Friday, August 28, 2015

Six Months: Laura

Six months ago, I was having really painful contractions and trying to tough it out before my epidural... six months later, we're playing with baby toes and Laura is pivoting around on the carpet, playing with Grace's tea set.

Most people call her a serious baby, and I do not necessarily disagree - definitely observant. Also, a loving, joy-filled baby. A baby who is content being held and loved; a baby who makes her mama feel so happy to just be her mama. Quality time baby? I think so.

She's also an extremely good sport when her sister climbs into her crib almost every morning.

Grace calls her "rar-rua" and loves her baby sister. Laura even laughs and giggles as Grace tickles her! Sisters, sisters, as the song goes... I love watching them enjoy each other so much.

Laura is growing well - that's the first thing people point out. Yes, physically, of course - and mentally, and in her wonderful personality. We've bonded even more this summer, and Laura is starting to out-smile Grace (if possible!). 

In silly pictures, this is me attempting to get a picture of Laura's one tooth that is poking through the gums, causing her to wail in the evening. Well, it's there!

It was around this age that we really wondered what was going on with your sister - much less interest in moving (at that point). It's amazing watching your body contort and how unwilling you are to stay in one place for too long. Laura Kathleen, keep on moving, trying to crawl, and swim on land. You're almost to the army crawl! (Your 2nd Lt. Uncle Mikey in the Army is going to love that!) You're so strong, intelligent and playful. I'm going to keep enjoying this baby time while it lasts.

Love you so much,

p.s. but maybe less attempts to roll off couches and beds?

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

New Swag: Grace's First AFO (Plus Shoes)

Grace's cerebral palsy is labeled "right hemiparesis" - so, our emphasis for therapy is concentrated on her right side. As a preventative measure, she got her first AFO (ankle foot orthotic) for her right foot. Both of her physical therapists recommended it, and it came just in time for Grace to start taking her first independent steps! Her AFO supplier is called SureSteps - it's rigid enough to supply support, lightweight, and help keep the weight evenly distributed because she feels like she can trust her right side more. She needed a prescription for it, and her doctor was happy to write one.

The fitting was... full of tears. Grace doesn't mind shots, but she abhors being measured. (Head measuring still ranks as all-time worst.) She liked picking out the pattern too!

Three weeks later, we went in for the fitting and - a couple minutes of crying later - she was up! Notice how she is initially still leaning on her left leg.

She felt very comfortable, which is important, and it fit very well. She starts to shift her weight over a bit; it looks more equal.

She even put weight on it almost immediately! Huge improvement already.

Downside: Her current shoes do not accommodate the AFO; and while shoes are not necessary on carpet, they most certainly are on hardwood and tile (plentiful in our rental).

Upside: Happy Grace! Loving her posture improvement.

We're going on a week of wearing it now, and Grace is doing really well. She wears is twice a day, for 30 minutes. We won't be pushing her to wear it more (like we do her patch), per instructions. She doesn't cry either when we put it on, which helps me. We'll even have her stuffed animals wear it too, when she's not. Gotta share love around here!

The next day, we went shoe shopping! In Three Bears fashion, the first shoe's strap was too short. The next shoe's strap was longer, but barely velcroed over the brace. The third shoe was perfect - stretchy sides and a stretchy strap across the shoe. Affordable ($15) and super cute (muted gold with detailed bow) -- thanks, Target!

We received a lot of recommendation for shoes - here are a few: StrideRite; Robeez, Osh Kosh at Target (the ones we tried did not reach far enough); Health Tex at Wal-Mart; Toms; Pediped.

The other advice we got was to buy a wide version of a shoe - that works too! Fortunately for us, this shoe had stretch built in, which allows this shoe to be used outside of brace time. 

As you can tell, wearing an AFO is not cramping Grace's style.

I could not find this actual shoe on the Target website (??) - but here is a similar shoe. Ruffled socks are a must as well.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

One Year Later: Bridget

One year ago, around dinner time, I was sitting in the hospital cafeteria when I got a call from my sobbing mom: Bridget, a cousin of mine, had died.

Bridget was one of my most favorite cousins (first cousin once removed) - really, she was everyone's most favorite! A bubbly, lively, loving cousin who I've adored my whole life. She always made me feel loved. People felt the presence of Bridget.

