Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Day in the Life of Cora: 5 months

HIIIII! I'm Cora. The CoraBunny, CoraMonster, CoraNugget, CoraButton. Rarely Cora, often Peanut, and always happy to be here. Here's my day:

6:45 a.m.: WAKE UP!

Today is going to be AWESOME. I like to hold my hands and roll around and talk and chirp to myself. It's been nearly 12 hours since I've seen anyone and I have SO MUCH to say and SO MANY saved up smiles to give. I hear my super awesome mini parents moving around in their room and then my big parents come in to get me. This is the best part of my day.

I'm pretty sure my dad is supposed to get me in the morning, but I always hear my mom say, "I'll just run in and get her real quick" and she's dressed all fancy with funny clicky shoes and she scoops me up and gives me big snuggles and lays me on my changing pad and we both do SO MANY SMILES. Mommy dresses me in something that matches. Daddy often fails to help me live up to my sartorial potential, but I smile at him anyway because smiling is my favorite, and I know if mommy sees me in mismatched clothes she always takes me back in my room to change again and I think it's hilarious when she pulls a shirt back over my head. Shirts over the head is my favorite.

You know that "Everything is Awesome" song from the lego movie? That's what I sing in my head ALL day. Because it's true. Everything is AWESOME.

7:15 a.m.: I get to spend time smiling in all sorts of different places in the house! Sometimes I'm on my big parents bathroom floor while my mommy does funny stuff to her hair and face. Other times I'm in my monkey bouncer in the kitchen or my awesome rainforest jumperoo in the big room. My big brother and sister like to come help me jump, even though they're supposed to be putting their shoes on. I don't have shoes. I'm not even sure I have toes. This is confusing. BOUNCE!

7:45 a.m.: Time to go to school! Mommy is already gone and I get big kisses on my squishy cheeks before she runs out the door. Now I'm in the car seat, my new favorite, facing backwards and chewing on a toy. Or my hands. I like to chew. And I like my hands. And they're always right nearby!

7:55 a.m.: We drop my big brother off at Kindergarten! I love my big brother! He always gives me a kiss before he jumps out of the car. He's my favorite.

8:05 a.m.: Now we're at my school! Daddy carries me in in my special bucket seat with my pink bottle bag on his shoulder. My big sister walks with us holding her kitty lunchbox. I can't wait until I'm old enough to have a lunchbox. My sister goes to her class and then I get to see my baby friends. I love my baby friends! Daddy tells my teacher I had a great night (duh, great nights are my favorite) and then tells me to have a good day (of course! good days are my favorite) and he goes off to do whatever grown-ups do during the day.

8:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.: School time! I smile my smiles, play with my friends and teachers, drink my bottles, and nap my naps. I love school. I have a best baby friend and we talk and talk and TALK when we're on the floor together. On nice days I get to spend lots of time outside in the buggy. I love being outside in the buggy- I can let my tummy hang out and relax while I look for my big sister. She always comes over to say hi and I get SO excited. My big sister is my favorite.

4:45 p.m.: Mom is here! She's my favorite! My teachers tell her all about how good I was and then she hands me my elephant and I get so excited I shove two of its legs in my mouth. I LOVE my chewy elephant. Where does mommy get it? It seems to disappear and reappear at will. Mom is magic, just like my elephant! We girls get in the car to go pick up my brother and I talk the WHOLE WAY. I have so much to tell them about so many things! Politics, conspiracy theories around Malaysia Flight 370, and my thoughts on preferred Honest Co. diaper patterns.

5:00 p.m.: We get Landon! I love Landon! He tells us all about his day and all his papers and art and I have to start ALL over with my latest news and there's a lot of talking happening at the same time. I love talking at the same time. It's my favorite.

5:10 p.m.: Home! I love home! Usually I'm hungry because all that talking has parched my throat, so my mom goes straight to the rocking chair and snuggles me and feeds me a bottle while my brother and sister go outside to play. Now that the weather is nice I get to go outside and eat while mommy watches my siblings do fancy tricks on the playground. I can't wait until I can do tricks on the playground- I'll be flipping my chins backwards over the swing in no time.

5:25 p.m.: Mom works on making the big people dinner and I get to bounce in my jumperoo. I love my jumperoo! I bounce like a hyperactive kangaroo because it's a really important job and I'm the only one to do it. I try really hard not to look at the waterfall because it hypnotizes me and the bouncing stops. Then I break free and the smiles and bouncing come back right up until I'm sucked in again. It's an exercise in mental toughness and I LOVE it!

