Archive for the ‘Postpartum’ Category

When Hal is home, all is good. He has the next week off for a vacation and on Tuesday, we are leaving for a three day/two night stay in Orlando. Hal’s sister is hooking us up with a hotel and tickets to Universal Studios. Sometimes, I realize just how good life is and am filled with such excitement. I feel so incredibly lucky to have met, married, AND have children with Hal.

Every two to three months I’m needing to buy Bella new clothes. The girl is growing like a weed. Tonight, I just bought her a few new outfits in size 18 months! Tomorrow, she’ll be seven months old!!! As I was walking through the outlet mall, making a bee line from Carters to Motherhood (for a postpartum support band – more on this later) I felt really happy. I was by myself and every time I saw a woman with a small baby I had to comment on how cute and beautiful her baby was. I walked by a guy who had an unusually large Boston terrier (35 lbs.) on a leash and stopped to talk with him about how large his dog was (heh) and how I love Boston terriers. I had a lovely conversation with both the sales reps in the stores I went in.

Now, I have to go upstairs and comfort my son who is currently having a melt down.

Oh, wait… he just stopped crying and fell back to sleep.

Life really is good and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being able to see that, again.

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Life has been pretty chill around here, lately. We seem to have gotten over and through our early year rough patch and have moved on to greener pastures. The shift started with an old high school friend offering to give me a free massage. I remember thinking after I read her e-mail, this is it! This is the start of something new! I know it’s silly, but I tend to see everything like a river… sometimes it flows peacefully and sometimes its out of control. It all depends on the surrounding elements. I’m the river. Maybe one day I’ll run smoothly even when the weather’s not so good.

I’m still seeing a therapist every week. She has also been a calming element in my life.

** Hal’s grandmother decided to give her grandchildren a chunk of money before she passes away, when we all seem to need it the most. Apparently, there is still a lot left over to give after she passes. We are shocked and very grateful.

Our main bathroom is in dire need of work so we’ve decided to invest the money in our home. We’ll probably go about it in the least expensive way possible, however, I’ve been having a lot of fun looking (daydreaming) on-line for tile, vanities, and bathtubs! Realistically, we will be replacing the linoleum flooring with new tile – possibly the stuff sitting in our garage if there is enough, it is left over from when we tiled our front door area. We’ll also be buying a decent, yet inexpensive, vanity/sink. IF the floor isn’t too expensive because of the water damage done to the particle board under the linoleum, we’ll put in a new toilet. I am really hoping we won’t have to replace the bathtub and wall tiling in the tub. We also need to re-tile half of our roof, clean our carpets, and do some yard improvement stuff with this money. Oh, and we’d like to by a nice 32″ TV. I think our current TV is a 20″, which is nice, but we are movie people.

I took out 100 bucks of our pre-inheritance to buy some new clothes for myself. I’ve spent $55 of it already. I don’t have expensive taste – Target clothes are fine by me – but my body is in such a weird middle place right now. I’m afraid to buy any pants because within the last three months I have dropped four pant sizes, and it seems like I keep losing weight on a weekly basis. Not complaining, but unpredictable weight loss makes buying clothes less fun when you’re poor and need to be able to wear what you buy for at least a year. I’m also keeping my larger sizes because once I’m able to eat what-ever I want again, my weight may go up.

After giving birth to Bella, I was a size 20. I’m currently a size 16. Funny how I don’t feel any different. I never see myself as being “fat,” regardless of my size. I also have never felt unattractive because of my weight. The only reason I want to be a size 10/12, is so that I can thrift store shop and find cool stuff! The era of clothing I like was made pretty small. A size 10 back then is like a size 6 now-a-days. When I was 24 years old, I was a size 8. Only now do I realize just how small that is.

** Hal’s sister works at Margaritaville in Universal Studios. She gets free tickets every month to either use or give away. We have been to Universal several times with those freebies. This time, as a birthday gift to Hal (July), Max (November), and me (December) she is giving us tickets to Universal and paying for a hotel at Universal. Walking distance from the park! For two nights! Hal and I aren’t “theme park people,” but when its free… woohoo! yipee! I’m actually pretty darn excited about this.

