyi). seeing lillian adapt to her role as a big sister (and make the role her own) has been one of the highlights of having eliot join our family.

we are all very much in love with this baby. and, knowing how fast they grow up, i plan to do my very best to savor every moment of her little life.

life with two kids is crazy. and hectic. but good. so very good. we are very blessed.

littles at the hospital after putting on the socks they so kindly required me to wear during recovery:

an egg hunt | happy easter!

our new baby is coming tomorrow – yes, that’s right – tomorrow! (can you believe it? because, i can’t). i promise to try and keep everyone updated (try being the operative word).

it goes without saying that i won’t be a big participant in easter weekend. so, we have been celebrating easter for the last few weeks instead. liz and allen hosted an easter egg hunt and brunch for the girls a few weekends ago, which was a blast. the girls are growing up. it couldn’t be funnier watching them interact these days. they actually play together and carry on conversations with each other, which is a spectacle to say the least. they are truly b.f.f.s

some pictures –

spring has sprung | our new old house

we spent the weekend in our yard. the city of arlington delivered a huge (seriously, huge!) pile of mulch to us a few weeks ago (which resulted in my making a “mulch madness” joke that bradford found pitiful at best), and we figured it was now or never on getting the yard work done.

you see, we have a gorgeous yard. we do. or, at least, it used to be gorgeous. no less than three independent sets of neighbors have commented that it is/once was the best garden in the hood. talk about pressure.

i know little to nothing about gardening. bradford is no better off. but, we are determined to pay homage to our new old house’s previous owners by lovingly tending the yard just as they did (or trying to at least).

i felt a little like mary lennox tending this yard, except that i lack a dickon.

on a side note – lillian seems to have recovered. thanks to all for the concern! exhibit a:

we have so many amazing plants and flowers in our yard. it seems something will be in bloom all spring/summer, which is just fantastic. i look forward to seeing what our yard truly holds once everything has a chance to bloom. (i must admit, i had many “is this a weed or is this supposed to be here” moments today while weeding. when in doubt i left it alone.) here are some things currently abloom.

and, our yard bunny. i see him once or twice every other day or so. i think he lives under our porch. littles has named him “rabbit.”

burfing sucks | poor littles

hello all.

poor littles is sickly. in the wee hours of wednesday morning, she had her first big girl vomit (which i did not collect and save for the baby book by the way – i do have my limits). poor thing. she cried out for me. when i got upstairs, she said, “mommy, i burped.” well, burp means vomit apparently, because there was vomit everywhere. in her hair, on the bed, on the wall – etc. disgusting.

she continued “burping” throughout the day on wednesday and couldn’t hold down any food. bradford and i felt just horrible for her. she didn’t understand what was going on. and, we all know how nasty it feels to have a stomach bug.

yesterday, she seemed better. no burping. a little bit of eating and drinking. she did seem tired and under the weather, but we thought we were on the road to recovery.

well, this morning she seemed much better, so i took her to preschool (she hadn’t burped since tuesday afternoon and didn’t have a fever). unfortunately, during passover observation, she burped all over the floor -twice. her completely wonderful teacher immediately called us to let us know and took good care of her until i arrived.

apparently, littles heard ms. candace (her teacher) say that she had “barfed.” when i got to school, littles reported that she had “burfed” twice on the floor and on her shoes. funny. but, sad.

anyway, keep poor littles in your thoughts and prayers. thankfully, she has been good about taking liquids and seems to be able to tolerate them so i don’t think we are at risk for dehydration. but, she is feeling poorly. hopefully, this will pass soon.

friday | one week

dear littles,

okay okay . . . i should have posted this yesterday, but i didn’t. sorry! i would ask you to cut me some slack, but in this department at least i don’t think you care that i am late posting again.

we have come to the end of my photo a day for a week project. i am glad i did it. posting every day was a bit difficult (as evidenced by a lack thereof), but the camera has been out almost every day since i started (even once i had all of my one week photos). this is good. as you know, i am often too hard on myself – especially when it comes to photography. i know the value of capturing the every day, but i also recognize faults in my images. and, i have been letting the latter keep me from reaping the benefits of the former. (does that make sense?) but, not anymore. i resolve to point my camera at more every day moments without concern for the technical correctness of the end product. these photos are for us, after all – not anybody else.

let me just move on to friday’s photo.

friday, march 16 | lockdown

kenneling up with the dogs is not something you do every day. but this sort of thing – it’s totally you. you are always putting yourself in interesting (and sometimes perilous) situations. you keep us on our toes and make us laugh – constantly.

i don’t know what petri thought about having you in the kennel with her. she didn’t seem to mind, which is odd. as you know, petri is a total curmudgeon. i would blame it on her age, but she has always been that way. i worried when we brought you home that petri would pull her butterfly knife on you (that’s a joke/story for a different time), but, over time, she has come to love you. you constantly give the dogs food, which helps. in fact, the other day, i found you filling their water bowl with cheerios. when i asked you what you were doing, you said, “just given the dogs some breakfast.” makes total sense. (have i mentioned that you are very generous?).

a few other interesting (and hilarious) things to note about your relationship with the dogs:

lately, you have been extremely interested in the fact that they do their “business” outside. why? i don’t know. but, whenever i let them out, you always ask, “are they going to poop?” when we take walks with fabiola and have to stop for her you ask, “does fabby need to go pee pee (or poop)?” and then you follow-up with “she does it in the grass.” and, even better, the other day you followed that with “i think i need to poop in the grass too.” oh my.

you are constantly telling the dogs to “quit that barking,” “hush up,” and “be quiet.” wonder where you got that from? they are loud barky mcbarkersons. annoying.

you tell the dogs to “kennel up” when you are tired of them. and, you always let them out of their kennel when i purposefully put them there because i am tired of them (or because we are trying to leave the house). frustrating.

overall, you are very kind to the dogs and treat them as friends. you love animals – just like me – and that makes me very happy indeed.