Thursday, May 25, 2017

that second child

We've had two kids for three months and I can honestly say it's been a lot of highs and a lot of lows. The highs and lows are a heightened level from our abalone. She's cute, sweet, smart but now with the addition of the second kid she's experiencing a lot of jealous moments and acts out just because well, she's two, and because she doesn't know how to explain "Hey mom, I want you to stop looking at him because I am worried that you'll love him more than me and and look at me instead so I'm gonna throw things so you can pay attention to me." 
There are days when she is a legitimate terror. Basically she seems to think that she's the only person in the house that matters and we should all bow to her whims and wishes. I want this, I want that. Who cares if mom, dad, or little brother need to eat, sleep, or poop, it's all about her her her. Thursday in particular was rough after she threw a giant tantrum about not wanting to take a nap and then later on about taking a bath. All this while I'm trying to pack for a weekend for the three of us and let me tell you I learned my lesson. From now on if I have to pack, I gotta do it when she's asleep. The boy is a piece of cake but she needs to be out of my hair to be able to do anything otherwise she's just all up in my business and setting me back to zero. I wish I could tell you I handled it with grace and patience but no, I told Matt to take her before I lost my mind. As I changed her diaper I just told her "Alice, you are not the only person in this household. Mom and dad are in charge. This is not Alice's house, Alice lives in this house but she is not the only one. I want you to have fun and give you everything you want but Mom, dad, and Wally have to eat and sleep too. " I dunno if she understood any of it but she was at least quiet as I told her this. It's a mantra I have to repeat to myself honestly.
So about that second child. Who is Walter Rey Fredrich? He is cute. He is smiley. He is easy. He's gotten into a routine now and we did pretty much nothing to make that happen. I told a group recently if I'm gonna give you any advice it's "don't listen to any advice". Everyone had their ideas as to what works when getting a kid to sleep through the night and I honestly think that they just get their on their own. Wally started sleeping from 11pm-6am on his own with very little effort on our part. At first I fed him every two hours, then I fed him every three hours, then I fed him every four hours, and then one day, it was longer. He did that. His body just got big enough where he needed sleep more than food and that was it. Wally also falls asleep so much easier than Alice. He actually falls asleep in the bouncers and swings faster than if I try to rock him, almost like it's too much stimulation. He of course falls asleep easily in car seats, strollers, and in baby carriers. Sometimes I've laid him in the crib or on the floor on a play mat and I hear babbles and then silence and he's out.
He babbles. It's my favorite favorite thing. I stare at him and just talk and talk to him and he loves it. He seems to think he's telling me some super important information. We do a lot of chatting at night when sister is asleep around 9pm before he starts getting super fussy and needs to sleep. Changing his diapers are great times to chat with him. He makes eye contact and just smiles and coos and your heart just soars and melts. He is holy crap, SO stinking cute. I can't get enough of the little baby hands and toes and rolls and his round head and the way his ears stick out and his happy smiles and just... everything. He's a total adorable angel. I freaking love him.
We recently took steps to ensure that Wally would be our last baby. (Thanks Matt! You're a trooper!) It's bittersweet knowing this is our last baby and it's going by so quickly and I can't do anything to slow it down! I even remember in the midst of the annoying round the clock wake ups having moments of this will be the last time I have to do this try to enjoy it. Even on days when the two of them are demanding my attention and I can sneak away and nurse him quietly and do nothing but that it helps my well being so much. I get taken out of whatever I'm doing and I just sit and hold my baby and feed him and stare at him. Who wouldn't want to just stare at that beautiful boy?

Sunday, May 7, 2017


Lately, a lot of things have revolved around Alice. Alice activities. Alice tantrums. Alice Alice Alice. I feel bad that Wally doesn't get as much attention as he should and especially whenever I'm holding him or looking at him, Alice will want me to pay attention to her or want me to put him down. She does think he's cute and she likes going "Hi baby sister!" "Brother!" we keep correcting her. And he has started smiling at her. Poor kid, ignorance is bliss. 
We're still figuring out the balance of one on one time with either of them and quality time in general. I find myself calculating priorities in minutes or seconds. Hmm, they're both asleep, should I nap myself, blog, put things away, take a shower... what can I do that I need both hands for? I could use a third hand when nursing, seriously. The extra one could feed me while I feed the baby.