** I’ve been taking it easy since burning out last week from all the outings with the kids, but tomorrow I’ll head out to Sarasota for “camp.” My nature mama friends have organized a summer camp for our kids. I am what is called a “floater.” Max, Bella, and I pop in when we can without any commitment. If you are part of the regular camp you can drop your kid off on one of those two days for the duration of camp-time. Regular camp runs two days a week from 9am – noon and is held at a different mama’s house each time. All my nature mama friends live two towns away (at least a 30 min drive) which makes it hard for me to commit. If they do it again next year (this is the 2nd year its been done) I think I’ll “sign up” (which is a verbal commitment) to go full-time.

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Yes, Max got his first spanking yesterday. I asked him where he put the toilet paper that he was using to clean out his nose and he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I threw it in the toilet.”

“Good boy.” I proudly said.

Then I went into the bedroom, looked into the crib, and saw toilet paper draped over Bella’s face and going into her mouth.

I tanned his hide and made sure he understood why.

*I hate that I spanked Max and never want to do it again. Disciplining has been a huge struggle for me with him because of how strong willed we both are. I’m looking for better ways to deal with my own frustrations so that I can better guide him to “good” behavior.*


In the middle of the groaning and moaning about the realities of my life I always feel the need to stop and count the blessings that crop up or linger around. In no particular order:

My paternal grandmother made these two fantastic quilts for my kids:

The horse one was sent to Max after his birth and the other for Bella after she was born. I hate that I *think* that I’m not crafty enough to do art like this. I want to be. My mom and paternal grandmother are both very crafty – so I do have it in me. Maybe once my body isn’t in constant pain (mainly my hands) I’ll learn how to knit, sew, and quilt. Hey, I’m still young – I’ve got lots of time to learn.

I can’t wait to lay these new quilts out on my kid’s beds.

This next wonderful part of my life is what makes me feel like I can and will survive the next year… and that is my relationship with my husband. Even though we have both felt the stress of parenting while poor – we have manage to stay supportive of one another. We don’t fight, we talk. We make one another laugh. We don’t argue over petty things, we keep the disagreement focused on the “real” issue at hand. We don’t blame one another for our personal sufferings, we acknowledge each other’s feelings and perspectives. Okay, I admit it… I do blame him sometimes but he lets it go in one ear and out the other. He understands that I’m “venting.” And if I get out of line – I admit it. Anyway, I really like Hal as much as I love him – and that means a lot.

The third good in my life… I have a couple of friends that I can call any time. And they call me, too. We support and value each other. I feel lucky to have these women in my life when so many people have trouble connecting beyond superficial interaction.

Then, of-course, there is my kids… they are both happy (I have no idea how or why – but they are), healthy & full of life and love…

and that’s all she wrote.

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This morning when I blinked, Max poured out my Aveda hair product into the toilet and trashed the bottle into the can as well. Then, he transferred a bottle of Burt’s Bees Apricot Baby Oil into a coffee mug.

I realized early on that today was going to be one of those days. This was before 10 am. “One of those days” means I try to ignore him unless he’s being nice or wants to play with me. I spent most of the morning folding laundry and some of it playing with him and his dinosaurs.

While I was nursing him down for a nap (that he didn’t take), I decided that today would be the last day I nurse him for a nap. Tomorrow, I’ll read him a few books (like we do before bedtime at night) and lay with him until he falls asleep. He is almost weaned! The last nursing time to go will be the one first thing in the morning.

My MIL is coming soon to take Max to Jungle Gardens. While he’s with her I’m going to get the house cleaned and make some food for the week. I’ve been having issues with hunger. I mean, when I get hungry it comes on so sudden that I feel sick. I’m not eating as much as I normally do because of my food restrictions (no dairy, soy, eggs) so I need to have easy, already-made food on hand. And fruit. I don’t mind these restrictions because it forces me to eat healthier. It will just take some time to get use to preparing food in bulk so it’s good-to-go in the fridge.

