five months.

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Sadie Lee is five months! If it's possible, this little one is only getting sweeter. I started calling her my little baby doll, because she is exactly what I imagined a real baby would be like when I was young. She lets you cuddle with her, and hardly complains at all when you squeeze her. I tote her around town all day, and when people stop to say hello, she graciously flashes her precious, little smile. When she nurses, she curls up and settles into my lap with her smooth head nestled in the crook of my arm. Sometimes, when she wakes up from a nap, we just lay together in my bed and she tells me all about her baby dreams, babbling happily to herself.

I have also been joking that, while Eliza has been sort of destroying me during the day with her high emotions and tantrums, this little baby right here has been slaying me at night. I hate to say it, but I have not been my best self these days, from lack of sleep. We attempted some sleep training, but it didn't catch on the way it had with baby Eliza. And, our tiny house is just not conducive. We spent a couple of weeks sleeping on an air mattress in the freezing living room, before we finally gave up and retreated back to our bedroom. It got too cold at night, Sadie wasn't catching on, and the Christmas tree took over the living room. Also, with the holidays looming, I knew that any training we achieved right now would fly out the window during our travels. So, we are going to give it another go in January and hope for the best. For now, I will try to remember that someday teenage Sadie may never want to cuddle with me, much less every 1.5 hours in the middle of the night. Right??

I decided I wanted to take pictures of Sadie in her tiny crib this month because I wanted to remember this time in our life. This time when we are living in a little two bedroom house in Berkeley, with two kids. Where Sadie is sleeping six inches from my face, and we have sound machines blasting in both bedrooms to cover up the household noises, as well as the trains that run along the track four blocks away. Our little house that has one bathroom- a "jack and jill," connecting the two bedrooms. So that, at night when you have to pee, you play a game of roulette trying to decide if it's worth it to wake up either girls by crossing through the room, and which one do you risk. And, you definitely don't flush or the game is up!

I want to look at that picture of little Sadie bathing in the sunlight from the window and cry because I so wish that a baby was sleeping six inches from my face for the rest of my life! I love my happy family, and my happy, little home.

Things I want to remember:

her voice- Sadie has found her voice. And, she loves to use it. She shrieks and squeals, and grunts with a purpose. Sometimes it takes people off guard, it's funny.

her cheeks- Those cheeks are so chubby and firm. When she smiles, they shine like little apples and make her face look so round, if almost square. And, I am obsessed with putting bonnets on her head because the ties frame her cheeks and disappear into the folds of her neck.

her thighs- She has the chunkiest thighs. And since she is still fairly petite, her thighs just sort of take up her entire leg. She has outgrown size 1 diapers, and we are desperately trying to finish up the last box by streeeeetching them over those thighs- and regretting it later when she leaks through. Whoops! Also, sometimes I call her "Chunky McChunkerson" and Sam says I'm going to give her a complex. And, I tell him, her only job right now is to grow and I'm just complimenting her on a job well done.

her laugh- Sadie has the best laugh. It's low and growly, and sometimes she combines it with a funny cough. She laughs at Eliza and other kids, and when you play with her. And basically anytime you give her even the slightest bit of love, she will return it with a beautiful smile or a belly laugh.

grabby- She loves to grab now. She finally reached the age where she loves to play with toys, which has made my life all the more easy. She gets really serious when you hand her something- slowly reaching out her little fingers until they make contact. If you hold her during a meal, she will grab at your plate and food. And, she loves to clutch onto any hair that comes her way. She also loves anything that makes noise when you crinkle it. So when we are grocery shopping, I will throw a bag of something on her lap and she will crinkle, crinkle for the entire shopping trip.

belly roll- The second you put her down on her back, she will roll over onto her belly. She used to immediately get super mad, and Eliza got really good and going over and rolling her back- like a little beetle bug, but opposite. Eliza would laugh and say, "Sadie!? Why do you keep rolling on your belly?!" Now, she doesn't mind being on her belly so much and is starting to explore movement just a bit. But, when she gets tired, she will sort of just lay her face down in the rug and grunts.

