asa is 1

I would like to ask you to just try to explain to a group that includes an eight, seven, and four year old that you are not, in fact, going to really do anything for your one year old’s birthday. Call me un-fun but my plans were to pull out the birthday caterpillar candle and Asher’s old birthday crown (three cheers for names that begin with the same letter!), sing him Happy Birthday, and give him a small (perhaps previously used by three older siblings) present. Done.

My other children were horrified.

And thus my fourth child made out like a bandit in the gift department.

On his birthday morning, Omar and I heard the older three go into his room and sing to him, and I’m all weepy just thinking about how cute the whole thing was.

So Asa is now one. He is walking and jabbering and asserting all kinds of opinions. I’m loving his age right now. I’m loving how every morning he gets pulled out of bed by one or more siblings and then finds his way to me to just snuggle with me for about 10 minutes. I’ve never had one do that. I love it.

Happy Birthday, sweet Asa. You’re the best.

on to the next stage

I remember that moment in June of 2013. That moment that I knew, I knew, that we were done having kids. That I could leave baby world behind. We got married young (at least in my mind) and chose to have kids soon after marriage. I knew the day would come when the babies wouldn’t be babies any longer, and I could walk down more paths that wouldn’t exactly work for our family while there were tiny people in the house.

And at that moment in June of 2013 I thought we’d hit that day.

Guess who was pregnant at that moment in June of 2013? Ha.

Don’t so many of us have that conflicting cry when we find out about an unexpected baby? Joy for the life, guilt for not being totally thrilled, conflict because you just thought you knew you were ready to walk down a different path?

I knew I didn’t want to struggle in some of the ways I did when Lenna was a baby. Simply put, I wanted to do too much. I was overwhelmed with baby world and wanted to have a place in the world outside of daily mothering. At one point I seriously started to explore what it would like to homeschool, partner in ministry with Omar, go get another Master’s, and be the mother to a toddler. I can’t even type that now without laughing. I am completely aware that for some that might be doable. For me? I know my limits, and I would’ve gone down in a blaze of (not)glory while dragging a family behind me.

So in June of 2013 when we found out that Asa was on his way, I think some of the sadness was that I had to just wait. Just be patient for another couple of years. That to fight it would result in misery. My misery and my family’s misery. I knew there would be little to no travel for us for a year and a half or so. I knew there would be little time for classes and outside commitments. Soon after I decided to consciously enjoy the season. I’ve always struggled with enjoying pregnancy, but I gave it my best shot. I have really good memories of my time in the hospital with this last baby. Of night times with him in the newborn stage. Of watching older siblings learn how to love on a baby.

And as a result I think we enjoyed Asa’s first year the most out of any of the kids. We didn’t love him any more, we just enjoyed him more. He’s been a textbook easy 4th baby, so I know that helped, but I’ve just not sweated anything (regarding him) this past year.

Omar has always been great at shooing me away to some other city once the kids hit about a year or so. This time was no different. A few weeks ago Omar brought it up and we started planning. I bought a ticket to fly out to the west coast. It’s still so weird to think that the time has come where I can do these things again.

That season I was so fearing of having to go through again is over, and I got a pretty amazing kiddo out of it. And perhaps more importantly I learned more about what it means to hold my plans and big ideas loosely. This is important because about a week after I bought my ticket to Portland/Seattle area, our calendar started to fill up: classes here, conferences there, weddings, Omar’s work travels. I don’t always want to be looking forward to the next big thing or the next time to travel. I want to enjoy the days filled with school and laundry and not be caught off guard if God decides to place everything on hold again. No baby jokes, please.

the first of december

I had high hopes of a little tree this year. A table top tree would’ve been preferable, but my tribe would have revolted. My thoughts and feelings about Christmas are mixed this year. There is a Scrooge somewhere in me that I’m trying to keep at bay. Truth be told, my struggles with this season have increased over the past few years. Last year I tried to chalk it up to being pregnant. But this year I’m not, and I’m still fighting the temptation to be forever overwhelmed with a temper that’s quick. But here we are, right? Here I am with kids who love everything about this time of year. Kids and friends and family who’s excitement is catching. So the lights are up on my not-table top sized tree, Asa found yet another way to be all adorable when the lights were pulled out, and the second day of Advent proves my anticipation for Christmas is being kindled, ever so slowly.