Time is going by quickly and my maternity leave ends on June 1 after which I'll be going back to work when weekends will be my only time to have such luxurious thoughts about improving quality time with my children. It makes me sad to think about all that I will miss while at work. But a momboss has gotta do what a momboss has gotta do.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

virginia lee plank 1929-2017

Last month Matt's grandma was hospitalized with pneumonia (amongst other things). When she was discharged we went to visit her so she could meet Wally. We saw her on Easter and she seemed like she was doing good, we had normal conversations, she seemed fine. But unfortunately four days later, her heart gave out and she passed away at home.
It's hit the whole family and particularly Matt pretty hard. She was 87 years old but you still just assume people will be with you for awhile. She was the grandparent Matt saw the most, for all holidays, and even lived with her for awhile after college. Just on Easter she remembered that he likes apple juice and brought some for him. I've only known her for 9, almost 10 years but she was a big part of my life and an important member of our family and we will miss her very much.

Matt's mom Jill asked me to help make a program for the service and I was happy to be able to contribute something. Here is the link to it on dropbox. Check out her bio, she lived a good life.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

the golden girls office/guest room

As you know The Golden Girls is well... not just one of my all time favorite shows but... a way of life. Sarcasm. Cheekiness. Plants. Pink. Gold. Miami. Geriatric friendship. My current office/guest room has tributes to the show all over the room but I had been thinking about a Golden Girls room that was more on the sophisticated side. Obviously that meant some of the very things that are my way of life: pastel pink, plants, rattan, gold, rose gold, bamboo. Here's what I whipped up:
I am way too lazy to tag the things in the photo but I have a pinterest board that has as much of the things I found for this board plus some stuff that didn't make it onto the board that you can use to put together your own Golden Girls themed room.

Thank you for being a friend.

Monday, April 17, 2017


This kid is nonstop needs attention. The other one is just nonstop energy.
All I want is a few minutes of daytime where a child is not being fed by me or hearing mama mama over and over and over. 

organizing the diaper bag for two kids

My diaper bag search had to expand with the birth of Wally. Forever we used the diaper dude diaper bag that Matt used but I wanted a backpack so I could be hands free with the kids. I bought the OhJoy one and liked it for awhile but the zippers gave out thanks to us overstuffing it and so I figured it was time for an upgrade and got this one which I love, so far because it has so many pockets.
For everyday trips we use Matt's bag but if we leave the house for hours/the day we take my bag which is more prepared for anything. The back pocket closest to the straps has the diapers and changes of clothes. With two kids and the California weather I like to have one short and one long sleeved shirt and leggings for each kid. I keep a sweater for Alice, and PJs for both. If you think the color coordination is an accident: it's not. I made sure the kids tops and bottoms had a color family just for my sanity. I can't match the kids but I like to dress them in similar colors. I also keep a muslin blanket that I stuff way at the bottom of the bag that I can use as a spit rag, a blanket, and a cover.

