1.14.2016

About That 3rd Baby...


I was looking back at a post from years ago because I needed to find an old photo of Layla, and read a few little snippets from her baby-hood. I was shocked because I had written about phases, quirks and stories  of Layla the Baby that I have since completely forgotten. This was depressing because I have been terrible about blogging during Noa's life (I'm excellent about Instagramming though! Partial credit?), and am now wondering what phases of hers I have already forgotten and aren't even on the record for posterity.

So here is a post all about Noa, and her first 15 months.

Baby's first August.

Noa can whistle. Like legit whistle. She unintentionally holds her lips in the exact right position (that older children try SO hard to pull off) so that her normal breathing creates a 2 second whistle tone. I first noticed it during her crawling phase (around 7 months) when I was home alone with her and kept hearing whistling. This is alarming when it's just you and a baby in the house. She hadn't been doing it so much lately, but it definitely belongs in the annals of her weird.

Noa was the EASIEST infant of all time. She would do cardio smiling most of the day, and when she got tired from that, she would whine a little bit. We learned that this first whine meant that she wanted to be taken to bed immediately with no other to-do. We put her face down, and she would do a move we called "shrink-wrapping" where she would just short of condense in on herself, snuggling her blanket closer, and drawing all her limbs into a little ball. No crying, no looking back, just shrink wrap it, and nap it.

Lighting up a room is tiring...better go straight to sleep.

That said, she has become the worst sleeping toddler of all our kids. This is 100% our fault as we havent tried even a bit to sleep train her, and since I let her nurse around the clock when we were breastfeeding (which went away after her 13th month and she doesn't even care!...meanwhile I am mourning.). She wakes up 1 or 2 times after going to bed every night. She doesn't want anything in particular--though we sometimes give a bottle (bottles forever, because she's a BABY!). We are, um, in process on that one. Since she and Layla share a room (Noa is in the walk-in closet), crying it out isn't really the same game as it would be if she was alone (though Layla can sleep through a LOT). This storyline is TBD.

we are now paying for the11 pm nursing/snuggle sessions that I allowed. WORTH IT TIMES INFINITY

Noa has the most sophisticated palate of any baby I know. When she was about 8-9 months old and had barely started solids, she seemed interested in Jesse's sea bass risotto one day. Her let her try some and ended up with legit stingy thoughts about how significantly much of his meal she ended up eating/taking from him. She gets incredibly bored with simple foods like yogurt or cheerios, and needs at least one adventurous meal a day. She will snub applesauce and slam farro and soybean salad. The big kids cannot believe she won't join their "team" of picky eaters and are disgusted when they see her downing sundried tomato couscous.

Baby is a fiend for kale smoothies. Check out that leg pudge glory.

Naturally after eating comes the poop. Like Layla, Noa thinks it's the height of coolness to poop in a brand new diaper. She also poops tiny pellets (and no, shes not dehydrated and she gets plenty of fiber) that look like little nothing-balls, but smell wretched. She's creating like poop's equivalent of bullion cubes. Such concentrated "flavor" in a tiny package.  She also is the quickest draw in the west at reaching down during a diaper change and grabbing the open tab of the dirty diaper and whipping it out from under her--sending poop pellets scurrying about. Even when you are ready for this move, you cannot prevent it.

Dolls upon dolls.

Noa is a safety enthusiast. We knew we wouldn't do a baby gate on our stairs, so from the time she could climb them, we started teaching her how to safely go down. Same for disembarking from couches and beds: get on your tummy and scoot back down until your feet hit something solid. She took to this rapidly, and may be guilty of overusing it. if we are walking and there is the slightest downhill slope she turns around, lies on her belly and tries to backward scoot "down" it (even if it is just a 4-inch difference in sea level over 3 linear feet). Any change in altitude =  belly scoot.

She has begun to loathe her carseat and car rides longer than 10 minutes. This is brand new for us as we have only had kids who were great car riders (including her!) up til now. But we have also never kept a kid backward-facing past a year (b/c Judah and Layla were around before that was like a fully real thing and, I dunno, we are terrible) so maybe it's developmental. Her current carseat is rated up to 30 lbs and she is currently only 22, so we have a long time to go still.  That is fine, but the weird thing is that when she is staying with her Grand Dukes, she LOVES the seat and will go crawl into it and immediately fall asleep. Does she do this anywhere else? No. 

So one night when she was 10 months old, we were hanging out with Jesse's parents after an early date night and Noa was sleepy. So Jesse got her "all set up" in her carseat in the bedroom. After an hour or so I asked him, "you totally buckled her in right?" because, I dunno, she was already walking at this point in life and those things are hard to balance a moving child on without restraint. He was like, "um, no, she passed right out though." I asked him to go check on her and buckle her just in case.

He walked in the bedroom and the carseat was empty.


So that's a bit startling for him. But there's no sign of her anywhere else either!


Then he sees this...




Nerd had gotten out of her seat, crawled under the bed--in the pitch dark, mind you--and fallen soundly asleep. Freaking wonderful!