Eliza and Sadie- Eliza is still learning about how to treat Sadie. Honestly, she's a little abusive, and we are working on that. Sometimes, Sadie will sort of shake a little when she knows Eliza is coming her way. But, mostly she gets so excited when Eliza plays with her, even when it hurts. haha

Is it conceited if I say I make some insanely beautiful children? I don't care. I do, and they are. :)

bonny doon.

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For my birthday last month, Sam took the family to the little town of Bonny Doon. It's a tiny town that basically consists of a few local businesses right on Highway 1. He found a great place on Airbnb- a home on a ranch in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was the perfect birthday present. He watched the girls all weekend, while I laid around in bed and finished an entire book. We went on a hike in the dunes, and played on the beach. We ate seafood at a cute roadhouse in town, where the employees were so nice to us even when our kids were being wild. 

Motherhood has gotten the best of me lately (more on this later). I hadn't had a good night's sleep in months. And, my birthday was the same week as the election. Emotions were running high, and I was feeling pretty low. So, it was really great of Sam to step in and take care of all of us, giving me the rest I needed. Also, the house didn't have service, and I actually "lost" my phone- meaning I couldn't remember when I used it last, and chose not to look for it until we left. I don't think I could have gotten through that post-election weekend without unplugging for a bit. The ocean can make you forget everything. This particular spot was mesmerizing. We stopped at a cliff that overlooked a beach, where the shallow water stretched out for so long and you could follow a single wave spread so smoothly until it dissolved onto the sand. 

Thank you all for the birthday wishes! And, thank you Sam for taking your girls on a much-needed get away!

four months.

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This month flew by, partially because I was late to acknowledge her at three months. But, for once, I was on time and took these pictures the day before. Mostly because I wanted to take pictures of her in this insanely cute bonnet before her noggin got too big.

So here are pictures of my adorable baby with some strategically placed toys, and a strategically placed little hat chosen because it makes her cheeks look so deliciously scrumptious. But, even if I strategically styled these pictures, you can be certain that I scraped aside all of our junk with my forearm and placed her on my rug that may or may not have been vacuumed for quite awhile. You can also be certain that those are some genuine Sadie smiles. She is the sweetest.

Miss Sadie is still loving her midnight snacks, and keeping mama busy all night long. But, she is taking some longer naps during the day, and that makes a big difference. She insists on being a part of our daily lives now. She likes to sit in the Bumbo and watch us eat our meals, or snuggle into the sling to hang out while I clean the house. She LOVES when Eliza plays with her. Eliza can get her to laugh almost every time. Sadie's responses to Eliza have really lifted some of the tension. I think Eliza is starting to feel like Sadie is more of a person, now that she can interact with her. Although, she still gets pretty jealous and clingy when Sadie needs to nurse or needs my undivided attention. It's tough being a big sister.

Sadie is also starting to hold and "play" with things a bit! She mostly just loves to cover it in her slimy river of drool, but it is nice having more items in my toolbox to keep her busy and happy. It's that lovely age when you feel like you are connecting with them at whole new level, like a tiny human.

Little Miss Sadie:

"mama"- I know I mentioned this before, but it really makes me so happy. Sadie has developed a special "call" for when she is hungry, and it's quite literally "Mama." All the heart eyes! I know she is not saying it for real, obviously. But, I kind of love it. Sadie likes to eat right when she wakes up from her naps. So, she just lays in her bed humming, "Mamaammamamamama" until I come to get her and feed her.

the neck folds- I know most babies have the neck folds, but honestly, Eliza didn't have much of any folds. So, I sort of love Sadie's little neck folds! Like, when she wear her little blue sweater dress to church and I find blue fuzz lined up in the creases. Or, when she smiles really big and her cheek and chin all smoosh together.

post-nap- When Sadie wakes up from her naps, I feed her, unwrap her, and lay her on the bed. I then always try to spend a few minutes giving her all of my attention before taking her out into the craziness of Eliza's world. We chat and sing songs, and her face just lights up. I get her to giggle by lifting her arms up over her head, or brushing my fingers down her face. Those are my favorite Sadie times.