5:40 p.m.: TOTALLY over the jumperoo. I file my protest with the mommy and she puts me in my monkey bouncer, then my play gym, and then my bumpo and sing-a-long stage. I love all these things! It's like circuit training for babies. It's not easy keeping all these chins in shape.

5:55 p.m.: Mommy is done with dinner and we're outside watching the big kids play. I love watching the big kids play! Sometimes Mommy just holds me, other times I get to roll around on a blanket while she reads a book or bangs her fingers on a black thing. Boring, but she smiles at me a lot and smiling is my favorite.

6:15 p.m.: Big person dinner time! I sit in my highchair at the table and watch everyone eat and I think this is very awesome. Mommy tried to feed me food on a spoon once and I was NOT IMPRESSED. I prefer a liquid diet with a side of chewy elephant, thankyouverymuch.

6:45 p.m.: Daddy is home! By now mommy is long done with her dinner so she's usually holding me because I'm irresistible. Daddy makes a big plate and sits with us. I LOVE when he sits with us and I smile at him lots while he eats his dinner and talks to mommy and the big kids.

7:00 p.m.: Everyone is done eating and daddy starts doing dishes while the big kids clear the table. Mommy usually goes to the rocking chair and feeds me, but sometimes I get to take a shower so I get naked instead. I love naked! Daddy takes a shower with the big kids and mommy passes me over to him and I love it! Shower time is the coolest. I get passed back to mommy after I get all scrubbed with the silliest soap and she snuggles me in my towel and puts on my pj's.

7:15 p.m.: Now that I'm so fresh and so clean I'm snuggled in the rocking chair with mommy drinking my bedtime bottle. The big kids streak past me between the shower and their room and I think this is very funny. My big brother reads bedtime stories on the couch and I get to listen. I am feeling so warm and so cozy and my tummy is so full and my mommy rocks me back and forth, and back and forth, until the reading is over. My brother and sister gives me hugs and kisses on their way to bed and THIS is the best part of my day.

7:30 p.m.: Mommy brings me to my room, lays me on my tummy, turns out the light, turns on my noisy machine, and puts great-grandma's blanket on my back. I give her big smiles because my bed is my favorite.

7:32 p.m.: I'm asleep.

7:45 p.m.: Except when I'm not. Sometimes I like to talk and hold my hands and roll around.

7:55 p.m.: Super asleep.

3:30 a.m.: Sometimes though, just for fun, I wake up and have long enthusiastic conversations with myself at 3:00 in the morning. I just have so many thoughts! I lay on my side and hold my hands and jabber until I get tired again. Sometimes Mommy sneaks in my room to check on me. She tries to be quiet, but I always know. I smile at her and she smiles back and gives me a little pat on the back and goes back to her bed. I love my mommy. She's my favorite.

Everything is my favorite! I'm Cora and I'm really just delighted to be here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Week Alfesco

Cora's going to tell you all about her day in the next post, but blogger ate half of it, so instead you're hearing about our week. Which was excellent!

Monday was Monday, but it was a perfectly acceptable Monday at that.

Tuesday was art show day and that was great fun.

On Wednesday Legally Fabulous came over to hang out with the kids and eat dinner outside and that was even more fun. Cora gave her lots of smiles while we drank Mexican martinis and watched the big kids play on the swing set and talked about public sector law jobs, baby names, and her sometimes funny and frequently terribly depressing public defender stories. She is one of my favorite people and I hope her plans to one day move to Texas come to fruition.

On Thursday I used some credit hours to cut out early and run errands. Very productive and necessary errands like buying Cora a tiny bunny t-shirt to wear after church on Easter. As I keep telling JP, if this is my last baby, I get to buy All The Things for every holiday because I'll never again get to put a tiny bunny headband on a tiny fuzzy head on Easter. (The bunny headband is in the mail from a etsy shop.) I picked the kids up super early at 3 and they played outside for hours while I sat with Cora.