I was waiting to give Will his dinner; I was with Grace, and Will was late meeting us - his patient was taking longer than expected. The phone call didn't feel real. I sat there, mustering composure. My concentration was  broken only by a classmate-friend of Will's, who stopped by Grace and me to say hi before his ER shift started. All of the sudden, my eyes filled up with tears and I frantically apologized, saying that I just got a call saying a family member had died, and would he give Will his dinner?

I called home and my Dad booked me on a flight so Grace and I could go home for the funeral. There was no doubt in my mind: I would be there.

First solo flight!

Being part of a very large extended family is funny. We love each other so much, but most only see each other at major holidays. I got to see second cousins I hadn't seen since a few Christmases earlier (married life means I wasn't in town for the cousins party) - it was wonderful to catch up. Was the occasion bittersweet? Of course. Still, we're there when it counts, right? Waiting before the funeral mass in the room with our huge family was beautiful - seeing so many cousins, aunt and uncles, and my grandparents. Family is a beautiful thing.

I do not like those sayings about how friends can be more family than actual family members, or something like that. It's still a comparison - like, but not the same. Friends you can pick, keep in touch, and foster a relationship with for as long as you desire. You're born into your family - and even if/when you're apart, your relationship can never be wholly severed. For better and worse, family is family is family.

I love my family, and I know how lucky I am in that capacity. Even living 10+ hours from my family, I'm reminded of them: I fixed my Aunt Kim's breakfast casserole recipe this week; my grandfather's watercolor hangs above our fireplace mantle; crucifixes from Will's grandfather hang around our house; Will's sister painted Grace's dresser; pictures my little cousins colored for Grace are displayed by her toys; two paintings from Bridget's home now hang in our front hall.

I love Bridget so much, and I will miss her every day. I grieve the memories we'll never make, and I cherish the ones we have. She is so very dear to me, and I ask that you think of her today.

Here is the written form of her eulogy, given by her sister Trish. I hope it shows you all what a truly unique individual she was, and how even the happiest-looking can mask their pain.


Dear Everyone who loved Bridget, This is Trish. I can't tell you how much all your thoughts, prayers and photographs have meant to my parents, our family and Todd. Right now we are just trying to deal with losing our "Bird". For those of you that couldn't make her service (we know you were there in spirit), here is her eulogy: Bridget’s nephews, my sons, Nick and Luke have a book – Heaven. It is a story about angels coming to call a dog to heaven. The little girl and the dog have a chance to discuss heaven before he goes with the angels.

The little girl’s heaven includes endless rollercoasters, mountains of chocolate and no bedtime.
The dog’s heaven is filled with fire hydrants, “whiffy things” and lots of BONES!

Bridget’s heaven may include “whiffy things” – but only because she has LOTS of non-allergic dogs by her side. And, her dog, Gypsy, is leading the pack.

Bridget’s heaven has an endless garden that never needs weeding. It’s filled with flowers that are always in bloom and the most beautiful tomatoes, herbs, peppers and English cucumbers you have ever seen. The avocados are always ripe.

In Bridget’s heaven the cars are always clean. Laundry is always folded for you. And, every angel has a label maker, wears purple sparkly socks (like Donny and Marie) and yellow smiley faces are everywhere.

Her cloud is definitely the neatest on the block – and the prettiest. It is perfect. Beyond perfect. Every inch of her cloud is carefully considered and beautiful. (She should have been the designer in the family. She had a talent for it and loved working with Doug and Lisa, at Greiwe, years ago).

(But, Dad, I bet she is already starting her list of projects to do with you someday)

She will have a giant dining table – big enough to fit her entire family. It will have fondue pots with an everlasting flame and will be set with the prettiest china and crystal.

I’m guessing the clouds in heaven don’t have walls - to hang her pictures of the people she loved – but that clouds have windows so she can see us. She has two BIG picture windows to see Mom and Dad and Kris.

Super special windows so she can always see my Nick and Luke. And, our niece Rigley and nephews Ian, Ryan and Aiden.

Aunt Missie and Uncle Dick. Aunt Madge and Uncle Eddie. Aunt Liz and Uncle Tom. Aunt Kay and Uncle Bob. Uncle Paul. (I know she is already hanging out with Aunt Nancy. She really loved her)
Rick. Jenny. Greg. Liz. Doug. Missie. Kathy. Marianne. Barbie. Gigi. Eddie. Annie. Lisa. Beth. Susan.