side by side- There are, honestly, very few times when we can't decipher Sadie's needs. I mean, she cries like a baby.. a lot. But, we can usually figure out what it is that she wants within a few minutes. Every once in awhile she gets pretty worked up and won't be comforted. When that happens, she doesn't even want to be held- I have found that she just wants me to lay down next to her. We lay side by side, me in my bed and her in hers, and she just stares at me until she drifts off to sleep. Sometimes, her little hand will sneak out of her swaddle and I will let it wrap around my finger while she falls asleep. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it makes me happy to slow down for a minute and stare at my baby as her long eyelashes float and flutter.

high pitched scream- In the past few days, Sadie has suddenly developed this funny, gargly high pitched scream-talk. It's this sort of throaty, screamy chatter she uses when she wants to say something and we are not really paying attention. Like, "Get me out of this dumb seat." Or, "I've been staring at this wall for 30 minutes now." Or, "Guys, I've been super chill while you got ready, but now I want to get out of this little straight jacket." And sometimes the little high pitched scream-talk babbles out when she is just happily playing with her toys. It's so funny.

We love our Sadie Lee.

Also, these smiles and those cheeks, and the time it took me to write down a few words about my sweet girl, have made this exhausting week just a little easier. There is always light in this world, and my family will always choose love.

in the garden.


Eliza calls the shots for Halloween costumes around these parts. And, I will force a family costume for as long as I can, gosh darn it. So, after dodging a few bullets (No, I will not be all the characters from Frozen) Eliza decided that she wanted to be a butterfly this year! And not just any, but it had to be a "Mon-awk Butta-fly." It made me smile.

She loves butterflies. When you ask her what her favorite animal is, she says "Butterflies, flamingos, and pigs." As for the specific request for a monarch, I blame it on the wonderful nature school that she is a part of. I need to devote an entire post to nature school, but just know that it is the cutest and best thing. She knows so much about creatures and plants, and when she sees a bug she immediately picks it up to study it- whereas my natural instinct is to flick it away. I love that about her.

Eliza's costume was super easy this year. My good friend gifted Eliza these butterfly wings awhile back, and she has always loved them. So, I just glued a smattering of little butterflies to a leotard and pinned some in her hair. She was super stoked about the antennae for some reason. I bought them thinking that we might not use them because I thought she would rather have a butterfly crown. But, after she spied them on the table one day she ran up to me and whispered, "Mom! I saw some things for my butterfly costume!" as she wiggled her two fingers on her head. She wore them around the house all week long. I was the most excited about the face paint! I found a decent set of paint on Amazon, and we did a few practice sessions. The first few attempts were terrible. Like, awful. But, I would like to think it got a bit better. I don't want the extra paint to go to waste, so I have been practicing to go pro by painting Eliza and her friends' faces when they come over to play. It's fun!

Once we had the butterfly costume, I had to figure out a way to tie in the family- and the garden bugs were born. After playing with a few ideas, I decided chubby-faced Sadie needed to be a caterpillar. No question. And, it only made sense for her to be a monarch caterpillar. I made the swaddle and bonnet out of fleece, while binging on a new show on Amazon Prime. It was a great night. I miss doing projects, and it felt good to create- even if it's just a striped tube to shove my cute baby in. Sadie won "cutest costume" at our church carnival, and stole many hearts Halloween weekend. She was seriously cute. 

I made my snail costume with this tutorial. It was actually really simple, and only $3 worth of paper and styrofoam balls. It was surprisingly light and easy to wear, except that I bumped quite a few people. I decided it was also a good excuse to by a gold, crushed velvet dress, too. Score.

