Baxter is nine months old!

My little man is now closer to one year than he is to the newborn phase.  I just remarked to Fred the other day that Baxter’s first year is seeming to go by so much faster than Charlotte’s first year did!  We are busier than ever, and the minutes literally slip away when you are ‘on’ 12hours a day.  There is no time to check email, sit down for a quiet moment, eat something in peace, or even go to the bathroom alone.  Every minute revolves around some little person and their intense needs.  Come 8pm, Fred and I barely have enough energy to talk to each other, and sometimes just relish the quiet.  But it’s all worth it when you have a little man that laughs a giant hiccuping belly laugh when all you do is look at him.

And yes, Baxter is a little man: “Baximus Maximus”, “Baxter Boy” or “Honey boy” as he’s known around here.  The sweetest moment I have seen in their relationship was just this morning: Charlotte was trying to watch The Jungle Book movie, and Baxter was sitting 6 inches from her screaming and whining for a solid 6-7 minutes.  She finally just reached over to him, rubbed his head, and said “ohhh Baxter Boy, are you sad?”  He calmed at her touch, and they both went on watching the movie.  What tenderness and care–and endless patience–she has for her brother!

The big changes between 8 months and 9 months:

  • crawling!  well, more like army-crawling-inching across the floor.  the boy has some strong arms, and the front of his clothes are getting all frayed from being dragged across every rug, hardwood floor, grass, and driveway on our property!
  • can pack away a LOT of food!  tonight he ate fistfulls of salmon, a whole bowl of applesauce, some mashed cauliflower + potato, and finished it all off with 1/3 of a banana.  and THEN went directly upstairs to nurse!
  • is starting to pull himself up on anything he can find
  • loves Pippa the cat–whenever he hears her in the room, he must find her and inch on over!
  • he babbles a lot, and says “mama” quite often…but I’m still not sure if it’s intentional or not?
  • By the way, now that he’s mobile?  There is NO HOPE for cute, stationary monthly photos anymore.  The shots below are the best we could do!

Mama ‘Bee found her flock

I wrote several months ago about my “Boobie Group” mothers group that has absolutely saved my sanity, affirmed my identity as a mother, provided laughs, commiseration, and all-around solidarity.  I would be so lost without this support system.  It has helped me grow the confidence I need to ask questions, search for new strategies when I need them, vent, admit when things are not going well, and celebrate when they are.  Working moms, stay at home moms, single moms, two moms–I’ve never met a more down to earth group of ladies.

On Friday, a (small) fraction of us met up for the annual “Mom in the picture” event at our beloved Birth Roots.  These mamas keep me going!  And just look at all those beautiful kiddos!  xoxo.

boobie group 2015Boobie Group 2015 with toddlers, babies, and other-halfs!  We all met back in the winter of 2013 through a breastfeeding support group and/or our community based parenting support Birth Roots.  Two years later, still growing strong!

Photo credit:  Emilie of Emilie Inc


It’s been a busy summer here at the Follansbee house, trying to get our new pad up and running the way we want it.  It’s a lot of work to buy the house, and then even more work to make it your own!

We’ve had a number of DIY projects going on simultaneously…which is always an adventure when you have a pregnant Mama ‘Bee, and a toddler ‘Bee that is not in day care all summer!  Fred takes care of the outside and heavy lifting projects, while I’ve been free to focus my energy on more creative and decorative tasks.  Here’s a peek at what we’ve been up to…

We’ve been converting an old dining room into a playroom for the kids, since we are having a nanny and the kids will be home all school year.  They need space to play, and room to hold their growing collection of toys!  I made these picture labels so that we can start to teach Charlotte how to put her toys away in the correct places (click on the pictures to enlarge):

As mentioned above, our nanny comes to join the family one week from now!  She is actually an international au pair, traveling from Italy this year to live with us.  Her name is Ilaria, and she is currently a hair stylist by trade and has been an au pair in Belgium before.  Needless to say, we needed to turn our spare bedroom/junk collection area into a proper home for her!  Here are the before and after shots:

With cabinet space being almost non-existent, we’ve had to come up with some creative storage.  Here is our magnetic spice rack, affixed to the refrigerator door: IMG_0885







Fred is building a sandbox for the backyard!  Charlotte is really into textures and scooping/pouring lately, so hopefully it will get a lot of use this fall (and not just by the cats).


Fred also built us a compost bin this spring:

Of course, with all the DIY-ing going on, Charlotte couldn’t be left out of the fun.  Here she is finger painting a masterpiece in the backyard.

Cooking up a [snow]storm!

With 12″ of snow, 2 snow days, and temperatures hovering at 0 degrees, we’ve barely left the house this week.  This has given us lots of time for playing with Charlotte’s new Christmas toys and videos, and has also meant that she’s taking some extra long naps!  (What a blessing for a shoveling-daddy and a house cleaning-mommy!)

I’ve been baking up a storm here while Charlotte naps, and wanted to try some new recipes for her that would go beyond fresh fruits and roasted veggies.  She eats a ton of whole foods and especially produce, but I can see that she’s getting kind of bored when her dinner consistently is made up of one green veg, one whole grain, and maybe some yogurt or applesauce.  She also seems less interested in nursing, which  means that she may be starting to drop some of her feedings.  It’s been a long and sometimes-bumpy road with nursing for us, and it will be a little bittersweet when it’s all done (more on that in the next post).

In the meantime, it’s increasingly more important that Charlotte gets quality nutrients from the solid food she’s eating.  We’re nearing the end of our “food is fun until age one!” theory.  Just one month until her first birthday!  We got a juicer and a new dutch oven for Christmas, so Fred and I have been playing with our new toys too!  Here’s what we’ve been up to, in the kitchen and at the dinner table….