And her favorite cousin and best friend Micki, Lynn, Kathy, Lisa, Jessica, Chris, Janet, Russell, Bill and all her friends. And, Matt.

And, Todd. I have no doubt she will be prepping her kitchen in heaven for the day when she and Todd can make dinner together again - with vegetables from her garden while they sip a creative cocktail or two. They loved cooking together.

In Bridget’s heaven the sun is always shining and the beaches are always open. Considering how she could ROCK a bikini on earth, I can just imagine how beautiful she looks in her bikini with wings.
Bridget LOVED to sky dive and hang glide. Her nickname was “Bird” and she loved being a bird. She did it whenever she could. Maybe her love of flying and all that time in the air was just practice for when she received her angel wings this week. (But, hopefully, as an angel she won’t have to worry about landing in piles of cow whiffy things like what happened last year in Puerto Rico.)

There have been many times in my life I have felt certain angels with me – especially Nanny, Dan Kohnen, Melissa’s mom and recently Caroline’s mom. I know Bridget will be there too – and hope you can sense when she will be there with YOU. Because, she will.

She is.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Who Wore It Better?: Polka Dots

 Grace and Laura match again!

I would type more but Grace is using me as a literal jungle gym as I type... Trick question! They're both adorable.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Laura Kathleen's Birth Story: The Second

This story is also called, The Girl Who Cried Induction...!

In the beginning was the Due Date

The difference between our first baby and our second baby was scheduling. In New Orleans, Will skipped class when I was in labor. His teachers knew I was due and all was fine.

In Bethlehem, we had a very specific window of time because of Will's job and my limited maternity leave with school. This caused a lot of stress on my end, alleviated partially by the presence of my wonderful, helpful mother-in-law (who arrived a week before my due date and stayed a few days after Laura's birth).

Grace came at 40 weeks, 2 days, so I wasn't necessarily in a rush to have this baby. Actually, I remember specifically praying that she would come after my Thursday classes, because then I would be mostly done and my Friday class could watch Thursday's lecture. (Priorities!) I was convinced she would come that weekend...

Bye, bye weekend. Hello, last week of February.

Will had this week off, and BOTH my in-laws were in town to spend time with the new baby. Bebe Deux, however, was quite comfy inside and I don't blame her. It's cold here in February.

Fine, whatever. Monday. Tuesday? WEDNESDAY. I had an appointment with the OB and I discussed induction. It wasn't my preferred plan but March was approaching and March meant Will's SICU. I was super nervous it was going to be as bad busy as January's MICU rotation. In January, Will left around 4:30-5 a.m. and got home after 8 p.m. Another ICU month also meant he would not have any more time off, and could not wait around for the birth to happen. We decided to induce on Friday evening, if she didn't arrive earlier.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday... I wasn't teaching class this week. I was off and uncomfortable. I kept having pains, but nothing consistent. For dinner that night, I barely finished my sushi roll. I finished packing and gave Gracie kisses ta-ta.

Since we live within walking distance to the hospital, we walked there in the cold and entered the ER, where triage checked me in, and we were paraded around the Emergency Department, with everyone not with a patient cheered us on. It was pretty awesome. We went up to OB, got settled into another triage room and a resident came in to check me. She and Will knew each other from his OB rotation, and it is always fun watching him interact with the other doctors.

She then told me I had advanced from 1 cm to 3 cm in two days, and when she consulted with the attending, they sent me home. I was too far along.


The part where I went home and contracted

We understand: induce a girl at 8 p.m. and she could be having a baby in the wee hours of the morning... so, no sleep. Still ready, and sadly, I walked home with Will. My in-laws were deciding which movie they wanted to watch on Netflix and YAY! We were home in time to watch it with them. They decided to watch The Terminator, a Baldwin family favorite that I had yet to see.

Yeah. Not my first choice for films to contract to... About halfway through, we take a break for popcorn. I am now regularly contracting, but I had an OB on hand (thanks, FIL!) and he didn't think I was in a rush-back-to-the-hospital situation; my MIL was giddy-excited. Will tried to help me feel more comfortable, and then asked why I did not seem to be enjoying the film.