Dear Max,

You will always be an awesome kid in my book, but… since you were such a tart this morning, I thought it would be shweet to post this picture…



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I think I know what my MAIN problem is… I feel trapped. Trapped inside this house, trapped in my life, trapped in my obligations – even though I made these choices willingly and excitedly – I feel trapped.

Step 1.) I have got to figure out how to get out of my house more often.

Our neighbor down the street runs a home daycare center. I went to high school with her and she seems nice enough. I don’t think she fosters a creative learning environment or anything close to the ideas I’d like to pay someone to share with my son. She runs a straight-up “drop your kid off and I will care for him” kind of environment. She charges only 20 bucks A DAY (which is pretty cheap here), but I would only need her for about three hours in the morning so I’m hoping she’ll work with me on the fee.

If I just had somewhere to drop Max of from 9am-12pm so I could have some alone time with Bella, run errands, do housework, or have me-time (while Bella sleeps) it would be a HUGE help. And seeing as how my family is lousy at helping in ways that I need/ask for help, it looks like I’m going to have to consider paying someone.

Friday I’ll take a walk over to her house to see if she can help. Let’s cross all our fingers and toes in hopes that she will take Max for half a day, 1-3  days a week for a pro-rated fee. I’m not holding my breath, but we’ll see.

Before the next part of this post I should first explain… I have never let Max “cry it out.” So just know that since I was okay with doing it this afternoon, things are pretty bad for me right now.

As Max and I laid down for a nap around noon, at his request, I had a gut feeling that he was pulling my leg about being ready for sleep. That feeling was right – he just wanted to nurse. I really hate it when he does that.

At around 2pm Max was acting as ornery as they come – he was tired and in dire need of sleep. However, in the ornery spirit of the day, he was refusing the luxury of a nap. As I sat on the couch to nurse Bella he attempted to crawl all over me and disrupt her nursing session. I’ve been a little stressed-out about Bella because she has a severe case of eczema right now. Because she is not feeling well/comfortable, I am a bit MORE on edge (as if that were possible). I have to do lots of extra stuff to keep her skin hydrated (including major dietary changes). Anyway, after asking Max several times to not crawl on us and hearing him say, NO!, in his annoying as all hell sassy voice, I told him to go to his room. And NOOOO!, was the answer he gave me – each time I told him.

He got so mad that he had a meltdown and in typical Max-fashion, threw up all over the place. Normally, this would get him off the hook as I would set Bella down to make sure he was okay and then clean up the mess………………………….. normally. Well, nope, not this time. This time I sat Bella down and physically sent him to his room – and told him to take a nap. He screamed and protested and vomited several times on the bedroom floor. I threw in his sippy cup (literally), told him to drink some water and get into bed for a nap. I was burning up inside but managed to do this very calmly yet stern.

He continued his tantrum for about 15-20 mins as I scrubbed the living room carpet and tried to block out the screams of both my children (as Bella’s nursing session was interrupted she, too, was pissed).

They are both sleeping now. It was about 40 mins. of HELL but it’s over, for now. I peeked in on Max and he was in Papa’s bed with the covers pulled over his tired little body. I’m itching to clean the carpet in the bedroom but know I will have to wait until he wakes.

I was going to make a post about Max’s and my kitchen adventures – with pictures and everything! I’ll do that later. Even though life seems really difficult to cope with these days I do have some sunny patches mixed in with it all. I want to make sure I record those, too. So, later, when I find my MIA camera, I’ll make a sunny post.

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Feeling okay today. Numb but not angry and hateful like yesterday. I just have to say that I do know how lucky I am to have so many people in my life who care about me and actually *show* it. In so many ways my friends have been there for me – especially after Bella’s birth. This grumpiness isn’t about them, it is about me and my inability to feel better for their efforts. It scares me, really. Usually a little social contact is all I need to lift my spirits.

Yesterday wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. I cooked dinner with Max for the first time last night and it was a lot of fun. He sat on our counter top and “learned” how to make black beans and deep fried tofu. I felt like Rachael Ray with a willing captive audience. I talked about every little detail of what I was doing and Max watched with excitement. He knew that all my talking would intermittingly lead to him throwing the chopped onions and garlic in the pan and dumping the can of black beans in with them. My camera was downstairs at the time but I think for future meals I’m going to record our cooking sessions.

