Bean has been a little tough lately. She's definitely a very independent three year old who likes to test her boundaries in every way possible. She can be tiring and even maddening at times. And then there are times like this. When her sweet baby face and love of life's simple pleasures takes my breath away.
Today I'm loving the reasonably priced Marais chairs and stools from Industry West. These chairs are styled after Tolix chairs, which are found in bistros throughout Paris. Tolix style chairs usually run between $200-$300 each. The more affordable Industry West chairs and stools are in the $125-150 range.
If you haven't checked out the blog French By Design, you must do so now!! I've found some of the best quotes (like this one) and coolest design ideas on this blog. The only problem with it is that it makes me want to go to Paris right now, which I can't do. Oh well, I can dream.
Have you seen this NYC article about dads taking over as full-time parents? It's an interesting read. Life as a stay at home dad is probably a little easier in a progressive city like NYC. I wonder if it's more difficult in most cities, where men would have fewer connections with other stay-at-homers.
Have you seen this great website, Humans of New York? I don't know what's more inspiring, the photos and the stories, or photographer Brandon Stanton's own personal story. I love that he's a failed Chicago Board of Trade bond trader who moved to New York City to take pictures. He said his mom was not happy with him on this decision. Now he's taken over 5,000 portraits and written over 50 stories about the fascinating, diverse population of NYC. The pictures and the captions are awesome. Some are funny, some serious and heart warming. Be sure to check out the website for more great pictures and stories.
There wasn't anything special about this weekend. We didn't have any grand plans, and with the muggy hot weather we spent most of the weekend indoors. Saturday was a little rough. I've never been so tired in my life as I am now. Cookie isn't sleeping through the night yet, and Bean is going through another night waking phase. I think I'm averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night between both of them waking up. The fatigue is constant, draining, and depressing. I felt like I had been hit by a truck on Saturday after a long night of baby wake-ups the night before. I barely had the energy to get off the couch. It was not a good day. I know I was not at my mommy best, and the kids both reacted in kind.
Sunday was totally different because I actually slept more than 5 hours. My husband took the night shift for the baby, and Bean only woke up once but then slept until the late hour of 8am. My mood was drastically different, and I think it was reflected in the way the kids acted. It was a good day, the polar opposite of the day before.
One of my favorite things to do on Sundays is to get the New York Times and spend an hour or so at the table reading, eating breakfast, chatting, and anything else we can fit onto our farm table. Bean is finally at an age where she will sit and draw for a while so we can read-a luxury I'm soaking in before Cookie starts moving. My husband gets out the checkbook or whatever paperwork we have to do, we put the Sunday Jazz Brunch on the radio, maybe dance a little, and hang out. I love it.
I don't know about you, but I LOVE the New York Times print edition. I'm all about iPads and new reading technology, but there's something great still about the NY Times. It's a paper I can read bit by bit all week long, and I always find articles I'm interested in. It's so much better than the ambulance chasing style of most local papers these days. One article I found last week was this one, about a woman's emotional struggle in trying to find her daughter's birthmother.
I hope the print edition of the NY Times never goes away.
All things happen at the farm table
Dancing to jazz brunch
Bean's drawings on the pages I've read
Swinging with the two kids - Cookie's first time on a swing
I took this picture of my smiley little girl in her daddy's Patriot's hat today, celebrating the Pat's first pre-season game. I look at this picture and honestly feel a little sad. I don't get to spend as much time with Bean these days. I feel like she's not getting the love she deserves. My heart is certainly big enough to love both of my babies, but I physically can't give her as much time as I used to. And sometimes even when I do have time, I'm so exhausted from waking up all night with the baby that I have to turn on the TV to tune us both out. Sometimes I'm short with her because, in my sleep deprived state, I don't have the patience for her three year old ways.
I know it will get better as the baby gets bigger and less reliant on me for everything. And I know that it's good for her in the long run, so that she doesn't grow up thinking she's the center of the universe and she has a sibling to share her life with. A sibling who has a similar adoption story so they have each other when they need to work through their own stories. I'm also sure my mom gave me less attention when my sister was born, but I don't remember being angry about it and certainly never questioned my mom's love for me because she had to spend a little extra time with my sister when I was two years old. I know that a mommy's love is more than just sitting on the floor playing dolls.
