six months.

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Sadie baby is six months!

We are very late to post this for several reasons. It has been a tough few weeks for us, digesting the recent events in our country. Sam and I spend much of our time discussing our feelings and opinions, and trying to formulate ways in which we can make our voices heard. Most days I feel sick to my stomach. While, some days, I feel a little hope and clarity. Whatever your political leanings are, I hope that you can be aware of current events and take the time to thoughtfully consider your stances, research the issues, and make your voice heard. If this election and new administration have done any good in my life, it is to open my eyes to my responsibility in my community and country. The silver lining can be said that, for people like me who never felt the need to be "into politics," the floodgates have been opened. We are fired up.

Which is also why I am so grateful to sit down and take a moment to write about this beautiful baby girl. These girls are definitely the reason why I realized how much I do care about mine and their futures. You just can't look into those eyes and not care!

Sadie is so sweet, and brings us so much joy. Another reason that this post is late coming, is that this poor girl has been sick with a cold, and teething. The double whammy. A constant river of snot, and the saddest cries. When she cries, she stops what she's doing, forms the most perfectly shaped frown, and then slowly rumbles into a blubbery baby cry. It breaks your heart.

But, I feel like that cold is on the way out. And, while she now has two little spikes protruding from her bottom gums, the rest of the bulging teeth seem to be holding off.

Did I mention she's sleeping at night, though!? Hallelujah!! When we got back from our holiday trip, Sam and I set up shop in the living room- air mattress and down jackets. She didn't even need the sleep training, she just stopped waking up. It was amazing. We had tried sleep training a couple of months ago, and it just wasn't working. This time, she was ready. So, we moved her into Eliza's room and haven't looked back. It has been the best thing EVER. Eliza is so excited to have her baby sister sleeping in her room. And, I convinced her that it was super cool to sleep on our bed during nap time, so that she wouldn't wake up Sadie. And, it worked! Mom win.

So, even with the sick baby and the new teeth, everyone in the house is getting a glorious amount of sleep. And, we are all the better for it.

A bit about Sadie:

thumb sucker- We have a thumb sucker! I can't decide if it's the greatest or worst thing. She has always taken a pacifier, but when she got sick she was having a hard time breathing through her nose while keeping the binky in her mouth. So, one day, that tiny, little thumb found its way into her mouth and set up camp. It is, by far, the cutest thing I have ever seen. When she gets upset now she cries and cries, and then remembers her little thumb and starts vigorously sucking on it. I love to sneak into her room and watch her nap with her thumb in her mouth, that pointer finger wrapped around her nose, and those pink full cheeks.

moving- This girl is not interesting in physical activity. It's so funny to me. I don't want to compare the girls, but Eliza was such a big mover. So, when I see Sadie roll onto her belly and then just sort of give up and lay her head down in defeat, I can't help but laugh. She is not interested in getting herself out of tight spots, and she doesn't feel the need to learn how to sit up. She's just a chill, happy baby! She can roll a little, and also ends up doing the compass twirl on her belly most of the day. And, she does enjoy sitting, you just have to be right there to catch that noggin before it hits the ground.

food- She started solids, and loves it. I always try and feed her during our meals and she loves being a part of the action. So far, she's loving apples, bananas, and peanut butter. She's very smart, and picks up on things quickly. She figured out that I wouldn't feed her unless her hands were out of the way right off the bat, and just sits there with her mouth open waiting for me.

laugh- She has the best laugh. She laughs whenever you pay any attention to her. She loves when Eliza plays with her. We are in serious discussion with Eliza about not being rough with the baby, since it is sort of becoming a problem (any advice on this?) But, it's hard to tell Eliza to stop when Sadie is laughing her head off!

creamy skin- I love her creamy skin. I am still so surprised that a baby that came out of me could have such creamy skin. She is like a chubby, little porcelain doll. It's also taken some learning on my part, because her skin is so much more sensitive than mine or Eliza's. When she is upset in the least, she gets all pink and splotchy. It's so cute, but so sad!

squawks- This girl has a lot to say. She squawks when she gets bored, especially in slightly inconvenient places like meetings or church. They are high pitched and sometimes strung into sentences that extend for long stretches of awkward time.

hats- I never put hats on Eliza, but I can't help myself with Sadie's chubby cheeks. She is always wearing a hat- knit hats with pom poms, beanies with ears, bonnets with brims, and pixie hats with points. It gives me such satisfaction to tie that string around her cheeks and watch it disappear into the folds of her chins.

happy holidays!