I updated my blogroll on the sidebar and still have a few more sites to add. You should definitely check out the new additions because these mamas have amazing blogs. Many of them are super creative, honest, or both. These are the blogs I like to check in on. Some of these blogs – some of the time – depress me because I’m like, “I wish I could do that!” Though, most of the time they inspire me to find and do *something* creative with my children.

I think I’ve found “A Something!” COOKING!!! It’s perfect! I love to cook – and eat – and it doesn’t cause me any physical pain. And best of all, my children can do it with me – unlike this writing thing I love to do which requires solitude (a difficult feat at best  with a toddler running amuck). Like right now, Max is having a meltdown because I won’t let him sit on my lap as I type.

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I’m starting to feel something that is familiar and unwanted. It is located in between my heart and my throat. That place where stuff wants to come out but it is too abstract to make its way through the mouth. I used to feel this way and blame everyone and everything around me for it. I use to blame Hal. Now, I just feel it and want to run away. The problem is, I don’t know what it is I would be running from – other than this feeling. I think it is Depression but I’m afraid to see it as a problem. If it’s a problem that means I need to fix it and can’t just ignore it. I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t want to fix it if the only way to do so is to take synthetic moods. I don’t want to talk about it with anyone because that would mean I’d have to actually pick up the phone. Then, I’d have to listen to advice that I’d agree with but won’t be able to follow. I don’t want to talk about it with Hal – even though I know I’ll tell him what is going on with me. I don’t want to be disappointed in him because he can’t help me. He won’t have the right words or the right questions and I don’t want to find a reason to blame him for not being able to help. I haven’t started taking it out on my kids but I’m afraid if I don’t cry soon, that is exactly what will happen. I don’t want to cry because it gives me a headache and that makes my day 10x’s harder. Wait, I have started “taking it out” on my kids – I feel numb around them. I do the bare minimum to care for them. I think this has been going on for a while but I’m just noticing it today. I tell myself that I am okay. That if I can just make it through this next year my RA medication will come to the rescue and life will be “normal” again. How am I going to make it through this year feeling this way??? I think I may need to see a therapist.

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I often wonder what it is I do all day that makes time go by so quickly. They say time flies when you’re having fun but I don’t think that is what’s going on here!

