Archive | February, 2013

ten o’clock an all’s well!


Good morning!  Well, here I am… flying solo.  Elliott is back at work and this is the first day of my first week as a mama alone at home with two babies.

Friday was actually my first solo day, and I would not call it successful.  Lena threw the temper tantrum of the decade, Gil fussed a lot of the day, we spent a good 5 minutes all bawling together at some point in there, and I might have sent a “mayday!” message to Elliott sometime around… oh… 2pm.

So far today has already been better.  We’ve missed Elliott this morning, but we have survived.  Breakfast, playtime, and nap time have happened without drama.  I even managed to wash the dishes after breakfast (which, as you know, I have given up doing with two babies unless all the stars align).  We have some friends coming later for a play date, my friend Jen is dropping off dinner, and all in all… we have a lot to be thankful for on this first day of our first solo week.

Well, okay, Lena is currently calling “Mama… Mama…” instead of actually napping, Gil is due to wake up any moment, there are toys all over the living room, and I’ve misplaced my cup of coffee somewhere in the chaos but… you know.  Perspective!  Attitude!

I will admit that this day is a welcome relief from the whole weekend, which was not so pleasant.  I’ve had a bad cold and so have been foggily stumbling through the weekend with a dripping nose and dull headache.  We didn’t sleep much at all on Friday night until around 3:30am Elliott asked me to go sleep on the daybed in Lena’s room in order to at least sleep for a few hours.  I don’t like the idea of sleeping in different rooms, or of sleeping away from our baby, though.  We both agree that we want this to be as temporary a solution as possible.

What did you do in order to sleep when you — or your friends or family — had a newborn?  Any tips you can pass along?

14 :: in Baby Numero Due, Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom Series, family, Gil, motherhood

my last day as a mother of one {Part 2 of 2}


Exactly two weeks ago today I gave birth to our precious little baby Gil, an adorable bundle of love.  Of course, that bundle of love has currently had me dancing for the last two hours to keep him happy and get him to go back to sleep.  (Welcome to my new life!)  While I would never go back to live without this precious baby, I must admit that this day I am in the process of chronicling — my last day as a mother of one — is looking very restful right now!

I know this last day with just Lena and myself was an unusually good one; we had no errands or activities on our plate and spent the entire day enjoying each other, mother and daughter, and peacefully playing, eating, walking, and talking together.  I also know that these days will come again, perhaps in six months or so, once Lena and I and Gil all have a routine.  But until then, this day with just Lena and myself is very much a thing of the past, even though it still seems close enough to relive in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, back to the agenda at hand.  We’re picking up again at lunch, where I had leftovers (veggie enchiladas and blood orange salad) and Lena had Ramen (so easy…), blueberries, and yogurt.  We shared an apple.


Lena: “My?”  (Meaning “more” noddles.)

Me: Drink your soup, Lena, and then you can have more.

Lena: *gulp gulp gulp*


After lunch I got to wash the lunch dishes, something which I knew then would be impossible with two little children.  (I was right.  So far it is impossible.)  Lena occupied herself for a few minutes while I did this… apparently by climbing back up into her high chair and shaking her water cup upside down. Making Room BLOG3

I try to make my household tasks into a game and include Lena as much as I can.  Helps me get more done!  In this case I had to get the stubs of candle out of the top of the candlesticks.  She enjoyed playing with the bowl of warm water while I dug out the soft wax.  Then we set up the candlesticks with fresh candles to be ready for dinner that night. Making Room BLOG4

Time to do something that she wants to do.  We spent the next hour or so playing on the living room rug.  One part of playtime was all 150 blocks through the shape sorter.  Whew!


Siena, our Maine Coon kitten and ever-present companion.


Bathroom break.  Lena’s playing with a jar of chocolate chips, one of which will be her “teet” (treat) when she is finished.  We’ve since moved to giving her a goldfish after each successful trip to the toilet, which works extremely well if you only dole out goldfish as a reward!  She loves them and always wants the parent who is with her to enjoy a goldfish as well.

Making Room BLOG5

Good girl… cleaning up after herself.


And back to playing, this time with the kitty and also the punch and drop toy we got her for Christmas. Making Room BLOG6

Naptime again!  These very yellow photos are due to the mellow, sleep-inducing (we hope) lamplight in her room.  Siena snuggles down in her new favorite spot until I nudge her out so I can snuggle there with Lena for storytime.

