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.

Monday, March 13, 2017

wonderland meets tomorrowland: part III

Okay so here's how we combined the clothes and organized for two kids. In the closet, which tough luck Wally those floral bins are staying I put out the "outfits" for Wally. You know... onesies and pants. Though while we're home he lives in zip up PJs there are a few "outfits" for when we go out in public. You know, eventually. I think another week and I'll feel comfortable.
The bottom two shelves of this hanging thing has the onesies and pants. The rest are Alice's.
And there's three shirts hanging. I assume I'll use that little plaid shirt for easter.
And hanging here is the Matt collection. Frankenstein jumpsuit, Misfits button-up, Ramones onesie, skull bib, and knitted booties that Matt wore when he was a baby... (Alice did too)
Up here are the shoes that were neutral enough to pass along to Wally.
The castle is one of my prized possessions. It's actually a piece of the old Disneyland parking flags. We've been Disneyland people forever but now that one of our kids is named after Walt Disney it makes this little piece of Disneyland even more special.
This bottom shelf used to have overflow books but now it just houses the many diapers and wipes for two kids. Alice is showing signs and we're trying to introduce the idea of pee-pee poo-poo potty. She has a little potty she likes to sit in and flush and we read an Elmo potty book.
Wally doesn't care about toys right now but here's basket #2 of baby toys. And that's it. Only two baby toy baskets I'm drawing the line!
We've got bags for her and bags for him and bibs and hats. The little red one was also Matt's when he was a baby. Thank goodness Jill hung onto some of Matt's baby stuff, so special.
The top of their dresser is a huge jumble of baby and kid paraphernalia and if there's a hero in this situation it's the Ikea drawer dividers that I literally use everywhere in our house. Even the kitchen. Obviously you can see we have diapers for the nougat and for the new one. One trick I've learned when storing things this way is that I p-touch what the items are on the lid to help us locate things easily when we're delirious or for when sitters come over.
Yeah... the Honest company makes astronaut diapers and lookit how tiny newborn diapers are!

The bottom drawer holds their PJs and socks and Wally's baby hats.
I just love seeing their clothes together. My girl's side.
My boy's side.
Not pictured 'cause it's gonna take too long to accomplish it: under each of their beds in underbed storage boxes is their next size up clothing and bedding for Alice's bed. And the bottom drawer of the bookcase has baby blankets, crib sheets, muslin blankets, and changing pad liners & covers.

Kids come with so much stuff!!!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

the master bedroom "nursery" setup

Since the kids are not sharing a room yet, we wanted a space for Wally that would serve as his "nursery" while Alice enjoyed her room all to herself since she naps and sleeps so well. And since this is the crucial nursing all the time to fatten him up stage he couldn't be too far from momma so he's in our room. The setup is organized but by no means "pretty" or "styled". It's completely utilitarian. Oh that bed. Once in awhile when Matt and I are both sitting on the bed, reading or on our phones, Alice is either on an iPad or "reading" a book and I'm nursing Wally I tell him "Know what I love other than you and our kids? Our big giant bed." 
At the foot of our bed I had Matt setup the third of our bouncy swing things. The mamaroo is in the living room, we have a swing in the office, and this one. We only owned the mamaroo, the other two are loaners from my sister. He'll sleep here sometimes and sometimes in his bassinet.
This is the best upgrade me got from my sister. Bassinet on one side and changing table on the other.
The bassinet thing is so soft and cozy and there's a little mobile there too that folds up.
The middle has the bucket where we stage his wet clothes or dirty diaper and we keep the petroleum jelly and the bum spatula and pee-pee teepees.
The side has a hanging thing for diapers and such and such.
The top of the dresser.
Hand sanitizer and baby products, the sound machine/night light, and the camera that we'll mount over the bassinet area eventually.
The top drawer of Matt's dresser has changes for when he wets through his PJs (which he did three times one night so we have to add more here) and extra diapers and burp rags and wipes.
Here's all the baby crap from this angle. In my nightstand is my second electric pump when I go back to work. I've pumped a little but only when I wake up full before he does and I've been using the manual pump for that.
Having a master suite with the bathroom nearby has been so great during pregnancy with the constant rushing to barf and pee moments but now it's great too for hand washing before and after middle of the night diaper changes. Behind the toilet I have this sexy situation. Keepin' it real.
I've since distributed the digestive solution medications since I'm doing pretty well almost two weeks post-partum and I kept those hospital provided items on display just to remind myself that I am still in recovery. But now that I feel so good I'm like whatevs and put them away.
I love that Alice loves our bed too. She'll request "Mama bed, bed" and we'll go and hang there, she wrestles her dad, and she reads or plays on a device quietly while I'm nursing Wally.
And that's our nursery setup for baby #2!