Friday, August 30, 2013

Leaps

Axel, 2013


August has been whirl of major development for our little Axel. It's funny how in the span of just a week or two, whole new thought processes seem to emerge. That's definitely been the case for us lately.

Suddenly, his imagination and memory seems to have exploded. He'll hold a block to his ear, and pretend it's the phone, or he'll crawl over to the corner where our iPod is docked, and bounce up and down (dancing) and pointing until we turn on the music.

He'll sit on the floor, leafing through a book, exclaiming at the pictures, and when we go to the coffee shop, he'll insist on getting a bite of a bagel. When I go to open the fridge to get milk, he'll get really excited, and when I point at a pillow on the ground, he'll crawl towards it, knowing he's about to get a bottle.

His first little tooth is popping through, and so far, teething hasn't been too dire.

His babble is still mostly babble, but it's amazing how clearly the guy can get a point across.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

11211 Love

Williamsburg, 2013


While we've been away, Brooklyn's street artists have certainly been busy.

I've been trucking away at work and am feeling very office bound. At home I basically put Axel to bed, take a bath, and catch up on Breaking Bad before bed at 10-ish. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. After this weekend, only 9 days left of this project and then I am a free range chicken again.

At first the prospect was a little daunting, but I'm starting to look forward to it now. I haven't really had time to think this summer.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer Wedding

Summer, 2013


Just back from a whirlwind weekend in Western Pennsylvania at a high school friend's wedding. It was at the gorgeous Bedford Springs Resort, a property that dates to around 1806. It was a sprawling place, surrounded by long porches and set in the mountains near a pretty little Victorian town, and we had lots of good food and perfect weather and a half day by the pool.

It's funny to think of all the places that we've been for weddings and the associated parties. Off the top of my head, I can think of Selma, Alabama; Atlanta; Laguna Beach; Seattle; Austin; Spokane, Washington; Kiawah Island; South Carolina; Ithaca, New York; Scottsdale, Arizona; Boston; Washington, D.C (several times); Vermont; New Hampshire (twice); Paris; Scotland; Prague; Tipperary; Ireland; New Jersey; Westchester; NY; Maine (many times); New York (many times) and now Bedford Springs; Pennsylvania. I'm counting at LEAST 30 weddings in the last 8 years, but I'm sure there are a few I'm forgetting (eeek!)

The madcap wedding circuit seems to be slowing down for us just a little bit now, but it's been such a fun way to see places in the U.S. we might never have found our way to otherwise.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Paris with Kids

Axel, 2013


My article on traveling to Paris with a baby is up on Jetsetter today.

Truly, we had a pretty easy time of it there. I think in part it was because we were on somewhat familiar turf and we didn't feel any pressure to see every last cultural monument or hit all the hot dinner spots.

And I think Europe is a fairly simple place to travel with children...though I am likely on big trip hiatus until this next baby arrives, Italy looks awfully nice, doesn't it?

I think the takeaway is that if you love travel, you will find a way to make it happen, even with a squirmy little one. If it makes you anxious? Probably best to delay a couple of years.

P.S. I'm always inspired by the travel with baby adventures over at Hither and Thither, so it was lovely to see the news that she is also expecting again.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Happy News

Spring, 2013


It's time to let the cat out of the bag.

Will and I are expecting baby number two this February; thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we found out today that it's another little BOY!

Because I am now an "elderly" 35 (no kidding, that's the medical terminology), we were eligible to take the Maternity 21 test in addition to the regular nuchal scan early last week. The nuchal results, which were low risk, we found out immediately. But today we got the call that all was well and Axel will soon have a little brother.

I am just past twelve weeks and kind of stunned at how quickly the first trimester has gone. Pregnancy seemed to go by at a glacial pace the first time around. But this summer, between work, and our adventures in France and lots of weekends away and milestones like Axel's first birthday, it all feels kind of...blink and you'll miss it.

We found out the week before we left on our French holiday, and I will confess I had a moment of mourning for all the runny cheeses and D.O.C. wines I didn't get to drink. But it did make the trip all the more special knowing that it really was our Axelmoon, our first trip just the three of us and likely our last big international trip before we become a family of four.

A few friends have asked me if I feel differently this time around. Maybe a little more nauseous? I've certainly been tired, and while I've snuck off for my share of weekend naps over the past few months, it's been a perfect excuse to be in bed by ten (something I needed to do more of to keep up with Axel's schedule too.)

My tiredness is also probably why posting has been scant this summer. I've felt a little vague and hapless; sometimes remembering words (or where I put my phone or to charge my laptop) is about as much as I can tackle.

So our little guys will be 18 months apart. Some of the reactions we've gotten have ranged from "You're brave!" to "Already?" to "On purpose?" The answers are that or foolhardy maybe, yup, and yes.