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A little late, per tradition:

Happy Holidays!
Love, The Grays

This year, we squeezed in a family photo shoot by smuggling our camera into church a couple of weeks ago and asking a friend to grab a few shots between meetings on the front steps. That's how we do. Also, I totally chose all the photos where I happened to look my best, because I'm a selfless mom like that. It's becoming increasingly less likely that we will ever get a family photo in which we are all looking and smiling at the camera- especially with Eliza's talent for silly faces. But, what are you goin' to do??


Anyway, we want to wish you all the best in this new year. Our 2016 was beautiful and beautifully challenging. We watched Eliza grow and mature, and we enjoyed/endured our second pregnancy. (I can say "we" because everyone has to put up with those crazy lady hormones.) We were able to travel a bit and spend time with friends and family. We were blessed with many things, including a job promotion for Sam. I would also say that this year has made us feel like Berkeley is our home. We may not stay here forever, and most likely won't be able to, but I think it's the first time in our marriage where we have felt happy and content right where we are with no intentions of "moving on." We are constantly on the receiving end of so much love and support from our community here.

And, of course, we welcomed little Sadie Lee and she changed our world for the better. The girls have grown so much over the past few months, and we are really feeling like a family. I know that might sound weird, but it honestly takes me a few months to feel like I know my baby as anything but, "the baby." Sadie is one of us now, and our lives are starting to feel like, "Yes, this is the way it is supposed to be. This is the way it was always supposed to be."

When change comes around, my world gets a little rocked. It's taken me years to realize that I might not do so well with change. When we had Eliza, I had a hard time trying to expand my energy to fit all of my family's needs. In the end, Sam always seemed to get the shaft when it came to my love and energy. The past few months, Sadie has needed much of my energy. And, I continue to have that terrible "mom guilt" that everyone else down the line is really getting the brunt of my impatience and exhaustion. I'm not looking for any sort of "You're doing great." I know I'm doing ok. But, I would like to be better. 

So, my goals for this new year involve one major thing: love.

I want to love my family more. I want to be more kind, more patient, and more loving. When I become impatient, I want to think "Love first." Perhaps this will give me that 2 second pause to remember that I love this person, and allow me to choose my reaction instead of letting me heightened emotions choose it for me. 

I want to love myself. I'm hoping to rid myself of guilt each night, as I lay in bed thinking of my day. I'm hoping to be patient with myself. And, I'm hoping to take care of my mind and my body. I am forming specific plans for those last two.  

I also want to love those around us. I plan on organizing small, monthly service projects for our family to do together. And, I want to be more aware of how I can help those who really need a little extra love.

I hope that you find happiness in the coming year. Thank you for all that you do to love and support my family!

eliza says, vol. 8


Eliza has always been the girl of a million faces. Do you remember this breakfast photo shoot? The photo above is what I call the "scrunchy nose smile." It's what she does when she is up to no good and being mischievous. Or, when I get her all dressed up and ask her to smile and she wants to push my buttons. The photo below is her "salty stare." It's what she does when she is legitimately mad, or I've taken too many photos and she wants to go inside now. It is often accompanied with a foot stomp and hands on hips.

Eliza makes me laugh lately. She also makes me cry a little. Cry because she suddenly looks HUGE and is acting like a small tween, and cry because she drives me absolutely bonkers crazy. I don't have the energy to wax poetic about this miss today, but just know that I love her beyond anything imaginable. And, between her crusty stares and Sadie's crusty diapers, I am so ready to call it quits in all future baby making endeavors. 

Love you, E.