Sam, in true Sam Gray fashion, waited until the day of to make his costume. We talked bugs for a couple of months before Halloween, but he could never settle on one, until... he saw this kid's costume. This roly poly is amazing. Apparently, the kid and his dad took months to make this after studying and literally dissecting pillbugs to design the structure. Sam says that his is not as legit, but I was pretty impressed with the finished product. He used vulcanized fiber (really thick paper) to make the plates, by spraying them with water, shaping them, and letting them dry. He then spray-painted them, and taped them together so that they could still have mobility. I made the legs out of an old pair of sweat pants, and we just pinned them to his sweatshirt. It looked great!

The older Eliza gets, the more Halloween festivities she gets to go to! Her friend had a birthday party- a "monster mash dance party" where the kids danced around with glowsticks, and Sadie "oooed" and "ahhed" at the disco lights. Then, we played at our church carnival where Eliza timidly played a few games, and used her tickets to buy a Madeline doll and a couple of books at the prize table.

Unfortunately, she got sick the night before Halloween and I had to keep her home from preschool, which broke my heart. So, I walked down and asked her teacher if she could come march in the parade and she was happy to have her. So, I dressed up my snotty-nosed butterfly and she marched at the front of the parade with Teacher Nelly. It was the cutest thing. They walked around the square block, jingling tambourines, while all the parents skipped after them trying to take pictures. I seriously cried a little, she looked so happy and so grown up. 

After resting up the rest of the day, we headed out to trick-or-treat! Eliza got to go door-to-door with her best friend, Sage. She was so brave, and the two girls went up to every single door by themselves. Even if no one was obviously home, they needed to check out every one. And after knocking, they just sort of silently stood there with their bags open and little smiles on their faces. It made me so happy, and I couldn't help but laugh every time she ran back down from the porch exclaiming, "I got candy!" as if she still couldn't believe it. We went to a little haunted house run by a neighborhood kid (which was a little too scary for the girls!) and hit up Russell Street for a little. But, by then the kids were in a daze, and it started to rain a bit. But, Eliza brought home a good, little haul of candy.

Poor Eliza has been recovering from that cold all week, and I'm sure the excessive amounts of candy she's been eating haven't helped! But, she had such a good time. I love how much our family loves Halloween! Oh, and a caterpillar costume is the best choice for a little one. Sadie has never been so content as she was wrapped up in that thing all weekend. I'm thinking I need to make it a regular thing.

Happy Halloween, friends! We hope you had fun!


three months.

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Baby girl is three months! These pictures make me laugh. She spent the entire time trying to get to her toes, and so she kept curling forward and falling over. Also, here's Eliza in the same outfit at two months! Heart eyes!

So, this post is a little late. It's honestly been a rough month around here. Mostly, It;s because I jinxed us and bragged so much about how Sadie has only needed to wake up once a night since birth. Well, a few weeks ago she decided that her goal in life was to double her weight in the shortest amount of time imaginable. And so, baby girl now wakes up no less than five times a night and nurses like her life depends on it. Oy! These babies. As a result, I have become a sleep-deprived monster of a mom and Sadie has developed some deliciously chubby cheeks and thighs.

I am my worst self when I don't get enough sleep. Like, the worst. I have been short and snappy, and not at all loving. And then, every night I apologize to Eliza and ask her forgiveness. The other day, we had a terrible morning trying to get out the door to go to preschool. When I picked her up later, we chatted all the way home, where she said, "We had a rough morning." It made me want to cry. But, it also made me happy because I think she is starting to recognize these moments. We talk a lot about this stuff, because Eliza is a girl that is full of emotions... as are her parents. And that morning, I feel like she finally voiced her understanding that sometimes we have a rough morning, but we can try and be better tomorrow. I love her.