She MAY have a temper. From being the easiest and sweetest little baby, she is now in the running to be the most rage-a-holic older baby in the family. She is just NOT about being told no. I think since she's our magic #3 princess who has always been pampered by everyone, it's kind of a rude awakening to be discovering that her will does not equal law any longer. At the first sign of noncompliance to her wishes, she gets MAD. A completely mad--not sad--baby is a wonder. Seeing her hulk-rage against who or whatever is holding her back is a sight. She can hissy jump her entire high chair across the room if we refuse to let her out of its bonds. If I am holding her while telling her she can't do/have something, she will PINCH ME. It should be interesting to see how this unfolds.

This was taken on an airplane after 2 hours in the air sweatily rage-wrestling each other for dominance. A one year old is the worst travel companion: all the motion and will, no dedicated seat or language skills.

Noa and I have a strong bond. I don't know if it's the longer breastfeeding, spending more days working from home, being more relaxed and a better mom on my third baby, or just her personality (I suspect its all of those combined), but she makes me feel like more of a mom than either of my other two did by this point. That sounds kinda harsh, but it's true. 


Tite-bond.

Because they stopped "needing" me for milk at 5-6 months, it was easy for Judah and Layla to bond elsewhere (re: Jesse) so I didn't get the full measure of that action. And being the broken, flawed person I am, when I feel unloved or un-pursued, I tend to pull back myself (I know this is nuts to do with a baby, but I only realized this in retrospect). I think that led to a bit of a gap in my mommy bond with those two until they were older. With Noa I have never doubted that I am her #1 source of attachment and security and have intentionally leaned in to her even when I don't feel that. She adores Jesse, but I finally feel like the "Oh, she just wants her mama!" thing is actually true, and it has been affirming (and sometimes annoying--Noa, let a lady pee!) to feel so secure in that position.  

Cant really blame anyone for liking him best, though.

She has three teeth. 3. The bottom middle two teeth came in as expected around 6-8 months. Then nothing until 13 months, and blammo: one tooth. And just like Judah: IT ISNT A MIDDLE TOOTH! It is a single, next-one-over, vampire situation! Unlike Judah, there have been no other teeth following close behind (he had a nice matching set). Poor girl doesn't even have a top-bottom pair that matches up yet. 

Precious Moments.

Dark hair. Her entire life. No sign of fair. I am giving it one more summer to lighten up and then I'm ordering a maternity test.  I joke.  I would love a little baby brunette. I think all 3 kids will end up brown (Jesse started out very blonde his first few years). She is rocking the full on mullet right now with no sign of curls, but can pull of delightful piggie sprout tails. I do think the sun with lighten her up a good bit, but am doubting it will go full blonde. What a world. 

She has an obession with LaCroix sparkling water. This is Jesse and my every day, 4x a day drink. But kids don't usually love it, much less babies. But she sees that can and is all "WAH-WAH" with grabby hand motions until I put a straw in and let her have some. The bubbles make for interesting reactions since she is utterly surprised by them every time and does this bizarre inside-out-mouth face. 

This is the same face she makes eating buttered rice: sucking the butter off every grain. Maternity test cancelled: she's OBVIOUSLY mine.


Hopefully I have covered enough of her quirks to fill in the rapidly growing brain gaps my old age is providing. This little baby is sweet and feisty and attached and independent and soft and fiere and we cannot wait to see who this delightful potato dumpling is becoming and all the weird phases she goes through on her way!

We love you, Noa Lou!


11.30.2015

CYBORG MONDAY!

Hello friendlets!

Has everyone else been stuffing their faces and programming the internet to send them many packages this week? I got a violent stomach virus at 2 am Thanksgiving morning and had to bench myself from all food endeavors. Hashtag mourn. But don't worry, I paid that account in full when the digestive storm, ahem, passed.

I have 2 very cool things happening in my handmade world. (and maybe one mutant descendent of those 2 things as well).
Cyborg Monday: Killer Sale 


Im currently offering 20% off any and everything in my Etsy shop, but only through midnight tonight! Beach bags, scarves, leather clutches, Boppy covers! 

Everything ordered WILL arrive in time for Christmas--no matter how custom. Use code SALEATTACK at checkout.




The second deal you're gonna want to snag is these Elf-inspired tees I designed from scratch! I made one by hand for Noa and loved it so much that I went ahead and had a whole run professionally screen printed on ultra comfy raglan tees for Christmas! 

These are for sale in their own special shop  and I have sizes from 3-6 months to adult XL. Something for every-Buddy (sorry) in your world! Sizes are running out fast.








The sale on these tees is:


One Shirt: 15% off
Two Shirts: 20% off
Three or more Shirts: 25% off
+FREE SHIPPING on orders over $50


*free local pickup offered as well on all purchases-no minimum*
promo code: NINNYMUGGINS

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE...

THE CYBORG DISCOUNT ARISES!