8 month Asa

My littlest boy is 8 months. He is now very curious and seemingly has some sort of paper radar. He loves it. It wears me out. And though his curiosity leads him all around the house, he’s still content to lounge on our lap. (I’m actually typing this with him snuggled up on me. Sigh.) I don’t remember having an 8 month so willing to just hang out on us. His family fan club of five showers him with more attention and kisses than I thought was possible. He’ll eat whatever is on your plate, minus any avocado. He’s crawling and cruising and stood up on his own. Once. And it scared him so he screamed. He’s a delight.

today in September

Today was a day off for Omar.

Today there were older two kids at a class, a girl at the grandparents, and a baby with us.

Today there was coffee.

And coffeecake.

Today there were drawing lessons and piano lessons with the grandparents in the afternoon. 

And a napping baby in their room.

This all equals a Curbside Gourmet lunch date for Omar and me.

I’ll have the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with a side of crab cake sliders, thank you.

And together we talked books and kids and our town. 

This was all followed by an afternoon at my parents.

Kids scootering, baby drooling, turkey roasting.

I figured I should clear last year’s never-cooked turkey out of the freezer to make way for the next one. 

Then a crazy rainbow followed us home, and we saw half of our town out enjoying it.

Kids crashed.

Mama crashed.

And now there is chai, Bach, and my bed, which is surely the trifecta of something.

4 months and then some

17 lbs // 27 in

Hey, baby Asa! YOU are going to have a post about your 4 month stats. Because these months are flying, and I want to remember what you were like at this fast-changing stage. And I am not too proud not to start now even though I missed your first months.

You are oddly large coming after your oddly small sister. My point of reference in baby world is your sister (the previous two seem like a lifetime ago).  She was a peanut. You’re more the elephant to her peanut.

At your doctor’s appointment the other day it was recorded that at 4 months you weigh more than your sister did at one year.

You are an amazing sleeper (usually).

You are an amazing drooler.

You smile for all and fuss for few.

You are well loved.

hey, Tuesday!

You were waking with the sun.

You were coffee delivered in bed while the littlest stirred awake.

You were hours spent on the couch reading The Penderwicks to little people who offered to rub feet and brush hair in appreciation.

You were siblings arguing and fussing and forgiving. Repeat.

You were a friend stopping by to have a much needed 1/2 hour of adult conversation. Even if that 1/2 hour included holding my baby who gifted her with drool upon drool.

You were an extraordinarily napping Asa.

You were swim lessons and splashing under a cloudy sky.

You were cookies.

You were a girl who watched her brother suddenly stop screaming when put in the sling and said in all seriousness, “Well, that was magical.”

You were a completely below average dinner.

You were a boy feeling queasy who just needed to fall asleep on the couch. I think I believe him, but who plays around when it comes to queasiness?

You were that perfect mix of good and hard.

when your grandma visits and you organize your photos

My computer died about a year ago. And then my old camera started acting up. And then I got pregnant and couldn’t have cared less about computers and cameras. And then I got a new camera. And had a baby. And became completely overwhelmed as to how I should go about finding and organizing all my old photos. And so I did nothing. And then my grandma visited.

And while she was visiting she asked to borrow all of my blog books (I’ve had the first few years of my blog published in book format). When she did this it made me curious, and I went back and read through them, too. Simple and funny stories of kids. Food we’ve made. Places we’ve traveled. Just life. This all made me realize that I currently don’t have the same record of life that I did from a few years ago. This blog just hasn’t found a place in my days as much as it used to. But I want a record of days, no matter how normal and repetitive they can be. So I worked up the courage, tackled hard drives, and found a safe and accessible spot for all (well, most all…) of my photos.

And now here we are.

Back to stories of things my kids say.

Back to things I’m learning.

Back to things I’m reading.

Back to learning more about my new camera that still fascinates yet also unnerves me.

Back to pictures of things I’ve made. Like vanilla cream and fresh fruit tarts that don’t quite come together the way that they should, but that make excellent deconstructed tart bowls.

Back to pictures upon pictures of Asa yawning and sleeping and smiling and fussing because like all seem to say these days, babies don’t keep.

asa joel ortiz in pictures

He came quickly on a Friday morning. And like those that have come before him, the Ortiz genes beat out mine in the facial features department. But he can always say he got long fingers and skinny, big feet from his mama. Nice. Omar and I placed bets on his weight. We both undershot and lost. There turned out to be 9 lbs and 2 oz of baby boy tucked up in me.