BECAUSE I AM CONTRACTING. And because I don't get it. (Arnold: why is it so scary?!)

Movie over. I appreciate it more and think how this movie would tie into a post. Go to bed. Contractions.

Wake up at 5:45 a.m. to a phone call from the hospital telling me they are too full and will not be inducing me this morning; they will call me when they're able. NOPE I'VE CONTRACTED ALL NIGHT. Oh, says the nurse. Then come on in!

Hospital, here to stay

Let me begin by being upfront with you: I was in triage for six hours. Apparently everyone in the area decided to go into labor and filled up the previously empty wing. I was hooked up to a monitor, in pain, 100% effaced and...

We both needed coffee BADLY.
The Good:
  • Will had a really good month in the OB back in October and so we became a floor favorite of people stopping in to say hi! That's always fun. 
  • painting my nails (please see exhibit A)
  • hope eternal
exhibit A, in all its glory
The Bad:
  • could not sleep (contractions)
  • uncomfortable
  • no coffee, hungry 
The Horrible:
  • lots of contractions, still 3 cm
  • waiting
Around 12:30, we arrive in a delivery room. It is large, spacious and fabulous. It was the only room available and I loved it! I promptly got my pitocin. The contractions got worse and really started to hurt. A few hours later, the anesthesiologist came to give me my epidural. This doctor was highly competent and extremely professional, and I have never been in so much pain.

I do not know if the spot did not accept the numbing medication or what, but Will stood in front of me and held me steady as I silently cried into him as the needle went into my back. I am so glad Will was allowed to stay in the room (definite doctor privileges - too much liability otherwise). He was my rock during that time, and helped me relax so as to finish the procedure.

Meanwhile, that epidural was total liquid gold. It was amazing once the line was in; made the rest of the evening much more bearable.

Around 5 o'clock, another resident came to check on me. Even with all the contractions, I was not moving along. They decided to break my water. After that, it was downhill skiing. Every time they checked me, I was closer and closer to 10 cm! Finally. My in-laws had checked in earlier with Grace, and all were waiting!

The last hiccup in waiting for Laura was my blood sugar. In all this time, I hadn't eaten anything since the night before. I had been given water and weak broth, and I was fading.

This is not a meal.
I felt silly, but talked to the nurse about it anyways. She checked my blood sugar and it was super low. She followed up with my attending, who ordered full-fat beef broth, jello, ginger ale and tea. I devoured it all. I watched Mulan with Will (who was studying), and texted my sister (who saved the screenshot):

Eventually, I ended up falling asleep after a boost of pain meds. My first real rest - and that felt good. Then, Will woke me up. He was positive that I was 10 cm by now and found the attending. He was right! It was time to push!

I had a full-troop in my room: my attending, a resident, a nurse and a nursing student (and Will!). The nursing student and I had bonded earlier, and now she was holding my hand and encouraging me. It was such a positive environment and I am so grateful for that. 18 minutes later, at 9:33 p.m., Laura Kathleen was born.

APGAR: 9 and 9.

8 lbs, 5 oz. and 20 inches long.

It was all very surreal. My parents were having a dinner party with their college friends, and when I texted my sister the news, everyone started celebrating and drinking to Laura. My MIL was in the waiting room, and got to meet her a few minutes later.

Will stayed for a bit, brought me flowers (tulips!!!) and then went home to sleep. Just Laura and mama time. I could tell this was the beginning of a beautiful adventure together, my Bebe Deux and me.

Grace's Birth Story

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

World Breastfeeding Week: Two Babies, Nom Nom Nom

babies babies babies! Bottle babies and breastfed babies - so far, I've only done the latter. Grace refused, even when my supply started dropping.

When I first had Grace, I was petrified to feed her in front of anyone. Embarrassed. Someone might see me!!!!!!! feeding my child, the Heavens forbid. I remember going to the French Quarter with Will and my in-laws, and instead of sitting on a bench, I went back to the car. I would retreat into our bedroom to feed her (and then nap!). But then, something changed.