But the fact is that I miss her. We had gotten to a point where we were doing more together because she had started to like and be fully capable of doing more of things I like to do. It's hard to play for hours outside, go to the beach, go to museums, paint, draw, or read when you have a wiggly baby in your arms with an attention span of about ten minutes. I can't give Bean more than a baby nap's length of full attention right now. And we're stuck inside more because the baby can't handle the heat or bright sunlight, can't swim, can't play on playgrounds. It's no surprise to me that sometimes Bean gets annoyed when people oogle over her being a big sister. Right now to her being a big sister is a constant disruption. It means waiting and waiting while mommy changes the baby's diaper or feeds him. It means sharing mommy with someone else, all the time. She'll get it later, but for now she usually tells people that she just wants to be called Emma, and not "the big sister."
I love my baby girl's beautiful smile and her bubbly personality, even if it does make me more tired than I've ever been trying to keep up with her while taking care of Cookie. I have to remember - like the old saying goes about raising kids - the days are long and the years are short. Someday soon we'll get to do our things together again. And even though it doesn't seem like it now, I'm pretty sure she'll like having a brother around for all the fun things we'll get to do together. Other than manicures and pedicures, and shopping, and girlie things. Those will be mine and hers alone. As Bean says, "No Boys Allowed." Just me and my little girl who I miss right now.
A few things I've been thinking about lately for New Ideas Tuesday.
I think I was the last person on earth to read this amazing work-life balance article on Atlantic Monthly. But if you are the last person to read it, do it now. It is a must read article, especially for women but also men who are in management roles and have the power to make some positive changes. I'll probably blog more about this in the future. I can't agree more with the author, I think she read my mind. Take that Marissa Mayer.
I kind of dig these tea box planters. It's a cute idea, and I may give it a try for winter. Now that I'm working from home, maybe my plants won't all die on me. I don't know the original source, but I found it on Pinterest.
I think this article on making friends after 30 is interesting. What's your experience been with making friends post college? I think I've been pretty lucky and have made some great friends recently. But the article raises some very valid points on the factors needed to make great friends and the things that happen in life that inhibit new deep relationships.
Does anyone know where to find these industrial bins? I think they make very cool storage bins for toys. From French By Design.
I'm feeling very rusty with my writing. I've actually written about four
posts to restart my blog, but I've tossed all of them. I don't know
where to start and I'm overwhelmed with what to write about. My life has
changed in so many ways over the last three months, all for the better,
and it's hard to know what to write about. Everything is epic. So I'll
keep this post simple just to get things going again.
Today was my first day back in the working world. My leave with my new son Colin (aka Cookie) is over. The last three months have been a whirlwind of baby craziness. We weren't expecting this one since we had gone on hold in our adoption process. See this post about going on hold. Things really do work out for a reason. His adoption was definitely one of those meant to be situations where things in the world came together in a way I never thought possible. I get goosebumps even thinking about it. Bean's adoption was so amazing that I didn't think I could feel that rush of emotion again. But I did. In a different but similar way. Now I have two most amazing times of my life events. Whenever I'm upset I just close my eyes and imagine the first time we met Bean, and the first time we met Cookie. And I'm not sad any more.
People ask me all the time if I'm upset that I didn't get to experience the miracle of childbirth. Um, no. My two miracle situations are way more interesting. The way they came into our lives and the very moment we met them would rival any childbirth story. No I am not upset about missing out on childbirth. My body is fully intact and I have two beautiful babies with their own unique stories. Why would I be upset?
My second maternity leave went way faster than the first, probably because life doesn't slow down for a three year old no matter what happens so we had to stay on Bean's frenetic pace. Bean's leave felt like a vacation. This one was more tiring. Those of you out there with more than one baby - did you feel like your second leave was more tiring? I feel a little guilty but I'm not sure I enjoyed it as much. It had nothing to do with how very amazing our new baby is, but more to do with how tired I am. I can't handle the fatigue any more like I used to.
Colin (aka Cookie for this blog) has grown from a tiny newborn to a roly poly baby. This kid has always been busy, so it's no surprise to us that he's way ahead on starting to move around. He's rolling over from his back to his tummy, about 2 months before he's supposed to. And he wants to crawl. He gets so annoyed that he can't move yet. It's probably just a matter of weeks before he starts to crawl. We are in trouble!! I'm trying to relax as much as I can now, because we will be chasing him very soon.