What follows are pictures upon pictures. Our hospital room had spectacular lighting, so the camera came out more than with any other kiddo. They told me I could possibly go home the day after I had him. When I started laughing they agreed to another day. I love the quiet and nothing-to-do-ness of the hospital. And if we hadn’t had that second night, then Omar and I wouldn’t have had a “date” after the visitors left complete with wine and cheese and a most romantic viewing of Clear and Present Danger.

The kids love. LOVE. this new little guy. Asa will never know what “personal space” is, but I think he’ll be ok with that. He has yet to flinch or be startled when they burst into a room or hold him in awkward positions. Perhaps he really is familiar with their voices. What does startle him? Me eating nuts. Gets him every time.

The nurses were fantastic at the hospital. The oldest three were fascinated with the many bracelets Asa and I wore. And when they saw Omar wearing one, they asked if they could have one, too. A kind nurse obliged and made some up for them. The photo below is proof of their excitement.

Asa’s already a regular at a favorite restaurant of ours. A restaurant where we ate on my birthday just the day before he arrived and where we returned four days later so I could enjoy a beer rather than a milkshake.

I remember the nights being the hardest with the first kiddos. With Elisha it was figuring out the whole parenting, nursing, sleeping, everything. With Asher there was a toddler in the house, and well, I get exhausted just looking back on it all. And Lenna? There was a 2 year old and a 4 old. Again, makes me tired just thinking about it. But now that the youngest is almost 4, there’s a lot less “neediness” in the house and a lot more independence. Now I look forward to the nights. The house is quiet, and it’s the time we get one-on-one time with this boy.

I am so glad you are here, Asa Joel.

 

sew and dye

I have never found myself on a 39th week pregnant sewing spree. Until this time. It has accomplished a few things: biding my time, getting rid of my fabric stash, and making things that are actually useful for a baby.

The Boppy cover was a quick sew with this fabric, and now I can add zippers to my sewing repertoire.

The embellished burp cloths kind of confuse me. You cover the place they spit up on with not the most absorbent fabric? Yes. Because it’s cute. Done.

Have you seen the prices on the simple cotton gauze swaddle blankets on the market? 40 bucks for 3 or 4? Or a few bucks for some fabric at Joann’s. Add in a box of dye and you’ve got yourself an ombre swaddle blanket.

And finally a simple quilt. No binding, measuring, or pinning required. I’ve had the Echino Japanese fabric for 5 years now and decided to stop waiting for the perfect sewing inspiration and just make use of it.

Sewing spree complete.

these are the days

of waiting for Asa
of being absolutely convinced I will be pregnant forever
of everybody, except that girl you see above, dropping like flies from one sickness or another
of introducing that concept of movie marathons (Harry Potter 1-3) to kids because of the above
of me reading to kids (everything from The Apprentice to Little House on the Prairie to Dragons Love Tacos)
of kids reading to me (I am loving this)
of me reading to me (Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Parenting With Love and Logic by Cline and Fay, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller)
of not finishing any books because I started too many at once
of washing and folding little boy clothes
of working my way through recipes in Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons (make this oatmeal! and then make these muffins!)
of fitting in dates with Omar before Asa comes
of Swedish pancakes with butter and lingonberry jam breakfast dates
of Chinese food lunch dates
of corn and crab beignet dinner dates
of kind and generous family and friends helping with kids and meals and my sanity

growing up

It’s been strange/fun to watch this girl become so excited knowing that she gets to be a big sister. I haven’t even had to do much prepping in this department. She’s quick to inform me as to what she will be doing in this new role. Today she told me she would take care of wet diapers. The other day she was floored (FLOORED!) that she was not going to be there at the hospital for the whole birth. A few days ago, Omar was having a familial chat with the kids about being extra kind and helpful when Asa comes because mama will need to give him a lot of attention in the beginning. “And he’ll need LOTS of attention from Lenna, too!” she chimed in.

She loves to come up and talk to the belly and touch it. And comment on it. Many a recent morning I walk into the kitchen and she cries out, “Wow, Mama! He is sooo big!” Thanks, kid.

on resolutions and photos

My big resolution of 2014? Bring a baby boy safely into this world and pray the Lord helps us transition to a family of six with as much grace and patience as possible. Done.

I think I’d feel like an overachiever if I tried to do anything more. Except for a certain trip we’re all taking to Colorado in June. All six of us. I’ll give myself a six month resolution: Don’t freak out about the impending trip for the next six months.