Dinner was a challenge- I'd planned to make flatbread pizzas, but found that we didn't have any tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese or much of anything else. We did have some salsa leftover from the Tex Mex night we'd had with Legally Fab, some moneterrey jack cheese, a can of refried black beans, and two avocados. And from that I created flatbread Mexipizzas! (One with salsa verde, black olives, and monterrey jack cheese; the other with red salsa, thin layer of refried black beans, olives, and a mexican cheese blend, topped after baking with sliced avocado.) And they were SO good. That's becoming a regular recipe in the Lag Liv household.

Friday we had friends over with their two kids- 3 years and 9 months, and there was more sitting outside and talking and drinking and watching kids play and babies smile. I made a Greek pasta salad with grilled chicken, pitas, hummus, and tzatziki sauce on the side. With our friend's white wine and beer and JP's leftover swim school anniversary cookies, it was quite an excellent meal and the weather and children couldn't have been better.  Cora wore her party onesie and felt very festive.

Yesterday dawned all rosy and lazy, so I spread an old blanket on the family room floor and let the kids watch 3 episodes of Wild Kratts while JP slept late and Cora rolled around and played among us.

As always, the kids centered their play around Cora, who was, as always, delighted to be included.

The blanket became a central part of our whole day and this morning both kids immediately asked if we could "spread the blanket" again.

But the highlight of the day was the surprise date night I planned for JP. I made a reservation at our very favorite fancy Fort Worth restaurant- the one he surprised me with a date night to when Cora was a few weeks old and we ate the best meal of my life in fancy clothes and blown out hair. I'm not even sure it was actually the best meal of my life, but it was damn good and the fancy adult nature of it all after 6 weeks at home with a newborn elevated the evening to a whole other level. Ever since, any time we talk about going out to eat, JP always jokes, "Ooh, at Grace?!" and I roll my eyes because no, it's all Tex Mex happy hours for us, but last night I got to say "Yes! The babysitter will be here at 7." and it was awesome. To keep up with tradition, I blow dried my hair for the occasion, the first time I'd done that in many a week.

We were celebrating the one year anniversary of starting the swim school and the great success and enormous amount of work he's put in to make that success. I'm so proud of him. He has 115 kids signed up this session alone and his name is bandied about in glowing terms on any FW mom message board.  It's been a lot of work by both of us, but as I wrote here, it's created a life that works well for us and I couldn't be more proud of where he is, and where we are, right now. And so we celebrated with the eating of fried oysters, the greatest salad ever made, filet mignons with Bearnaise, and butterscotch pudding desserts we had to order two of because we wouldn't share. Oh and a great bottle of Bordeaux because that's JP's favorite wine and he hasn't had it since he was in France before we got married because Bordeauxs aren't produced in the Yellow Tail price bracket. We told the waiter we were celebrating an anniversary, which I now realize he probably thought meant wedding anniversary, but I phrased it as "his one year anniversary," meaning JP's for his business, but JP dislocated two fingers at krav maga a few weeks ago and they're still too swollen to wear his wedding ring, so I was the only one wearing one, which probably made for a lot of confusing signals. But no matter, it was a lovely, lovely time.

And now we're all off to Target in the rain because we love adventure. Next week is going to be pretty routine and then it's pretty dress and bunny headband time! I can't wait.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our Lanman, 6.75

Tonight was a special night for the Lanman. A few weeks ago, a letter came home with him notifying us that his artwork had been one of fourteen pieces chosen by his art teacher to represent his school in the district art show. We were so excited. JP because he is actually very good at art and me because I am very very not. I had flashbacks to my elementary school art show (Houston's Rodeo Art competition) and my failure, despite trying SO HARD to copy the teacher's art piece exactly, to ever have a piece even close to nominated. The art would be displayed at the downtown branch of the public library for 3 weeks and there would be a special reception honoring the nominees on April 8th. We were in and we were pumped.

We decided to book our favorite sitter for the girls (girls! will I ever not get a little thrill saying that? it hasn't worn off yet) and take Landon out on the town for some art viewing, ribbon receiving, and special dessert eating. Upon hearing our plans, his first comment was, "Wait, so I don't get to be home with Claire and Cora and the babysitter?!!" We really had to play up the ice cream angle to get him to stop being jealous of his sitter-watched siblings.