We feel so lucky to have Axel and can't believe that come this time next year, there will be another little one crawling about.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Few (Scattered) Thoughts

Axel, 2013


Sometimes it seems like everything that could possibly be said on the topic of work life balance has been said, but I still found these two articles interesting over the weekend.

The first, on the crazy cost of pre-school childcare in the NY Times, was pretty striking. I'm not sure how it is elsewhere in the country, but in New York it's certainly true that full time childcare for a baby can cost nearly as much as a year of college. What struck me most about this piece was the tone of some of the comments, which was basically 'If you can't afford it, don't have kids.' Um, ok. So that means only the very very rich should be able to have families?

Then there was this one, in Glamour, on "having it all." My favorite line was "Women have to not just get a job and keep it but rise through the ranks—while maintaining a partner and children, staying awake for sex, and looking like BeyoncĂ©." Sigh.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Birthday Photos

Axel, 2013 courtesy of Jami Saunders


Am so excited. A sneak peek of Axel's birthday photos popped up in my inbox today. You can see a bunch of them on Jami's blog. I do the best I can with my little point and shoot, but there's really nothing like professional photography! It's a splurge that's completely worthwhile.

More Firsts

Axel, 2013


Yesterday, Saturday, was a little frenetic around these parts....Axel's first haircut at Hello Beautiful, lots of errands, a party with our friends and Axel's little buddies, capped off by the insane Brooklyn Blackout cake from Ovenly. I definitely felt I never got to quite finish a conversation (or a thought), but I think our guy enjoyed himself nonetheless.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Balance

Williamsburg, 2013


So....balance...

Maybe you've noticed posting has been sporadic this summer. And from the pictures it certainly looks like we've been having an idyllic summer.

In between travels and weekends there's also been some work upheaval for me. The project I've been working on full time since February came to an abrupt stopping point last Thursday (something I sensed might happen) and this week I immediately switched gears to another 5 week project that's considerably more intense, but one that also has an end date.

Cue an overwhelming sense of whiplash. On the one hand, my work life just got really crazy, with some big looming deadlines. On the other hand, come September 12th, it all grinds to a complete halt.

I had just gotten used to being a working mother with a somewhat predictable 9-5 (or 10-6) routine, and it was getting easier and easier by the day. Now I have 5 weeks until I am thrust back into the great freelance void.

It's a place I'm normally very comfortable, and I'm sure I will get assignments and a certain momentum will set in. It's just that freelancing, I mean really freelancing (not working as a contractor in an office), is an entirely different prospect when I have full time childcare (a nanny who we love and totally depend upon.)

So I find myself shuffling little scraps of paper and jotting down calculations and doing everything I can to figure out how to keep up the status quo, especially because if I do get another offer, the last thing I want is to have to start from scratch with another caregiver. Part of the reason work had gotten easy was because I was so comfortable with Axel's day to day routine and knew he was in safe hands and with someone who adores him.

While I could certainly look after him on my own if I were truly not working, the thought of disrupting that relationship and beginning the whole process again is completely overwhelming.

I think all of this will percolate over the next few weeks and that we can manage (if I do a certain amount of the freelance hustle.) Still, I feel like all of the opting out / opting in conversations of late sometimes miss the point; that occasionally it's more like two steps forward, two steps back than it is "in" or "out."

And it's certainly weird to straddle the working mom / stay at home mom divide when you feel ambivalent about both scenarios.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Festivities



Maine, 2013


My mom threw a really cute garden party for Axel's birthday on Saturday, and he loved every second of it, from his first taste of cupcake, to his brand new ukulele and seal puppet to being around all of his older cousins.

We are now safe and sound back in muggy old NYC, the last few weeks of summer winding down ahead of us.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

One Year

Axel, 2013

One!

So much mischief, energy, and playfulness.

You haven't seemed terribly babyish in a while, what with your tanned little feet (oops!), resistance to being held, and your sense of adventure.

It's been a busy summer: opening and closing doors; playing hide and seek; noshing on bagels; saying "Tkitkicat" (which either means cat or nothing at all); boat rides; plane trips...

I really loved the three months I had at home with you, in the early newborn days which seemed kind of hazy and surreal. But now...now you are such a participant in our every day activities, in our family, it's impossible to imagine a time when you weren't here with us.

My very favorite baby boy, Happy Birthday! May it be filled with penguins, balls, harmonicas, blueberries and pancakes, all your favorite things.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Birthday Eve

Axel, 2013


I can't believe this little fellow will be one tomorrow. Toddlerdom, here we come.

I have been M.I.A., with lots of weekends away and weddings and driving and packing and unpacking. Actually, we have been failing on the unpacking front, so we are mostly living out of our bags during the week, wondering where the summer went.

I have to say I am looking forward to a quiet September and to catching up with things at home. To having a routine again and to weekends where nothing's on the agenda.

Axel, as ever, has been very resilient in the face of all the to-ing and fro-ing.
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