Overachieving aside, I did spend much of the day thinking about photos and cameras. For much of the past year my camera sat on the left stereo speaker. It didn’t see much action, and if you would pick it up there would often be a little Nikon-shaped dust outline. I love having the iPhone camera, but to be honest I haven’t even been taking many photos with it. My 2013 photo repertoire consists mostly of sporadic Instagram shots and many (many) photos of random things my kids make or just bring to me and beg, “Take a picture of this, Mama!!” (case in point – the above photo of Lenna’s lunchbox). I used to say no, but they’ve worn me down and it’s just faster and less painful for all involved to point and shoot. And when I do pull out the camera to capture some cute faces? They won’t. sit. still. So many blurry pictures (case in point – the photo below).

But there is an Asa coming. And a trip to the Rockies. And I miss the photos. I’m finally getting around to printing my blog books from 2012 and 2013. And last year’s Instagram book…and 2011’s 365 photo book. Oh my. It’s a bit of a backlog, yes, but it’s worth it. And prepping and formatting all those pictures into book form just makes me want to take more.

So there will probably be some kind of photo project this year. Perhaps a photo a day? A family photo per week? We’ll see where the next few days and weeks take us.

advent days to christmas

Omar and I gifted each other a trip to Charleston to see friends for the second weekend in advent. Savannah has become a required stop for any trip north of Florida, and this trip just confirmed its status as number 1 pit stop. I came across Fabrika and Omar found Back in the Day Bakery. And Charleston? It’s a blur of good friends, lots of conversation, and lots of restaurants all packed into a mere 36 hours. It should become an advent tradition.

Back home Lenna got to attend her first ladies’ Christmas party. She was thrilled that she got to dress up and stay out late and then stay up even later with her papi telling him all about it.

Christmas pjs might become an advent sewing tradition. Or maybe just the pillowcase.

I think Elisha’s favorite advent activity was a campout by the tree. The boys lasted the whole night. Lenna? Not quite.

And as for Christmas Day? Elisha’s easel dreams came true. Asher is now the proud owner of Ed the betta, and Lenna’s baby swing is beloved.

Advent is now over and today marks the second day of Christmas. Omar went back to work, and for the first time in forever, I was itching to take all the Christmas stuff down. I’m usually a big proponent of celebrating Christmas through Epiphany, but this year? Not feeling it. Getting day-to-day things done is starting to take more effort, and it feels like big trees and decorations are getting in my way. I’ve caught glimpses of my profile (heck, even my shadow) recently and been taken aback a bit. I’m just ready for this little guy to be here, and perhaps cleaning this season’s things away and checking off to-do lists makes me feel like it will happen just a little sooner. What? You didn’t spend the week before Christmas cleaning out closets, getting rid of all unneeded baby clothes, and organizing all your tax documents? I drew the line at removing doors and sanding and painting. Lord willing there will be a squishy 9 month old around next Christmas, and that will definitely distract me from the to-do lists and push me back into a celebratory mood.

it’s november

I love you, November. I know this still means highs in the 80s, but I take comfort in the fact that I’ve lived down here for so long now that the 70s make me want a light sweater. My boys know no other climate so when the temps hit 75 they’ve been breaking out their new hoodies in order to experience “the cozy.”

The past weeks have marked our return to the world of the parks. Hours of them playing and climbing outside. Hours of me not passing out from the heat. School is crammed into the early hours of the morning, so we can hit up the parks later in the day. I’m also trying to relish these last few months of running out with the kids and not needing to buckle, feed, or change any little people. I know I’m about to jump back into the world of carrying diapers, snacks, and strollers around and am excited about it. But running around parks chasing toddlers? I don’t miss that part.

I love that the past days’ weather has been cloudy and dark and quite windy. It feels (looks is perhaps a more fitting word) like November. Harry Potter movies find their way into the movie rotation this time of year. And this year? The kids get to join us for the first two movies. We always said we’d make them read them before they could watch them, but we were just too excited to let them have a peek at its world that we caved. But only for the first two…for now. And if you watch Harry while it’s dark and stormy outside, you also need hot chocolate or egg nog to go along with it. Cookies don’t hurt, either. So there’s been lots of that around here, too.

And November marks the four month countdown until Asa arrives. That means four months to remedy the situation of me only having 2 onesies, three sleepers, and some worn out blue and green diapers. But if he is willing to boldly rock some girly clothes and hot pink diapers, then I’m almost set.