This little pouch has the accessories like a bib, socks, bows for Alice, and hats for Wally.
The bags, both from SkipHop are great double duty things. The chevron thing is the diaper pad thing. The item on the right is a wet bag with a very special double feature.
So the diaper pad holds diapers, it folds out into a changing pad, and has wipes. So if you gotta change a kid, you just grab this thing and it has all you need, so long as you make sure it's stocked which Matt is great at and I am so-so at. Here it is unfolded and they really thought it through, there's a little bit of padding where the little babes head goes.
The mesh part is where I keep the wipes.
The zippered part is where we stash the diapers.
The wet/dry bag (which I don't see the pattern we bought) also has two functions. The front is a clear mesh thing that I put Alice's clothes in.
The back zipper has a protective lining so you can put soiled clothing in it while you're out and about.
Once I put all those things in the bag this is what the back pocket looks like. The bottom right pocket has Wally's clothes and the left has more diapers.
And this is what it looks like when I shove the diaper changing pad in there.
The top pocket keeps those little saviors we know as pacifiers.
The front pocket, top row (and here the photography got lazy): left to right: I put a toothbrush for Alice, spoon, pen, pencil, notebook, and a reusable bag.
The bottom row has ready to use formula bottles just in case and a bottle that Wally uses easier than those ready to use bottles and once we run out of those ready to use ones we'll have some backup formula in powder form with a dispenser thing in here. The other side holds her snacks, our snacks, and a fetching plastic bib for her to catch her pizza sauce mess.
The cool thing is the three bottom pockets have insulated lining so it'll keep drinks cold or warm should you need that to happen.
Left is a burpy bib that is both burp cloth and can be wrapped around your kid's neck and secured with a clasp to make a bib. Clever right? The right is a nursing cover that can be used for a few things of which I didn't realize one of them until I just now clicked on the pictures on amazon. I shove these two items into the top of this pocket.
The very front pocket I keep the little essentials.
This stuff. I realize I am obsessed with having bandages on me at all times. It's a disease.
The front also has this pocket as well and I keep empty or put my wallet in when I'm out with the kids by myself and don't wanna have a separate purse.
Side pockets hold her and my water bottles/sippy cups.
The back is super padded and comfy.
And has a bonus secret zipper. Feel like I should keep either cash or a knife in here.
And I wouldn't have bought it without this: stroller straps.
Is it heavy with all this junk in it? Oh yeah. But... kinda necessary when we're out all day.

Friday, March 31, 2017

right now i just get to be mommy

I am a Type A person 100%. Sure there's a bit of lazy in me but I like working, I like being busy, I like to do things. Right now though I am fighting the feeling like I have a bunch of unfinished things to do: a half eaten lunch, half drank cup of coffee, half read magazine, half finished journal entry, half written blog, half finished house projects. If those things stay half done for a half a day or too, what's the big deal right? Then why do I feel like I'm failing at something?
I need to keep telling myself that my only job right now is to take care of myself and the kids. If Alice wants me to sit while I was hoping to finish dusting the office then... I should sit. If Wally insists on being held the whole time while you're trying to make dinner well then... put him in a baby carrier and chop some broccoli. Matt's been doing a mountain lion's (what's bigger than a Lion?) share of work around here as always. We trade off on kid duty and try to let one only have a kid to deal with at a time. We have had a few evenings where one went to the movies and left the other one with both kids but that was all fine. We haven't had a date yet but hope to get that figured out soonish. And he gets frustrated when he's trying to accomplish something but Alice keeps interrupting. Toddlers and babies are needy, boy are they.
And it's not easy for us to relinquish that responsibility of trying to be productive or what have you. Sooner than I want it to be, I'll be back at work and will miss these days when I can just be mommy, now's the time for us to just... be.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

two is twice the demand on mommy

I'm gonna give you a little day in the life style breakdown of what it's like with two kids and two parents being home so this is a day where no one is outnumbered and yet I still feel like I am sometimes.

Wally is eating just about every two hours round the clock. Sometimes I get three hour stretches at night but mostly I'm on nursing duty every two hours. That's an exhausting existence for any nursing mother. Being on duty pinned to a baby with your boob out for 1/2 an hour at a time every two hours is not the funnest way to pass time. I'm glad I am able to nurse and I'm glad my baby is eating and growing and I know time passes by and I'll miss this magical time but still... tiring.

On this particular Sunday I had been up twice that night with him after the 2am feeding we were still mostly up for. And then began the rest of the day.