Sam Gray gave me a gift this weekend. He had a business trip he needed to take to Utah, and thought it would be nice for everyone if Eliza got to go with him. She has had the time of her life on her special trip to Utah, and Sadie and I have spent the last three days bonding in a way that we haven't been able to do so far. She is really starting to be her own little person, and I am so grateful I got to spend some alone time with her. I spent the first day napping multiple times, eating take-out, and watching trash tv (in the middle of the day!) Yesterday, we cuddled all morning, ate pastries for every meal, and wandered the Legion of Honor. I've decided that museum is my new happy place. I haven't been able to go to an art museum and actually wander leisurely alone in so long. It was like coming up for air- the way the light filtered through the rooms, and the perfect quiet that filled each space. The museum is just small enough to feel intimate, like you can possibly know each and every piece as if it was your own. It was like a dream. Sadie let me wander almost every room, until we reached the mummies where she decided quite suddenly that she was done. So, we went outside and sat on the steps, ate a chocolate croissant, looked out on the Golden Gate, and listened to a classical guitarist play. It was happiness.

Sadie also rolled on to her belly this weekend! And also, turn about like a compass. I think that she is flourishing without a certain somebody always poking her in the face all day. Just kidding. She loves Eliza.

Here are a few glimpses of Miss Sadie Lee lately:

chatting, "mommmamamama" - She has become such a chatterbox. She makes the cutest noises, and has started to use very specific sounds in a consistent way. For example, when she wants something but isn't worked up enough to actually cry about it, she calls out "mommmmmamamamom" which seriously sounds like she is calling out "Mama!" It is so crazy, and really sweet. Eliza is pretty convinced that she can talk, and one time I overheard her arguing with her cousin about this matter in the back of the car. And when Sadie's random chattering blurted out a "Mmmhmm!" Eliza went, "See! She said 'Mmmhmm!'"

head to the right- Sadie sleeps in our room, in a rocker next to my bed. I know I should transition her to her crib soon (also in our room), but I am reluctant because she sleeps so well in that rocker. I used to have bounce, rock, dance, and do acrobatics to get Eliza to fall asleep. But, when Sadie is tired, I just lay her in that thing, and stick a pacifier in her mouth. She then immediately settles in, always snuggling her head over her right shoulder in the direction of my bed. It is the cutest thing.

bubble blowing- She went through a phase where she loved blowing bubbles. She makes enough saliva to blow bubbles for ten babies, so it's usually pretty messy. When you blew bubbles back at her, her face would light up.

observer- Sadie is the quiet observer. She sits and watches you, going about your business. She loves to be in the baby carrier with her face uncovered, so she can see the world. Being the second child, I often care for her in steps. If she wakes up from a nap, I let her hang out in her swaddle until she calls out. Then I unwrap her and let her lay on the bed, until she calls out. Basically, I get as much done as I can until she reminds me that she has been pretty chill for awhile and now requires some attention. She's the best. The other day, we were all trying to get ready and get out the door. Sam put her in her carseat and we ran around the house getting dressed and wrangling an overly-dramatic Eliza. When I was finally ready to go, I come in the room to find Sadie sound asleep in her seat, wearing yesterday's pajamas, and plastered in glitter heart stickers. She must have gotten tired of watching us run around.

her smile- I love seeing that smile. I love seeing her face light up when she realizes that it's her turn for some mama time. She loves when you pull her arms up over her head, or when you jiggle her feet. She loves when big sister plays (softly) with her. And, she loves big kisses on the lips.

We love you, Sadie baby.

sister visit.

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My sisters came to visit! It was a short visit, but jam-packed with fun. And, the girls were so excited to be together. We even rented a mini van so we could drive together, and listening to the girls chattering in the backseat was one of my favorite parts of the trip. 

When the girls pulled up on that first day, Eliza had already been looking out the window for hours. She immediately dragged Lucy into her room and they played all afternoon. They both compared dress-ups (Lucy packed a few outfits, just in case), played tea party, painted a craft sent by Grandad, and pranced around the house in matching Sofia the First ballgowns. I put together a little bed under Eliza's loft bed for Lucy, piled high with pillows, and they insisted on sleeping together. (Although, Eliza kept rolling around in her sleep and running into piece of furniture, waking her up all night.) 

The next day we hit up the Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, and Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory Tour- two in one day! Both tours are so much fun, I highly recommend. And both hand out freebies! So, the girls were plastered with stickers and jelly beans by the end of the day. We managed to even fit in a trip to the food trucks at Off the Grid that night, too. Every night this week ended with us rolling those girls into bed, completely exhausted and clutching the days' souvenirs.