My Etsy shop and Elf shirt shop had a baby and the baby is a Price Destroying Cyborg on the following rampage:

For every Elf tee you buy (or have bought already), I will take another 10% off a single item in my Etsy store. That's in addition to the 20% off code! And in addition to the Elf shirt discounts too!

So if you buy 1 tee, you get 30% off an item, 2 tees gets you 40% off an item, 3 tees, you get 50% off, all the way on up to the max discount of 5 tees/70% off an item--which would get you a Beach bag or leather clutch for less than $15--WHAAAA? (though feel free to buy as many tees as you like).

When you complete checkout of your Elf shirts, I will email you your unique code for your super discounted item from my Etsy shop.



These sales are all ending at midnight tonight, so don't lollygag...that's how the cyborg smells prey.






11.17.2015

Opening the Floodgates, But Maybe Not the Border

My husband is known by his friends (AND ENEMIES--looking at you, Skeletor!) for willingly and ably wading into hot-button, murky topics that are politically polarizing, and having focused, rational dialogue about them. ON SOCIAL MEDIA. 

174 comments. On ESTATE TAX REFORM. I just died of both boredom and rage all at once.

But God bless that Jesse Dukes, he hangs in there. He respectfully replies to all comments--notably even the butt-ass-crazy ones--with reason and an openness to legitimately have his own position changed.

This bizarre behavior is basically the digital equivalent of someone setting up High Tea on the beach of Normandy during the D-Day invasion, and then calmly inviting the combatants to sit and discuss their quarrels over cucumber sammies (no crust). "Bullets? Oh, are there bullets? Now, what were you saying about women should be required to burn their yoga pants on the altar?" He asks, while wiping a crumb from his mouth with an embroidered napkin.

I am guilty of being one of the soldiers who just wants to lob a logic grenade and then crawl to safety. I usually can hang for one or two replies, and then I lose my mind and just troll the comments with  my awkward.

 You know how I be.


HOWEVER. Today I really do want to hear from "the other side." Or at least the slice of them who follow Jesus (strangely it seems that the "most christian" people are the ones the most vocally against this). Because I can't get my brain there by myself:

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If you are a Jesus follower AND you are against the U.S. offering refuge here to Middle Eastern citizens displaced by war, can you please help me through how you reconcile those?

I am uncertain how a candidate or citizen can hold Bible verses that don't seem to allow alternate interpretation in their heads and hearts while seeming to do and call for the opposite: 

Matthew 25:41-43: I was homeless and you gave me no bed.

Leviticus 19:34. Love him [a foreigner] like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners

My thinking is really simple, and I am not sure I will be budging from these premises, at least: 

1. Jesus is for the refugee. Jesus is for His own enemies.  Literally.

Um. I feel like I dont even need to add backup explanations here. If we aren't capice about this, then we are talking about two different guys and can't go much further.

2. If you claim Christ's grace, you yourself are a refugee who has been welcomed.

Every person who has accepted the Grace of Christ has been adopted as a child of God Himself, and  has eternal citizenship in heaven. And by definition that means each of us WAS ONCE A REFUGEE. Was ripped out of a perfect home as a consequence of the war between satan and God, and given our deserved fate of pain, suffering, hunger, disease as a result of our status as refugees untethered to our God and home. 

3. I didn't have to pass a test to be welcomed: He died to have me even while I spit in His face.

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Eph 2:12 // Rom 5:8)
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Okay so there is my stance. BUT I know that it isn't just that simple, especially when national policy is involved.

Is it simply a matter of compartmentalizing your faith as separate from your politics? Saying, "I will obey those commands personally, but it might not be best for America to make policy in accordance with them." 

Because I can get there mentally, even if I disagree on this.

I think it would be a disaster to try to legislate 100% by Christian principles. That would be A: against the constitution (the only document America bound itself to by definition), and B: making a Sharia Nation--just of a different religion. This idea will never ever work until Jesus comes back (And the gov-ern-ment shall be upon his sho-o-o-o-ulders!).

But if that's the basis for how we vote and legislate, then why would we try to stand in the way of gay marriage or abortion rights on the basis of biblical principles? Isn't that just cherry picking? Claiming "God's Way for America!" when lines up with what we want, but proclaiming "Separation of Church and State," when it doesn't?" (And I think I may be guilty of this too!)

I guess this one seems more cut-and-dry: Jesus is saying "DO THIS," and yet some people want to make a law that would prevent--as a country--obedience to this even as individuals (because we can't give them a bed in my house if they aren't allowed in America. Because, ya know, my house and beds? They're in America).


I seriously want to know and am not looking to whammy anyone or debate back. I want to learn (because I am really good at black and white thinking) more of the perspectives on this. I know many ultra-kind political conservatives who have the most giving, loving, non-judgmental hearts, and I want to hear how that works out in their lives.

So here we go. 

To Christians against welcoming Arab Refugees to America:

1. How do you reconcile the closing of our border to these people with your faith and status as a citizen of heaven?

2. How do you think we could/should obey Jesus' commands individually while not legislating any kind of refugee acceptance?

For Everyone:

3. Where/how do you draw a line between your politics and your faith?