7am: I heard him fussing but since I'd fed him at 5am I felt it was way too soon and let him fuss a little more.
8am: Well we must've both fallen asleep because I didn't hear him again until the sound of Alice calling for Mama woke me up again. I left him still sleeping in the room with Matt and went to get Alice. I gave her a few donuts and some bacon, made myself some coffee and eggs, and we sat watching TV for awhile.
8:45am: Matt walks in with Wally. He hadn't realized that I'd left the room when he heard Wally fussing and changed him. By then Wally was hungry so I nursed him and Matt wanted to go to church and offered to take Alice. Yes, please.
9:20am: They take off to make the 9:30 service. With one kid gone and another asleep in my arms I considered napping and then found that The Truman Show was on amazon so I had to watch that. Wally slept the whole time (of course, he was being held).
10:43am: Matt calls to tell me church is over and they're on their way back. They get back and Alice and Matt both want to tell me about their day. I pause the movie and Matt tells me about church and how Alice sang along to a Ramones song in the car.
11:32am: Wally still snoozing, Alice wants to see 'Little Einsteins' so we give her the tablet to watch them while I finish the movie on the TV.
12:08pm: Wally has now nursed on one side and fallen asleep for a second before I nurse him on the other side. Matt makes me a sandwich that I eat at the couch while holding Wally.
12:27pm: Alice and Matt go into our room to play and Alice shows me her Ramones dance moves. Wally continues to be fussy and I hand him over to Matt to take over for awhile while I play with Alice in the office and we have a little tea party. Wally falls asleep on Matt and they both nap.
1:30-2:20pm: Alice and I watch a few more Einstein episodes.
2:30pm: I put Alice down for a nap then head to our room.
3pm: I lay down hoping that I'll be able to nap.
4pm: I nap for approximately an hour before Matt wakes up and lets me know that his cousins are coming and Wally wakes up and wants to nurse again. I nurse him laying down and as he's finishing the second side his cousins arrive and I know my nap is over. He takes Wally so the family can hold him and I lay there for about 20 minutes before I get up and put on a shirt that covers my nursing tank top. We hang with the cousins who brought Portos, God bless cousins who bring treats.
4:30pm: While finishing up one half of my sandwich Alice wakes up from her nap crying. I put down my sandwich and get Alice. I bring her to the couch and hold her for awhile there and then try to get her to let me go back to the table but she wants me to stay with her combination of shyness and woke up from a nap crabbiness.
5:30pm: I eat the second half of my sandwich at the couch while Alice hangs by my legs.
5:30-7:30pm: Hang with cousins chatting while Alice watches Einsteins (dang she does watch a lot of TV) and they rough house and play with Alice. Wally sleeps but starts fussing near the end of the visit. I put a paci in his mouth to hold him off so they can take off.
7:30pm: Nurse Wally in playroom, Alice plays and watches Mickey and the Roadster Racers. We put Wally in the swing and Alice pushes him on the swing and puts Buddy in the swing so Wally has company. MELT.
8:30pm: Matt gives Alice a bath. I sit here and start typing this day. Wally is in his swing half falling asleep, half fussing. I pick him up and hold him on the couch in the office and start dozing off
8:45pm: Alice comes in after her bath for her nightly running around naked portion of the evening. Then retreats to her room with her dad for bedtime.
9pm: Matt comes in and takes Wally, sends me to bed to sleep.
Thus ends the day and another begins.
1am: Matt comes in with Wally for a nurse. He tried to keep him quiet and gave him a bottle but he can only do so much.

So that's me having it easy. That's a day when Matt's home to help with bathing Alice and putting her to bed while I tend to Wally. That's a day when Matt napped with Wally while I hung with Alice. That's a day when we had dinner brought to us and we didn't have to make it. I dunno how I'd do it if I was by myself with both of them with Wally nursing round the clock the way he is.

Friday, March 17, 2017

that pancake life

There's pretty much only one thing I make that all of my family eats together and that's pancakes. Alice and Matt don't eat eggs, Alice doesn't eat... anything but veggie bacon, and Matt can't have regular donuts so making vegan pancakes is the only thing we can all share. Over the year or so that Alice has been eating actual food I've perfected the tools and technique for pancake making. First off they have special plates I serve them on. I bought them forever ago from West Elm who was doing a collaboration with my maybe favorite New York City institution: Fishs Eddy. They make my beloved Sawlt and Peppa shakers, a collection called "Brooklynese". I want their cake trays, I want their pretty much everything. For accoutrements we have whipped cream, maple syrup, agave syrup, vegan butter, and regular butter. Like I've said, feeding a vegan and a toddler: tricky.
Now we come to the essential tools of pancake making like a large two burner griddle pan. It saves me sooo much time. I used to have to make one pancake at a time, eternity!
I suppose you could use it to make other things but... we just use it for pancakes. 
I recently switched to this mixing bowl because it has a spout. Makes the pancake pouring very precise and way less messy. I'm on the hunt for a non-plastic one too.
And to the right of the burner, a big ole pancake spatula. Seriously makes for an easy flip.
As far as recipes and food products themselves I use Isa Chandra's Perfect Pancakes recipe from her Vegan Brunch cookbook. We use Earth Balance vegan butter (the soy-free kind), Coconut Cooking Spray, and Matt likes Blue Agave Syrup over maple syrup.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

and his name is...