JP had to coach until right before the reception ended, so Landon and I drove in together, parking at my office and walking the two blocks to the library. He loved walking through the city and told me that his Kindergarten teacher had promised to stop by and he hoped we'd see her. And as luck would have it- she was the first familiar face we found. JP ran in (literally) 5 minutes before close and the look on Landon's face when he saw his dad jog across the giant room absolutely epitomized everything about why we're both on the career paths we're on right now. Control over our schedules and making events like this, even if only for a few minutes, are everything.

Landon's art teacher was also at the reception and he had many sweet and complimentary things to say about our little boy. As anyone with kids knows, there is very little better than the high you get when someone else says something nice about your child. Particularly when that something nice is thoughtful and genuine. It is lovely. And not because it says anything about you, but because it says so much about a little one you've loved and cared for since he was a tiny non-breathing non-sleeping infant.

They are so much and so much yet unknown when you're holding that tiny baby. I mean, who knew our surprisingly premature and problematic baby would end up being able to draw so well?

Or that he'd love his little sisters to pieces? That he'd absolutely adore Kindergarten? Or that his Kindergarten teacher would adore him? That he'd be more sociable than you and your husband combined times a hundred? That he'd handle new and unknown situations with aplomb? That he'd love running, the color orange, and the flaming hot cheetos that you find (and have always found) absolutely revolting?

Sometimes I think the best part about being a parent, besides the hilarious things kids say and the way you and your spouse can laugh about them as you fall asleep hours after the kids were put to bed, is discovering the tiny person you made. We're only 6.75 years in, and have a long way yet to go, but it has been a joy to discover our baby Landon.

And though Landon missed Claire and Cora, I think he had a good time being an only kid with us tonight. I know that we enjoyed getting to spend a short time focusing only on him and his achievement- not just with regard to his artwork, but this whole year. Kindergarten has been such a wonderful time for him. He's always loved daycare and school, but mostly because of his love for other kids. This year we got to see him love it for the learning itself- the thrill of learning new things, knowing the answer to the question, doing well at something and being recognized for it. It has been a joy I can't describe to see him fall in love with school the way I loved it. And a relief for JP who never loved school but always wished he did.

We got home well after Claire's bedtime, but she raced out of her room when she heard the back door open and immediately jumped into Landon's picture. An intrusion Landon was only too excited about.

Sometimes I worry that Landon gets overlooked in our day-to-day. He's so easygoing and mellow and genuinely loves his sisters and family so much, and being the oldest already makes it easier to put more responsibility and blame on him. But then I step back and think- he's doing okay. He's an atypical oldest child in many ways- he's not Type A, not particularly rules focused, and while he is happy to bring home smiley-face marked papers, he doesn't seem to see those papers as an extension of himself. In other words, he isn't me. He isn't JP either. He's Landon, and though I spent his first several years speaking for him, he really isn't an extension of me anymore. He's himself, and it's an absolute pleasure (well, 98% of the time) to get to know him as he gets to know himself.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Food Crawl

Sunday afternoons are my favorite. After a morning doing family things- a park, a trip to the zoo, or today, just a bunch of errands, I go to my 1:30 barre class, swing through the grocery store on the way home, and set up shop in the kitchen by 4 pm. And then the fun begins. Music is turned on, food is put away and organized in the pantry and fridge, and dinner prep begins! On Sunday I always make something that involves a lot of prep because it's the only day I can do so without anybody crying. JP is home, the kids are in and out doing kid things, Cora is sleeping or playing nearby, and it is delightful. In the right circumstances- i.e., when it's not after a full day at work with hungry kids and no husband, I find making my mirepoux very soothing.

Tonight's dinner was my friend's deliciously healthy turkey chili and my sister's deliciously unhealthy homemade macaroni and cheese. They both involve a lot of prep- lots of chopping for the chili and lots of steps and layering and bechamel making for the macaroni. I like to serve them together in the same bowl- the mac and cheese lends a creamy unctuousness to the otherwise healthy and veggie filled chili and it makes my soul feel complete. We're having the leftovers of each for dinner tomorrow.

After dinner, we played a few rounds of Uno, with Cora on the carpet with us, paying very close attention to the game. When JP and I were done with the two slowest moving rounds of Uno ever (Claire looks at every single card in her hand individually every single time it's her turn; she's very earnest about it but omg we have to cap our nightly rounds at two), the big kids decided to teach Cora to crawl. As with all things, Cora was game, even if she was a bit skeptical at the developmental appropriateness of the initiative.

