Archive for the ‘Family Life’ Category

May 9, 2018

Bye Bye Productivity

The lack of sleep is starting to get to me. Most nights I am getting broken sleep, maybe two rounds of two to three hours. As a result I feel myself being more sluggish as a slog through my todo list. I need to retool my approach, especially now since Dana is awake more during the day. I have fewer product hours on my phone while rocking her, fewer productive hours during the day when she’s napping, and I try and reserve those night time hours for what passes as sleep in this house.

I have a bit of a packing problem when it comes to tasks. In the evening I can devote as much time as needed to each task, but during the day I may only have five or ten minutes free. In order to more easily find tasks that fit the time available I created a label for five, fifteen, and thirty minute tasks with a catchall “unknown” when it’s hard to estimate. I’m still trying to keep tasks short, but some just don’t fit the short mold. Now I have a “Quick and easy” filter for short tasks with either an approaching due date or no due date so I can knock out more. I can also find tasks that fit the pockets of free time I have.

As an aside, I now know I have approximately 28.6 hours worth of non reoccuring tasks on my plate. No wonder I feel so perpetually behind.

I know keeping these approachable is key to keeping up with the task list. That’s why I focus so much on short, micro tasks. The tasks list itself needs to be approachable too. I found if a project had 30 or more tasks, my eyes start to glaze over as I scan through the list, and some tasks fall off my radar. I now have a “Business” project, with a “Datayze” sub-project and a sub-sub-project for new features, as well as a sub-sub-project for bugs.

To help I made a filter for outstanding tasks, tasks that have been on my list for forever, and critical tasks. Mess may stress me out, but cleaning is not a critical task. I can skip a round of dusting, or three. Clean bathrooms will not help my business grow, nor my kids grow.

I suppose if I continue reduce my task list by choosing to do less. My blog has been really hurting lately. I used to write posts while rocking Dana, but now rocking time has become brain storming time. Many posts sit half edited on my phone. I suppose of all the things I’m doing these days, journaling is the least important. I don’t have to go back and finish them. But I enjoy going back over old entries and reliving old memories (even the bad ones). It’s kind of like how I feel about Facebook. For now I’m going to try and keep up with it, even if that means back posting.

I know I can’t keep up this fevered pace forever. Nor would I want to. Things should start to get easier once we have more sleep in this house.

April 9, 2018

Dana at Three Months

Dear Dana,

And just like that we’re at month three. All months seem to fly by, but this past one was turbo speed.

This month we’ve been introducing the bottle. At first you were completely uninterested. We tried to get you to play with it, touching the nipple to your lips so you could smell the milk. A drop would dribble out to give you a taste. Instead of being intrigued, however, you’d suddenly realize you were hungry, and insist on me, even when I was hiding in another part of the house. After a few weeks you are just starting to get interested in the bottle. Last week you suckled with it for the first time ever, and drank an once for Grandma. I have full confidence now that you know how to drink from the bottle, since you did take some, it’s just a matter of preference. I can’t say that I’m terribly dissapointed you prefer me.

You’re still pretty firmly preferring your fist to binky, but we’re working on it too. I have less confidence that we’ll be able to change you’re mind on that one. I have only gotten you to keep it in your mouth a handful of times over the past month. Your fist, on the other hand, seems to live in your mouth. You will sometimes get just a finger in your mouth, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before you discover your thumb.

In terms of development, you are grabbing with two hands now. We have to watch you like a hawk as you, little miss, have two very eager sisters who want to share their toys. We have to constantly tell them that you are too little for their toys. The other day I found a mini my little pony figurine in your bouncy seat. Given you are too little to fetch it yourself, and mommy and daddy certainly didn’t give it to you, I’m going to have to credit your over generous sisters with that one.

Speaking of big sisters, you adore yours! You, Grandma and Alexis had quiet the long chat over lunch recently. Alexis kept asking us to translate your baby speak and you loved the attention. Nicole gets the biggest smiles from you (I’m going to have to recruit her as my photographer’s assistant). One of your favorite times of day is in the playroom just before bed. You love sitting in your chair, cooing and watching your sisters as they play. The time is second only to bath time in your eyes.

After a week long visit from Grandma and Grandpa, and with both big sisters home for spring vacation, we’re a little off schedule. You were having a decent nap in the crib almost everyday, but lately you struggle to stay asleep more than a sleep cycle. Our intention was to move you out of the rock n play and out of our room this month, but the timing doesn’t seem right. Besides, I am not ready for my itsiest bitest to grow up so quickly.

Love Always,
Mommy & Daddy

April 6, 2018

No Longer Like Squatters

In December Domingo and I finally figured out what to do with the big empty space by the entrance way. It’s intended to be a living room, but we already have the oversized family room with more than enough space to entertain friends and family. What we needed was a work space for the kids, a place to do homework and art projects. We moved their table from the upstairs playroom downstairs, and purchased a book bag shelf with cubby to house their book bags and all their supplies. All that was missing was a seat for adults to sit and watch the kids or read to them. I ordered a love seat online to complete the space.

I was amazed at the quality of the love seat. It was only slightly more than the very uncomfortable Ikea couch I had been sleeping on post giving birth, but with an incredibly soft fabric and a supportive cushion you could just sink into. I couldn’t help but think about replacing that canvas colored ikea couch, as well as the medium reddish brown rocking chair with the upholstery coming up besides it.