Making Room BLOG7

Two naps in one day… I know I’m blessed!  I use the 1.5 hours to clean the bathroom…


… put a few more things in my bag for the hospital…


… and do some dinner prep.  On tonight’s menu: Sausage, Potato, and Fennel Chowder with fresh sausage from a butcher in town.


She’s up again!  Someone’s happy to see her.


She helps me finish up a little dusting, which for her means using a paper towel for about 3 seconds before announcing that it is “tash” (trash) and running off with it to find a garbage can.


Back to the kitchen to finish up dinner before Elliott gets home from work.  Lena tries a sip of my “doose” (juice), Pom and sparkling water.  She’s not a huge fan.


We’re in the bathroom again when Daddy walks in!  Lena runs to him for a hug, telling him excitedly that she just earned another “teet,” which earns an extra enthusiastic hug and kiss from him.


I stopped taking pictures at this point.  I think I thought the routine would be the same with two babies as with one once Elliott got home.  But I forgot that newborns don’t go to sleep at 7:30pm and wake up at 7am like Lena does.  I forgot that they like to be held, especially while you’re eating dinner.  I forgot what it’s like to put your baby in the Moby wrap and rock from one foot to the other while you wash the dinner dishes.  I forgot that I might be nursing a newborn in the evenings while Elliott and I are watching Downton Abbey or dong Bible study together or attempting to blog.  Basically… I think I conveniently didn’t realize how much a newborn would transform our whole lives, not just the 9-5 weekdays that Lena and I spent together.

So yes, the newborn is here.  Gil is here, all adorable 8.5 lbs of him, with his beautiful thick hair and sleepy blue eyes.  He has completely transformed our lives in every way, and it is taking an enormous amount of sacrifice so far.  We’ve sacrificed having free hands.  We’ve sacrificed our free evenings.  We’ve sacrificed sleep… oh, so much sleep.  We’ve sacrificed snuggles with our daughter (and turned them into double snuggles, which aren’t always easy to do!).

But we’ve gained so much.  Welcome, little Gil.  How will our days look with you in our pictures?

11 :: in a picture an hour, Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom Series, family, Gil, Lena, motherhood, thoughts

my last day as a mother of one {Part 1 of 2}


Two weeks ago today was my last day as a mother of just one child.  I didn’t know this then, of course, but I did know that it could be just a matter of hours before Lena would no longer be my only baby.  I decided to photograph our day so that I would have a record of everyday life with just me and Lena.

Even though these pictures are from just two weeks ago, I can’t believe how much Lena has changed, much less our whole lives!  One example: when she plays with her alphabet puzzle now, she knows about 75% of the letters by name and doesn’t need any help to put the pieces in place correctly.  Children grow up so, so quickly.

So, if you will, take a walk with me down memory lane!


That morning, while Elliott showered and shaved, I got the day started in the kitchen.  I served Lena a bowl of Raisin Bran (her favorite because she knows nothing else) and a cup of milk.  I started coffee brewing for Elliott and me.  And then I packed a lunch  for Elliott.  That day his lunch included leftover sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, carrots and dip, a pear, soft gingersnap cookies, olives from the market, and Triscuits.


These cold days, instead of serving cereal, I’ve been making oatmeal for Elliott and myself.  Lena is usually finished with her Raisin Bran by then and asks for a small bowl of oatmeal to eat with us.

Making Room BLOG

While Lena is eating, I like to do her hair.  It’s the only time she’ll sit still for me because she’s strapped into her high chair!

After this Elliott left for work and Lena and I ventured out into the cold for a short walk.

Making Room BLOG1 She’s pointing to Mt Etna for me, which is unfortunately invisible in this photo.  We then wandered through the old streets of our neighborhood and Lena tried out our key in different doors.  She was unsuccessful in opening any of them, to her chagrin.  I, meanwhile, was relieved that there was no one at home behind any of the doors she tried!


We headed back home to “pay!” (play) for a little while before her morning nap.  She loooooves this wooden alphabet puzzle; I think we have completed it at least three times a day together for a month.  It’s such a fun, easy way to learn the alphabet, though!

Below is a video I took of her working on the puzzle with me.  It’s not great quality and my voice annoys me (I’m learning — slowly — to cut down on the baby talk), but it does capture so well how we spend our days together.  Here it is:


After this it was time for her nap.  I read a few books to her before laying her in her crib, singing her a song, and murmuring, “Sleep well!  I love you, Lena!” as I shut the door.