Landon: Okay Cora, you have to put your hands out like this.
Claire: I'll hold her legs!
Cora: Huh?

Landon: No. Claire, her legs have to go down on the floor.
Claire: See, holding them so high!
Cora: What are you fools doing to me?

Claire: I've got her feet!  I'll make them clap!
Landon: Yay Cora!
Cora: You know we are accomplishing nothing, right?

Cora: Staring contest, go!

Landon: Mom, she's going to do it! She's going to crawl!

Cora: Unlikely.

Landon: See, like this Cora!
Claire: Yes, like this!
Cora: Where's my elephant?

Landon: She doesn't seem to be crawling.
Cora: I am totally not crawling.  Bottle time?

And in other happenings, Landon made her into a superhero this morning so she could join the Lag Liv family junior crime fighting league. She was far more excited about her cape and mask (and mostly that she was wearing it all in the jumperoo) than she was about her post-dinner crawl training.

She is such a joy- more to come in her 5 month post this weekend (5 moths- ack!).

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What You've Been Missing

This week! It's over and done and nothing amazing happened, but I'm going to tell you about it anyway.

Mostly, Cora had a cold and it was the saddest.

She sniffled and snuffled and sneezed. She ate less and slept more, but in tiny fretful pieces. Every time she saw you she'd smile and then her lower lip would start to push out and tremble and she'd look at you in confusion like, "I want to be so happy, but something is not right. I do not feel good!" And then she would cry and you'd hold her and she'd stop and stare into your eyes like you held all the answers.

Unfortunately, I don't hold the answer to the common cold, but by Wednesday she was doing better- still sniffly and sneezy, but not so miserable, and by Thursday, she was her usual jolly self, though still just as sneezy and coughy and drippy. But smiley! And constant smiles are a better gauge than body temp or sneeze count for how our Corabunny is feeling.

Thursday morning, post-runny nose wipe

On Thursday night, after many nights of very interrupted sleep (and a Tuesday night where I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish all 592 pages of The King, because it had come out that day and I have major self-control issues when it comes to reading series; I liked it though!), I got the great idea to thoroughly clean and re-organize our play room. I was tired of looking at disorganized bins, toys left around the edges of where they should be, and millions of pages of original art work all freaking over the place. So I poured a glass of wine, dumped out EVERYTHING, and got to organizing. About 10:30 it was clear that I'd made a HUGE mistake. My wine was long lost (still full, but very lost), my momentum was long gone, and I was a very long way from being done.

But I pushed through. Mostly because I was at that horrible point where everything looks way worse than it did before you began and I just knew I couldn't lay in bed picturing that disaster a few rooms over. So I found my wine, too a fortifying gulp, and got back to work. And just before midnight I was done!

I went to bed feeling at peace with the world and the new organizational structure of our bins. And today, post-barre, errands, and shower, I tackled my closet. Between a pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss/barre addiction, and the changing of several seasons, it was a bit of a mess. I made myself try on every single piece of clothing I own- everything, even things I was certain I loved or certain I hated, and then ruthlessly packed bags for Goodwill. I filled 6 Trader Joe's bags of donations and discovered several pieces of clothing I'd forgotten I had or forgotten I liked.

like shopping for free!

Like the playroom, there was a point 2 hours in where it all seemed like a big mistake. (You're missing what could have been an excellent picture here of clothing all over my bed, floor, and dresser, but my phone was buried somewhere underneath it all.) But even more than the playroom, I had to push through because no way in hell could I have fallen asleep tonight with clothes all over the floor. I can't even fall asleep after a vacation when I have a suitcase that isn't unpacked.

But now it's so nice!

There is segregation and organization and rainbow order! All previously dusty boots and dressy heels are in plastic bins; shoe boxes are gone; everything fits the me that I am now and not the me I was or want to be! I can't wait to get dressed for work on Monday.

Left on my home to-do list is cleaning all our baseboards, interior and exterior windows (and we have SO many windows), and supervising JP's scrubbing of the skylights. Those things are all terrible, so they may have to wait until next week. Tomorrow is going to be about food shopping, prepping, and cooking, and lots of lounging and making the kids play outside so they don't mess up their pretty playroom. And probably bringing Cora to snuggle in bed with me because this cold has confused her and she thinks 5 a.m. is morning. It's not, but she's darn cute while she tries to convince you that it is.

Happy weekending to you all!