7:30am: Max and I get out of bed. Bella is still sleeping.
7:30am – 8am: I drink my coffee, Bella wakes up, Hal changes Bella’s nappy and puts big boy underwear on Max.
8am – 8:30am: I shower! For the first time in two days! Get dressed and nurse Bella. Max is playing with his dinosaurs in the middle of the living room. Hal leaves for work at 8:30am.
8:30am – 9am: Put Bella in swing and drink 2nd cup of coffee while talking on the phone to Livia.
9am – 9:30am: Still on phone with Livia. Bella is still sleeping. In between allowing Max to talk on the phone and helping him poop/pee on the potty, Max tries to get me off the phone by pee’ing in his big boy undies. Didn’t work. I have him take his underwear off, get me a pair of his shorts, and put the clean shorts on him. He later poops on the potty (while I’m still on the phone!). Then, I sit on the floor with him and play with his dino’s while I’m on the phone. I also fold all of Bella’s clothes because we needed to rewash them – we think she was allergic to our normal laundry soap because she has a wicked skin rash.
9:30-10am: Get off phone with Livia and Max begs to watch King Kong movie. We go downstairs first so I can check my e-mail and Max plays downstairs. Then we go back upstairs and I make him some toast, me a faux chicken salad sandwich, and we watch King Kong – which I start at the scene where the ape snatches the woman from her constraints.
10am-10:30am: I make four phone calls, one to set up an appointment for my car, one to set up a pediatrician appointment for Bella (their phone is busy I still need to call), one to our carpenter who is really dragging his feet on finishing the work we have already paid him for (he’s a friend’s father so I do trust that he will eventually get it done – I know their whole family. I don‘t get a hold of him so leave a message) and one to make arrangements to get together with friends this weekend (left a message on their voice mail). After the phone calls Bella is ready to be nursed again.
10:30am- 11am: Change Bella, help Max use the potty. Sit on the floor with Max and Bella to give her some “tummy time.” SHE ROLLS OVER FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!
11am – 11:30am: Nurse Bella, put her back in swing (BTW… I only put her into the swing either when she has already fallen asleep in my arms or is about to fall asleep). Watch King Kong with Max. Put french fries for lunch into oven. Play with Max while laying down in our bed – he jumps all over me like I’m a jungle gym and I try to keep from getting hurt.
11:30am – 12pm: Make our veggie corn dogs and chocolate smoothies (soy milk, frozen banana, soy protein powder, peanut butter) and eat with french fries for lunch. Eat lunch together.
12pm – 12:30pm:
Still eating lunch – Max eats very slow.
12:30pm – 1pm: Work on recording this entry. Max is playing on our porch.
1pm -1:30pm: Work on recording this entry, let dogs outside.
1:30pm – 3:30pm: We all take a nap.
3:30pm – 4pm: I wake up to Bella fussing. Change her nappy. Take Max to the bathroom when I notice that I forgot to put a nappy on him and he didn’t have an accident! Nurse Bella.
4pm – 4:30: Nurse Bella while watching Jurassic Park part 2 (per Max’s request). Max goes into our bedroom and pees on my pillow. I get him to put the pillow in the laundry basket – it was nice of him to at least tell me.
4:30 – 5pm: Nurse Bella until she falls back to sleep then I put her in the swing. Fold and put away two more loads of laundry. Check e-mail.
5pm – 5:30pm: Still working on laundry. When I finish I call Grandma, sit on the floor and play with Max’s dinosaurs.
5:30pm – 6pm: Bella wakes up. Max continues playing but by himself, now. I play with Bella and get her to laugh HYSTERICALLY for the first time! Hal calls to let me know he’s on his way home and to find out what we need from the grocery store.
6pm – 7pm: Change Bella’s poopy nappy. Help Max use the potty. Hang up last bit of laundry. Sit on couch and veg-out.

7pm: Hal is home and I’m downstairs finishing up this entry. I am EXHAUSTED.

You may have noticed that I didn’t cook dinner tonight. My right hand is actually hurting badly as I type this so Hal is making dinner. I have given myself permission to not do everything everyday. The house is a disaster but I don’t care. There are dirty dishes in our sink and on the kitchen counter but, again, I don’t care.

I spent lots of time with the kids, saw Bella roll over and laugh, witnessed Max’s first nap without a nappy and got the laundry done. I also made important appointments, had important conversation with a close friend all the while having to pay attention to BOTH my kids, help Max use the potty, change diapers, let the dogs out, write, and listen to Max’s repetitive chanting of, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy. I can hear him upstairs, now, saying the same thing between his chanting of, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy.

So this is actually an average day. Switch up the household duties that I get done, mix in an epiphany or two, add the occasional play date and there you have it.

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Whenever I manage to cook a fabuloso meal or bake delicious pastries I feel like a domestic goddess. On the contrary, when I’m not able to keep the house at a moderate level of “clean,” I feel like I’ve somehow failed. It’s a self imposed pressure. I take a certain amount of pride in having a clean counter top and piss-free toilet rim. The toilet area is a priority because toddlers have no respect for the dirtiness that is potty germs. In fact, it seems like they look for opportunities to frolic in their own shit. Max is potty learning and I’m grossed out on a daily basis by his bathroom shenanigans.

My idea of “clean” is to have the kitchen free of dirty dishes, the counter tops wiped down, the sink and toilet area in the bathroom clean, clean clothes, the dirty clothes in the laundry baskets properly separated, and no food or random pieces of clothing laying around on the floor. I can manage all this with ease. However, the living room floor is typically sprayed with Max’s toys and the kitchen table loaded with clean laundry waiting to reach its final destination. If you were to enter my home you might say it was a disaster area. However, to the eyes of a SAHP (stay at home parent) and my husband, I’m doing pretty well.