I'm not quite sure what it was - maybe NOLA life, where we went wherever, and when Grace had to eat, she ate. I wasn't going to stay home when we lived in a super awesome area of the city, prime for exploration and walks. Maybe I realized how silly it is to cover up a child's face while she was eating, when, instead, you two could be staring lovingly at each other (like at home). Maybe it was me just getting comfortable having larger boobs - small girls to major ladies once my milk came in after Gracie was born was a definite transition. (Word to the wise: ouch. A lotta pain and stretch marks. Then, okay.)

Also: articles I read. I can't link to them, because they were read in passing. But the realization that the sexualization of breasts is an anti-woman lie. Breasts are not a sexual organ. Breasts provide nutrient-dense liquid to feed my child. Hey everyone! I grew this baby! And I can feed her! WITH MY BODY.

I get it. This power overwhelmeth. Even this summer, I was at a party and asked by a relative to cover up because there were men in the room. In fact, all males present were relatives. I declined. I was not full uncovered, and Laura's head blocked anything remotely interesting. I was not immodest or inappropriate - on the contrary, I was nurturing and loving my child.

My Catholic faith has really guided me in breastfeeding as well. The Church, a mother herself, Our Lady of Guatemala, Our Lady of La Leche... The best connection I ever read about was breastfeeding, however, was its parallels to the Eucharist -- excerpt from Lillian at Hilltop Diaries:
When Simon was a few months old, an acquaintance asked if I was breastfeeding. When I responded in the affirmative she said, "I knew it! I could tell by the way he looks so adoringly at you. He’s like ‘You’re all I need, Mom.’"  
Perhaps this is what Jesus had in mind for the Eucharist. Through the breaking of the bread, God invites us into the nursing relationship: the meeting of all our needs.
I think about the cracked nipples and the itchy thrush, the aches and fevers of mastitis, the midnight trek across the house to feed a crying baby, fatigued to the point of nausea: "This is my body, broken for you.” 
I think about the times I missed out because of the chore it was keeping Simon fed, the chained-up feeling of pumping at work, the moments when I wish desperately for a break: “Poured out for you and for many..." 
I think about God, who has given me these children and the means to sustain them, who is present in the Eucharist and in my nursing chair, who by these rituals invites me to participate in His life-giving power: “Do this, in remembrance of Me.”


So, happy World Breastfeeding Week! This is the only picture I can find of me breastfeeding Grace; she is probably 8 going on 9 months.

But I have plenty of post-feeding pictures... all grainy, because breastfeeding mamas don't care. We just like capturing the times when our babies were so close with us.

And some of this:

What you're seeing here are not polished, especially attractive photos... but what I hope you're also seeing is the kind of relationship built on closeness. 

And now, my newest satisfied customer.

I've been relatively lucky breastfeeding my kids - no major problems. It hurts for the first two weeks, give or take a couple days. Laura had tongue-tie, so we had her frenulum cut at her one week appointment. I love the way my girls stare deep into my eyes and smile at her while they're eating, or, more commonly, blissfully fall back to sleep.

I love the opportunity to feed and love my girls.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Our Marriage Is Stronger Because My Husband Isn’t My Best Friend

Several years ago I attended my best friend’s wedding. She and her husband shared their first dance to the tune of “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Calliat. You know, the one that goes, “Lucky I’m in love with my best friend . . .” We hear that sentiment all the time—that marrying your best friend is the ultimate goal. But I find the ideal of my husband being my best friend a romantic notion that sells the love between spouses short.

I did not marry my best friend. My best friend is married, has two children, and is currently visiting Poland with her family. My husband, Will, on the other hand, is the best man I know, the love of my life, and the father of our two daughters. We support each other, discuss the mundane and the extraordinary, play games, work out, have fun, enjoy each other’s company, share everything, and respect each other. But at the end of the day, he is still not my best friend; he is much more.

There is an important distinction between the role of best friend and the role of spouse, and I would be minimizing my husband’s role in my life if I called him anything else. I believe that a spouse and a best friend are analogous but not the same. It may sound nitpicky, but “best friend” can never do justice to the far more intimate calling of the marital relationship.

Monica Mendez Leahy, who has more than twenty years of experience counseling couples, believes that the modern terms we associate with our spouse, such as soulmate or BFF, directly result from a lack of married role models. Many couples these days go the route of living together without being married. “Therefore, younger couples aren't seeing as many examples of marriage and are left to speculate on what a marital partnership consists of,” Leahy says. “The closest thing we come up with is best friends with benefits, plus a legal piece of paper?”