Let me just say, kudos to Danielle (the youngest sister) for coming along on a trip that was pretty much planned around all the hopes of dreams of two little girls. But, let's be honest- the Jelly Belly Factory was her request! Because, really, mounds of jelly beans and stickers have always been in the dreams of these three (big) girls...

The next day we spent all morning at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. Eliza and I have a membership to Fairyland, and will for as long as we live in the Bay Area because it is the most magical place ever. It's a tiny amusement park full of rides and places to play, all centered around storybook characters and fairytales. Eliza's favorite are the puppet theater, the Jack and Jill Hill, the Robinson Crusoe Treehouse, the Alice In Wonderland Tunnel, the Jolly Trolly... and pretty much everything. It's such a perfect place for this age. Eliza and I picked out some sparkle fairy wings the week before, and we let the girls wear glitter. They had such a good time, and Eliza loved showing Lucy around.  And, every time we made them take a picture they gave us the cheesiest grins. These girls had me cracking up all week long.

After Fairyland, we decided to brave the impossible and fit in a trip to San Francisco, as well. We wandered Chintown and let the girls pick out a souvenir. Lucy picked out a tiny, purple Pusheen plush, and Eliza asked for a pink "cumbrella" for the entire length of the shops on Grant. After watching her twirl the paper parasol with that little smile, I just had to give in. After Chinatown, we attempted to grab a picture at The Painted Ladies, but Alamo Park was under construction. So, we stopped at Crissy Field to get a good photo in front of the Golden Gate. It was a really great condensed tour of the city sights. Unfortunately, we then got pretty brave and tried to get dinner in the city, as well. We drove to the Mission to grab pizza at Delfina and ice cream at Bi-Rite. Both were delicious, but somewhat tainted by the multiple melt-downs by pretty much everyone. Whoops. Next time, we grab a Hot 'n Ready on the way home, and go to bed. Let me just say, the wait staff at Delfina were so nice and helpful, even though pretty much all the guests were giving us super dirty looks. And, when Lucy smacked her head on the table at Bi-Rite, an employee brought her an ice pack and a smile. Lovely people!

On our last full day, we had plans to go to Muir Woods. But, it rained all day. Maybe we really did need to take the day off and let the girls (and the adults) recover. But, I was bummed that they didn't get to see the Redwoods. We played inside, and Sam took the girls to Cheeseboard for lunch so we could hang out at the shops on 4th Street for a bit. We browsed the stationary, and art supplies. Desi parked herself in the paper shop for a good fifteen minutes winding all of the music boxes, and called out the shop attendant when one of the operas was mislabeled. We window shopped all the pretty things, and walked home with a bag full of pastries. 

That night, Sam took Lucy and Eliza to our church campout. They had such a great time, and all of my friends kept saying that a "mini-Roxie" was running around. With all those curls, my niece really does look more like me than my own daughter. While the girls were gone, we got a friend to come sit with Sadie. We got dressed up, covered ourselves in glitter, and hit The Church of 8 Wheels to rollerskate. The best place for a night out- it's a roller disco in an old church in San Francisco. I've decided that a sister date needs to happen every single trip now. And, it should most likely always involve glitter... oh, and slurpees. After downing slurpees and McDonald's on the way home (the only places open after 10pm in Berkeley), we were wired and stayed up watching tv all night. And had one blissful night in which we could go to the bathroom without tip-toeing around little sleeping girls. (Our one and only bathroom is a jack and jill between our two bedrooms.)

We had such a great time with the girls here. Sadie was so sweet and accommodating most of the time, and if you look hard enough you can see her little lump in all the pictures. She was happy to go along for the ride. The last time my sisters came to visit was when Eliza was a newborn. So, this was a special trip and some much needed sister time. It was also so fun to see Eliza get to share her space with her cousin. She has been talking about Lucy every day since they left, groaning "I wish Lucy was here." 

Love you, girls!