Eliza says:

"Why?"- I'm sure I have mentioned this before, but this is the question I hear 24 hours a day. Eliza is one of those "why" kids. It is simultaneously annoying and pride-inducing. I mean,  I'm proud because she has always been our curious one, and continues to grow more smart and more adventurous. 95% of the things I say are followed by a "why?" from Eliza. And every answer to a "why" is followed by a string of additional "whys." I am teaching myself to be patient and answer her questions. It makes me think about what the answer actually is, because I would rather teach her the correct answer than something made up. But, really I can only answer about five "whys" in a row before I trail off with a typical, "Just because!"

"Eliza"- I know I have also mentioned that Eliza prefers her preschool teachers to pronounce her name in Spanish. Well, apparently she has been correcting several adults on this matter. When she went to church recently, they introduced her as Eliza and she said, "No, my name is E-lee-sa." To the point that I watched one of her friends trying to get her attention at the park, "Eliza! Eliza!.... E-LEE-SA!"

"Never, ever!"- Eliza has always been a bit dramatic. When she is upset now, she runs into her room and slams the door and then wails about how hard her life is. She includes several "Never, ever, evers." Such as, "I never, ever, ever want you to be my mama ever, ever again!" She also likes to make sure the neighbors are well aware of the fact that, "My mama is not being nice!!"

sharing stickers- Eliza LOVES stickers. But, the second she gets her hands on a sheet she immediately pulls them all off one by one and distributes them to the people around her. This may include Sadie or her own baby dolls. Also, my rear as I walk past, and don't discover until I have already been to five stores that day with a huge Elsa sticker stuck to my pants. The stickers then float around the house on dirty laundry, or stuck to the bottoms of our socks. And then they die in the washing machine. She also like to remind us of the rule, "No stickers on Sadie's skin, only on her clothes." This rule was implemented after she covered Sadie's face in stickers and they left little heart-shaped welts when removed. Poor baby sister.

fortune cookie- Eliza got a fortune cookie, and asked me to read the fortune for her. I read, "Someone you know and admire will honor you soon." I watched her work that over in her head, and then she replied. "Hmm, maybe it's Sage.... Or, Jesus."

singing- Eliza has recently found a love for singing. She has always loved us to sing for her, but she never wanted to sing herself. But, now, you can find her singing several favorite songs a day. Mind you, this child has absolutely no sense of tone or tune. And, when she is singing along to the music, she is always about five words behind. I love it. At her preschool holiday show, they sang three songs for the parents. She got bored in the third round of Feliz Navidad and started shimmying a little, which progressed into a few very well-placed and technically beautiful pliƩs. She flashed a huge smile at me, and then finished the verse off with a rousing, "from the bottom of my heaaaaaarrrrrtttt!"

hand and head gestures- Sometimes when Eliza is telling a story she adds in the funniest hand and head gestures. She often tilts her head to the side and bobs it up and down while she talks. Then, puts one hand on her hip and has the other hand waves around to add emphasis.

"Can you believe it?"- She tacks this saying on to her statements often. "We got to go outside to play, can you believe it?!"

prayers- Our church organized a really great calendar leading up to Christmas, in which you were asked to follow Christ's example "25 ways in 25 days." Many of the challenges were service-oriented. Eliza and I really enjoyed doing these, and I felt like like it changed the way we see and do things on a daily basis. It gave us the opportunity to look around us and find ways to serve others, and provided some really nice teaching moments for our family. The sweetest result of those daily service opportunities were Eliza's prayers. She has included a string of requests in her prayers, and still says them each night- "Please bless the people who don't have houses, and the people who don't have glasses. Please bless the people who are sick..."

"Papa's energy"- We donated a few bags of feminine hygiene products to a local shelter, and Eliza had some questions. "What are those?" "Well, these are things that mamas need to take care of themselves. And some mamas don't have any, so we are going to give them some." "Oh... do they turn into babies?" "No, they don't." "Oh yeah, because the papa's 'energy' goes in to the mama and that turns into a baby." (said very matter-of-factly) What!? I seriously have never explained it to her like that. It's now our favorite thing to quote, Sam and I. The "papa's energy"!

memory- Eliza has a mind like a trap. She can remember every single detail from any part of her life. She will be babbling on about some story, and I have no idea what she's talking about. Then, an hour later, I realize she was recalling something from two years ago... as in, when she was a year and a half old. She won't let you forget anything either. Especially hollow promises, like treat bribes.