I have finally caught a groove in managing the kids and the house. Certainly, once Bella starts teething, crawling, walking… um, growing… the groove will go away and mayhem will once again assume its position. However, for the time being I’m enjoying the domestic bliss.

This pride in my work is a feeling I only caught glimpses of while managing the bookstore. I love books but I loath retail. I hate serving people who don’t appreciate it – which is why mothering often comes with the price of dissatisfaction. It’s hard enough that children can’t really show appreciation but when your culture has a big fat lack of appreciation for mothering to boot… well, you get the point. I also hate doing work that doesn’t come with a feeling of productivity – ergo, hate working for da’ man, love mothering. I can just look at my kids and know I’m productive.

My life, by the standards of many women and at times to myself, is boring and painfully mundane. The irony of my lack of freedom and dullness is that it is surprisingly more satisfying to find appreciation in the simpler acts in life than it was to be paid for doing work I never cared to be mindful at.

Now, having said ALL THAT… I also can’t wait until I’m able to get back to a PAYING job. I have big plans to remodel our house and we can’t get a home equity loan until we are a two income household. Having birthed both of my children in our bedroom, I’m very attached to this place and would like to stay here. Short of moving to a cool metro-city – I have no desire to leave our current home.

On a completely unrelated note… I used to feel really eager to hear Max say that magical, life affirming word… mommy. Now, I can’t stand the sound of it.

Max pooped on the porch earlier today. I used his underwear to pick it up and throw it over the side. However, there is still some poop residue calling out my son’s name. He has been BUGGING me for the last 20 mins about it. He’s dieing to touch it but I’ve threatened (promised) to take away ALL of his dinosaurs if he does. I can’t wait until he “gets it.” Poop is beyond gross yet I deal in it everyday.

One of the worst things that can happen is right when Max finally lays down for sleep, Bella wakes. This is my fate today.





I am such a dork for posting these pictures.


I baked these today:

Thank you to the HipMama who shared the recipe site.



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I wanted to go into more detail about what I meant when I said, “I have realized in a big way that “adjusting” to having two kids is not about me but about helping Max adjust.

I have found that having a second baby is not as difficult as I thought it would be. I have that feeling of, been there done that, when it comes to Bella. In fact, it is even easier this time around having an infant than it was the first time. All she does is poop, eat, and sleep. Oh, occasionally she cries to let me know that I need to attend to her needs. Now, with Max, this is all new territory. I’ve had to learn how to set new boundaries with him, teach him how to touch his baby sister, and help him to adjust to sharing ME with Bella. Every new parenting challenge has been set by Max’s needs and me having to figure them out. As Bella grows, I’ll face the challenges of figuring out her personal needs as well. Some of her needs will be drastically different than Max’s were at the same age. However, right now, in her infant stage – she’s pretty easy. Well, that was a lot easier for me to explain than I thought it would be.

Nursing News:

I’m down to nursing Max before and after naps and when he wakes up in the morning. Nursing him less hasn’t made me like it any more. I’m still gritting my teeth and barely bearing it. One reason I can’t stand it anymore is because Max, being the toddler that he is, can not sit still as he nurses. In fact, the only time he can sit still is when he is sleeping. Another reason… I just want to see some actual steps to getting my body back. I’m working on it… I envision Max being completely weaned within the next two months.

Grieving News:

I mostly mourn the loss of my friend while by myself. I don’t want Max to see me crying. Sometimes I cry in Hal’s arms but mostly I’m alone. The pain is still as intense as it was the day I found out she died. However, I’m noticing that the crying is becoming less frequent. Memories just flood in uncontrollably and a deep feeling of loss and sadness follows.

Potty News:

Max is using the potty almost full-time, now! Woo Hoo! He still wears a nappy when we go out (I‘m not ready to brave the public restrooms with him, yet), during naps, and at night but other than that he uses the bathroom when he’s got to go. When he wants to go by himself he’ll look at me while standing at the bathroom door, hold his pointer finger up and say, “hold on one sec, I’ll be right back, mommy.” He’s getting so big.



Bella is growing fast, too.

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