I don’t deny that friendship is critical between spouses. In Leahy’s book, she says, “If you analyze long-lasting, happy marriages, you will see a solid friendship at the root of each one.” She calls it the Friendship Factor. “They treat each other as if their partner was their dearest and best friend in the world,” Leahy says. “And in most cases, that’s exactly what they are.”

If friendship is an important foundation for marriage, shouldn’t married couples strive toward best friendship? Leahy’s answer is no. “If a couple strives to be best friends, they’re aiming too low. The relationship between spouses is so special, sacred even, that there are laws to protect and reward individuals who choose this maximum level of togetherness. The bond between spouses is so highly sought after and rewarding when reached, why get married if you’re aiming to shortchange your relationship?”

The truth is, the partnership of marriage is stronger and more intimate than the decades of history you might have with even your closest friend. In Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert writes, “To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow—this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” I agree with Gilbert. A loving marriage produces a bond that I know I’ll never have with just a best friend.

During our marriage prep, when my husband and I were prompted to share one instance where we were proud of the other person, we got a glimpse of this kind of miraculousness that Gilbert describes. Will said he was proud of me when I left my desk job for a very different, active job. He was proud of me for taking the risk and trusting myself. His unrelenting support of me—in whatever I choose to do—is what keeps me in awe of him, and I give him the same support.

When I call my best friend to talk, we are sharing our life, thoughts, and feelings with each other. When Will and I share our days, we are talking about our life—the one we are building together. Our marriage is an exercise in trust, but this is not an esoteric exercise; we share real responsibilities and goals. A year and a half ago, our oldest daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. I told Will I was scared, and he helped me summon my inner strength. His calmness, my optimism, and our love for each other have carried us through all the trials we’ve faced.

In my experience, the marriage vows of “for better or worse” are literal; the commitment that spouses make goes beyond any friendship possible. Marriage is a lifelong commitment. This person shouldn’t just know you, accept you, and laugh at your jokes—they are obligated to you financially, legally, and personally. No matter how loyal I am to my best friends, we still have separate lives—and I like that. My husband and I, however, are committed to the life we are building together—career ambitions, children, each other.

We may have moved away from marriages of prudence in favor of marriages of love, but this has not diminished the expectations and responsibilities that come from two people dedicating their lives to one another. We may relate our romantic relationships to friendship because we understand that kind of bond and therefore elevate it. But in marriage, we shouldn’t want another shade of friendship. There is a magic to marriage. Marriage gives us a noble purpose, a relationship to protect and nurture, and new responsibilities to contend with together. That’s why my spouse isn’t my best friend; he’s my husband, and that’s so much better.

Originally published at Verily Magazine

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lady Laura: 0-5 Months

Oh, sweet lady Laura, my little love duck! There is simply not enough written about this baby.

Laura is an excellent example of an individual. When I was pregnant with Bebe Deux, people liked to give me a heads up: this baby is going to be a handful. 

So far, their prediction is completely wrong. This baby is an utter delight. Even when she is teething and crying, her sweetness is overwhelming. You just want to comfort her, and kiss her. It is so gratifying looking into the face of this little girl and having her eyes light up, and reach for her mother. I am glad we have this summer time to extra bond, and the time while Grace sleeps to have our own Laura-Mama time. 


One Month

Two Months

Three Months

 Four Months

Five Months

This baby:
  • rolls
  • smiles
  • grasps
  • amuses 
  • watches
  • coos
  • pivots
She is our little lady, and we all love her immensely. Grace is an especially sweet big sister - kisses and hugs her, and even called her "La-La" (once!). Laura is so strong - tummy time champ, and is trying to crawl on her belly. I suspect that is coming soon... I've also put her in the exersaucer, and she goes to town! She loves it a lot more than Grace did, and Grace is now re-newing an interest in said toy. It all rather amusing. The jealousy monster comes over for play dates!

Laura Kathleen was born during a very busy period of my life, and yes, I'll try to finish her birth story soon. If you are wondering about two under two, mamas, have no fear. Is it an adjustment? Of course. Is it hard? At times. Is it worth it? Yes.

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