The first name of our son has been a back and forth between Matt and myself since way before Alice was born. Everyone throws around names when they think about kids and we never agreed on a name except a few. In fact Adam and Vincent were top contenders and my sister Liz, not on purpose and unknown to her, took both for her son. So we have spent the past 8 months back and forth back and forth over the name. Every name I'd hear that sounded good I wrote down in a list. Girl names I had a billion but boy names oof. Tricky!

I had one name and only one name on my list that I took seriously: Walter. After my hero and a man that feels like he's practically part of our family, Walt Disney. Uncle Walt. I have a framed photo of him in my office and my sister Mary once posted it on her instagram "Walt Disney made it onto my sister's family photo shelf. I guess because he technically did help raise us."
Matt wasn't wild about the name and I kept saying we can call him "Wally" and since the lifelong Angel fan couldn't resist a Wally Joyner reference, a first name was decided.

Though Matt has a lot of male cousins, we've had a lot of girls in the Fredrich family being born and funnily enough, Wally will be the first to carry on the name. With our duty done, and since Alice's middle name comes from Matt's grandmother I thought we should give our boy a name from my side of the family. Trouble was, names on my family's side are way too Mexican, my father's name is Federico (Federico Fredrich? No) and hard to pronounce and I was thisclose to settling on my brother's name: Abraham. He's one of my best friends and I still love the name but Matt felt we should name him after a family member at least a little older than my brother. As a lark I said well all I have left is my Tio Rey. And it was decided. 

My Uncle Rey's full name is Rey Arturo which is King Arthur. He was born on the "Dia de los Reyes" and he's the baby boy of the family, "El Nene", right before my mom and her twin sister. He's been the funniest dude in our family for ages until he recently told me that he's given up his starring role and let the younger generation now be the stars. I spent the summer after my freshman year at college living with he and his wife my Aunt Leti and they had been the only role model marriage I knew from our family of unfortunately broken ones and they have taught me about hard work and enjoying the simple things in life. They became parents much older after much difficulty and their daughters are brilliant. Mia is the oldest and Valeria (in the photo below), a surprise, has autism. I don't know such devoted parents as my aunt and uncle. When I called him and asked him "the favor" of letting me use his name for our son, "R-E-Y?" "Yup, R-E-Y" we spent 20 minutes talking about adulthood, family, life, my mom/his sister, and being parents in our 30s. After that call I felt so at peace knowing that we're naming this kid after the right man. 
So those are the men we named our son after. We take names seriously around here (Lebowski. Wozniak.) and I love having a person and a story behind a name. 

And now you know the story. You can tell it to my son sometime.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

wonderland meets tomorrowland: part IV

Here's some bonus pics of the kids' room since I have my sister's fancy camera.
Okay so here's where the glider ended up which was a great spot, it's all nestled in the corner. The one thing that was problematic was that I like to have a nightlight here for when I read to Alice before bed but there wasn't an accessible spot to have a lamp sit so... we hung one on the wall instead.
Predictably the lamp is from Ikea. We have the identical table lamp version in our bedroom and I'm a big fan. They're really pretty lamps. They even have the cord wrapped in b&w. Mari, the only one in our family with legit artistic ability, made the one for Alice and made this Buzz one for the boy. We called him Buzz in utero but now that he's out, we've been calling him Wally.
Such a colorful bookshelf of things.
We're trying to get Alice to be into the Wall-E movie so she can pronounce her bro's name. So far it's working... kinda. She just refers to it as wobot moonie (robot movie).
This shuttle caused me to go into labor. Or at least visiting the place where we bought this plush shuttle will forever remind us of the fact that he was early thanks to NASA.
Space guys.
Everyone that comes to visit and see their room always talks about the adorable bed. I agree.
And I just love this shelf thing.
Crap I still haven't bought those initial hooks.
I love how the room turned out. Even if I'd tried harder to design it it still wouldn't have turned out as good as me just winging it with zero time. Sometimes inspiration strikes under pressure.