The Mayor of Portland

The Mayor of Portland

Everywhere we go, Charlotte waves to everyone and everything she sees: at the grocery store, Starbucks, day care, driving in traffic…waving at kids, adults, dogs, trees, and pumpkins. It garners a lot of smiles and even more return waves. Who doesn’t love to be the object of a baby’s attention? She’s my little Mayor of the City of Portland, glad-handing everyone everywhere we go!

Dear Baby Bee,

Dear Baby ‘Bee,

When I was pregnant with you, I asked my mom (your Nanny) a thousand questions about her labor and how I was born.  That was 31 years ago!  I hope that someday you’ll start a family of your own, and come to me with the same curiosity.  And in case my memory gets fuzzy, I thought I should get it down now so we can both remember February 4, 2013.

Dad and I had been to see Dr. Adams on a Friday night for our 39 week appointment.  She told us to walk as much as possible, and be patient.  “Most first babies are late, Betsy” she told me with a cautionary smile.  {I was nowhere near patient.  I was a whale, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and was exhausted.}

Saturday we stayed close to home, having lunch with your Memere and Papa and then dinner with Nanny and EG.  I had a few strong contractions throughout the day, but they were very far apart.  We went to bed early, and I kept waking up with stronger and stronger contractions.  Still, they were far apart.

Sunday morning, 8:00am:  pretty lazy.  We stayed in our PJs until 10am, watching TV and reading while I breathed through some more frequent contractions on the couch.  Nothing too bad yet though.  Around 11am we went out for a walk, then called Uncle Tom on the face time to chat while we ate lunch.  I think we scared him when I had a few contractions during our phone call.  “Is that normal?!” he asked when I was done grunting.  “I don’t know!  I’ve never been in labor!  I don’t even know if this is what labor feels like?!”

1:00pm:  Feeling restless, and not knowing if I was actually in labor, we decided to start doing our taxes.  Yes, you heard me right.  Mom’s in labor, and we decide to DO OUR TAXES.  I wasn’t much help, stopping to google things about labor every 5 minutes.

Around 3pm, we went out for another walk.  We barely got around the corner when I had to stop and hold onto a neighbor’s fence to get through a contraction.  “Ma’am!  Are you okay?!” a woman called across the street.  “Yep, she’s just in labor!” Fred called back with a laugh.  She gave us a weird look and kept watching from her porch–in case she needed to intervene and rush this calm dad along, I’m thinking.

4:00pm: We returned home and called the on-call doctor to see about going to the hospital.  “Well, the contractions are either going to get better and stop, or they’re going to get worse and you’ll be in labor.”  THANKS, doc.  Really helpful advice.

5:00pm:  Contractions are now 6 minutes apart.  I can no longer talk, and Fred begins doing the dishes, taking out the trash, feeding the cats.  This is not the first labor story I’ve heard where the partner starts frantically doing chores!

6:00pm:  Contractions are 5 minutes apart, and I feel like I might vomit on the couch as I lean over it.  Dr. Adams tells us we can come into the hospital to get checked out…we debate if it’s too early?

6:10pm:  “We have to go, NOW!” I tell Dad.  I’m having a hard time breathing, and wondering how any mom decides to have a second baby after going through labor the first time.  We get ourselves into the car, and Dad pauses for a moment with a swear under his breath.  “$%!&, I hope this is for real.  We can’t come home tonight, I locked us out of the house.”  I was more concerned about getting to the hospital before I had another contraction, because I couldn’t bear sitting in the front seat.

I don’t remember much about our arrival, except that the nurses made me fill out and sign forms at the front desk.  ‘Are you kidding me?!’ I was thinking.  I had pre-registered, I had sent all our paper work ahead and had copies in my bag (yes, anal-retentive), and they still made me fill out paperwork while I can barely stand up.  Contractions are less than 4 minutes apart by now.  Some jovial new dad walks by me at the desk and says “You’re almost there!”  Not quite, dad.  I’ve got hours of pushing ahead.  But thanks for your help.

7:00pm: We are finally admitted to the hospital and get to our labor & delivery room.  I arrived at the hospital 2cm dilated, and within just two hours I raced to 7cm.  It was fast, and it was painful.  I spent those two hours in the tub, with Dad feeding me popsicles and trying to coach me through it.

I’d known intellectually it was going to hurt, but I wasn’t prepared emotionally for this overwhelming pain…and then the anxiety between contractions for the pain that would start again at any second.  It’s kind of scary to know that you cannot do anything to control the pain, and there’s only one way to end it…to birth that baby!

10:00pm: Though I’d said all along I was going to do it naturally, it just wasn’t going to happen.  I asked for a dose of pain meds, which did exactly nothing to take the edge off.

10:00pm-2:00am:  We got stuck.  I caved and had an epidural, which helped with the contractions.  But we got stuck at 7cm for a merciless four hours.  So much for walking around and having an active labor; I ended up flat on my back in bed.  Not what I had pictured.  The nurses kept encouraging me to sleep until it was time to push.  Sleep?!  There was no way–I was too excited to meet you, and find out if you were a girl or a boy!  What would your face look like?  How big would you be?

It’s taken me three days to write the lead-up to labor, and now you’re hungry (again)!  As I write this, you are five weeks old and already moving out of newborn clothes.  So I’ll take a break for now, and return with the next post on how the labor actually turned out!  We love you Little ‘Bee and we’re so glad you are here!