One of the other epic changes is my job situation. I now work from home instead of in a corporate office. I can't think of a more perfect job situation to balance life and work - a subject I am very passionate about. This opportunity came about at the perfect time, as I was really struggling with what to do after my part time contract with my previous company ended. I just started today so I don't know how I'll feel in six months. But so far I LOVE it, and I hope it works out. We have an office in our house that I love, which really helps. My husband now calls it the "mommy command center." I do feel like I could control a spaceship from in here. I loved my commute this morning. 10 feet from my kitchen to the office. I worry a little that it may get lonely, that I might miss the chit-chats I had with coworkers and the benefits of working together as a team on a daily basis. But I don't worry too much. I actually like being alone. Probably more than the average person. And no more of the annoying corporate meetings to talk about the "value add" that the company is bringing to their clients.
Bean is now a big sister, and has really outgrown her toddler ways. Other than the occasional tantrum, she is more and more of a little girl each day. We let her pick what color she wanted for her "big girl bedroom" for becoming a big sister, and she picked pink. And wow is it ever pink. But I love it and I'm happy she wanted this type of room. I wonder if this is the last time we'll agree on a color, that her room will look more like my style than her own. She's a strong headed little girl and will most likely pick things that are opposite of me just because she can. Who knows what she'll want when we change it up the next time. Neon orange you say? I hope not.
Life has certainly changed over the last three months. In so many ways. I'm still amazed at the way the universe moves along. I've said this before and I'll say it again. I believe there's a plan for us long before we are even here. I have learned to have faith in the plan, but to work at helping put the plan in motion for whoever it is above us that created it. I've learned that I love to write and to blog about the little things that happen in life. It helps me really recognize those things amidst the chaos of raising kids. I've missed blogging, but I'm glad I took the time to spend with my new family of four.
And now I've shaken off the rust, and Original Beans is back!!
I've decided to take a 3-month blogging break while I'm on maternity leave with Colin (aka Cookie). It's hard to find time to do anything with two kids, and any "free" time I have I want to be loving on both kids. I especially want to enjoy Cookie's tiny-ness during this time. He's a big baby and I know he will be out of the tiny newborn stage quickly. Right now I feel like my "free" time is better spent with him than online. I'll be back in late July, probably with tons of new ideas now that we have a little boy in the house!! We've decided to give him a superhero bedroom, using this color scheme since the walls in his room are already this color:
I haven't blogged in a week. This is why. I am love with a tiny, brown haired, 8 pound beautiful little boy who came into our lives all of a sudden on a Saturday morning. We have been in North Carolina loving on him, becoming a family, and all I've cared about is kissing his tiny baby hands and arms and legs and cheeks because I know how fast he'll grow up. It's been a long, humbling, uncertain week that has changed my life. Bean has a baby brother, Colin, "Cookie" as she calls him. Bean and Cookie, my daughter and my son, brought to me through two strong birth mothers and the miracle of adoption. My life is complete, I am a happy, happy mama.
The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain. An interesting historical fiction take on Earnest Hemingway's first wife.
The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. So far I love this book. The author is on a quest to find out why she's not as happy as she could be. She's a financially sound successful writer with two great kids and husband, a flat in NYC, and supportive parents and in-laws. Basically the perfect life. And yet she found herself constantly complaining and annoyed. She set out to research and implement all different techniques for being "Happy." I also like the blog, The Happiness Project. This book is definitely worth the read.
What Bean is reading now:
Meeow and the Big Box, by Sebastien Braun. Bean loves this creative book about a cat who uses a cardboard box to create a fire truck.
Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett. A sweet book about a little girl who adds color to a black and white town with her unending box of colorful yarn.
That's How!, by Christoph Niemann. A little boy imagines how everyday things like airplanes and boats work. This one is great for creativity.
I think this is a really cute DIY idea, although I may use a shortcut with clear labels instead of the entire process described in the blog post. But either way, I love the style, and it would help make my kitchen cabinets much more organized and cute. Great idea, from The Painted Hive. See the original post for the process, more pictures, and the FREE label printables.
We had a great Easter weekend with family, full of laughs and too much candy. There were lots of great pictures from the weekend, but these are my all-time favorite Instagram pics of Bean and her two cousins reading. They all took turns "reading" the book out loud to each other before bedtime. It was a sweet, peaceful memory from the weekend.