While she slept I worked on this blog post.


She’s awake!  Time for a trip to the bathroom.  She was in the middle of potty training at this point, able to tell us when she needed to go but not to be trusted without a diaper on.


We taught her to empty the pot and clean it after she’s done.  Finally we found a use for that bidet!

Even just two weeks later, the routine is totally different.  She is sitting on the adult toilet now on a kid-sized seat and hasn’t had an accident in awhile.  She also doesn’t need a pacifier to get her through the drama of it anymore.  Growing up so quickly.


We moved outside to the balcony so that I could fold the laundry that had dried overnight.

Making Room BLOG2

Lena — wearing a pair of “big girl underwear” and no pants to help her remember that she doesn’t have a diaper on — played with my muddy boots from a hike we took last weekend.   She then asked to be lifted up to make the wind chime sing.  I held her up (cautiously, for we live on the edge of a cliff!) after taking this photo.


These are the last cloth diapers of Lena’s that I will wash for awhile, I think!  We’ve moved entirely to training pants and underwear.  The end of an era.


After that we moved inside to make and eat lunch together.  I’ll pick up at this point tomorrow to finish chronicling the day.

If you stuck with me this far, thank you!  If you don’t have kids, what surprised you the most about a day at home with a one-year-old?  If you do have kids, what looked the most familiar to your routine, no matter where you live in the world?

20 :: in a picture an hour, Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom Series, family, Lena, motherhood, video

life lately

Today is the last day to enter my Italian food giveaway!  The competition closes at midnight EST.  All the details are in this post!



Oh the joys of having a newborn… and being the parents of two!   There has been a lot of laughter and so much rejoicing these past 10 days, but there have also been some semi-sleepless nights and a realization that life will never quite be the same.  Although I would never go back, I also am very tired and am not quite sure how I am going to survive once Elliott goes back to work on Friday!  A blog reader shared this piece of wisdom with me today: “if the bums are clean and the bellies are full, it’s been a great day!”  I’m going with that for now.

Here are a few other shots of life around our home these days:


We have been so blessed by some delicious meals from our friends after Gil was born.  We told people that we like vegetarian and seafood dishes, and I’ve been amazed by our friends’ creativity and cookin’ skillz as they have put meal after meal on our table.  Last week my friend Anna brought us a meal on our anniversary, and so she chose to bring one of our favorite meals of all time — chicken curry — and also brought a fancy tablecloth and long red candles.  How sweet is that?!


I got this amazing package in the mail yesterday from a 16-year-old blog reader.  She goes to my parents’ church and got my address so that she could send little baby boy Gil a hat she made for him!  I was blown away.  I love the colors and the style, don’t you?  It’s going to get a lot of use over the years.  Thank you so much, Kara!


I slipped out of the house for a few minutes today to do my weekly market shopping.  The man at my favorite fruit and veggie truck broke into a huge smile when he saw me coming (sans gigantic belly) and gave me his enthusiastic best wishes for our new son.  I loaded up on these blood oranges, which were just 40 cents a kilo!


To cloth diaper or not to cloth diaper… always the question.  My friend Emily loaned me her newborn cloth diapers and covers so that we have all we need to get started whenever we’re ready.  We cloth diapered Lena from 9 months until a few weeks ago (she has abruptly decided to potty train herself) and are enjoying a break from all the diaper laundry.  I must say that these diapers are so stinkin’ cute compared to Pampers…

If you cloth diapered your baby, when did you start?  Right away?  After an adjustment period to a new baby?  Any tips as I get started cloth diapering a newborn for the first time?


If you’d like to see more pictures of life around here, you can find me on Instagram now.  My username is beccagarber.  See ya on the filtered side!

15 :: in Baby Numero Due, family, friends, Gil, giveaway, life lately

the many faces of Gil Garber


becca-garber-baby-face2 becca-garber-baby-face3 becca-garber-baby-face4

Gil fell asleep on Elliott’s chest the other night as we were Skyping with Elliott’s parents.  (They could hardly look at us the entire time because they were too enthralled with their grandson!)  After we said goodbye, we were admiring Gil ourselves when all at once he started making some hilarious faces in his sleep.  I grabbed my camera and tried to capture a few of his many expressions.

What was he dreaming about?  Rivers of milk?  Your guess is as good as mine!


Don’t forget to enter the Italian food giveaway!

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16 :: in Baby Numero Due, family, Gil, giveaway, wedding

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