I felt kind of ridiculous replacing perfectly functional furniture (not exactly frugal!) but I’m so glad I did. The ikea couch and old rocking chair clashed. Neither was particularly comfortable, the rocking chair hadn’t aged well and the couch never was. It just seemed to disconnected. So hodgepodge. Neither felt particularly like they belonged. Not only does the new stuff match, but it’s much larger and fits the room better. Every time I walk down the stairs, turn the corner and catch a glimpse of the new furniture I feel content. Everything fits together. It’s as though we planned it. That added sitting space from the longer couch will be useful as our kids grow!

Between the new furniture, the filling of the last empty space and the new wall decorations and it’s finally starting to feel like a family lives here, and not like we squat here. After almost 3 years, it’s probably time to finish putting together the house.

March 27, 2018

Eight Anniversary

I cannot put into words how wonderful Domingo is, and how lucky I feel to have him in my life. Every year I think this is as good as it gets, and I cannot possibly love him any more. Yet here we are, each year more in love than the year before.

One of this year’s sweetest moments was from January. While waiting for the induction to start at the hospital, Domingo told me he brought something for me. Since I had been on the gestational diabetics diet, I wasn’t allowed any of the sweet treats I love. During that time I had had a particularly strong desire for chocolate donuts. Domingo had packed a small package of mini chocolate donuts in his hospital go bag. That way, the moment I was given the ok to eat, I could satisfy my sweet tooth. It was an especially sweet moment because he insisted I eat them all, even though the hospital cafeteria closed at 3pm and he was left with only vending machine as his only option.

It should be no surprise that the sweetest guy in the world is father to the sweetest girls in the world. Alexis is better at remembering to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ than I am! Her favorite saying these days is “you’re the best!” and will thank you for the smallest things. Nicole is amazingly empathetic, and will often take the lesser toy or snack because she doesn’t want to see her sister be sad. A few weeks ago little sister was scolded for purposely annoying Nicole. Nicole told me I was too harsh and gave Alexis a hug, telling her she only wanted her to be happy.

I still can’t believe I got exactly the family I was hoping for. My business continues to grow, in no small part due to the support of my family encouraging me along the way. The wildlife around our house is a photographers dream. A few days ago I saw, and photographed, my first coyote.

What more could a person ask for?

March 12, 2018

Dana At Two Months

Dear Dana,

Nothing tugs at a mamas heart strings more than her last baby growing out of newborn size clothes, or newborn diapers, or needing the newborn insert removed from the car seat. You passed all three milestones at once, right around six weeks. You’re now up to 10lbs, and the 30th percentile for weight. There’s no denying that my itty bitty is growing. I’m trying to soak in as much of your newness as you as I can; your velvety soft skin, the sweet new baby smell, the silky soft hair atop your head and the peach fuzz in back. As happy as I am to see you growing, a piece of me wishes you’d stay this way forever.

New things you are doing this past month include smiling, holding, and coo-cooing. You started smiling just after you turned one month. You’re still really good at what Daddy and I call “concern face”, a furrowed brow and skeptical stair, but now you’ll just back and forth between the biggest smiles and concern. In terms of holding your very good at clenching your fist around my hair when I hold you, and once held onto the hem of my shirt when you wanted to nurse. You’re even good at hooking the toys of your gym with your toes. I thought it was just coincidence, but you’ve done it multiple days and I have the photographic evidence! You’re not grabbing yet, but should something venture near you, it’s yours.

We’ve been working on napping in the crib, and I’m happy to report it’s getting easier. You’ve had two long siestas (2 and 3 hours) and a whole bunch of half hour catnaps. At night you’ve blessed us with some 10-11 hour stretches, although 7-8 is more typical, and there are some days you wake up after just 5 for a feed. We’re still not on much of a consistent schedule, but we’re getting there. I can time the morning nap fairly reliably at this point. Once the afternoon hits I’m fallowing your lead when it comes to nap time.

You have discovered your fist and have given up interest in your binky. I even tried different types of binkis. No dice. Your fist is far superior. This month we’ll be introducing you to the bottle. Your two big sisters are eager to lend a helping hand!

Love Always,
Mommy and Daddy

March 10, 2018

Adding Dana to the Wall

One sign that it’s time to update the photos on the wall? When the kids can no longer recognize themselves in the. An disagreement started the other day about who was who. Both Alexis and Nicole where convinced the photo of a 18 month old Nicole was them. And that three month old photo of Alexis? Alexis was sure it was baby Dana and nothing could convince her otherwise.

I had wanted to get photos of Dana up on my wall for a while. All I needed was the motivation. Cue said motivation.

The top photo of Domingo and I is from our honeymoon, I suspect it will stay there forever. The photo of the three girls together will likely as well. Those are such special moments. I’m considering keeping the Nicole as an astronaut as the quintessential Nicole photo. I’ve been meaning to replace the photo on the left of Domingo and I with a family photo, but it’s still proving challenging. Alexis and Dana photos will likely be replaced some day with their quintessential versions at some point.

Alexis is so adorable. She noticed the new photos right away and actually thanked me for putting them up! She is amazingly consistent about always using her ‘please’, ‘thank you’s and ‘your welcome’s.

This weekend I also put up the butterfly footprints on our wall.

I had a bit of a dilemma with these. I had previously done Nicole & Alexis’ prints back when we moved into the house. At the time Dana was a daydream. I loved the frames I was using, and knew they may no longer be manufactured should I want to add another set of prints a few years down the line. So I purchased an extra frame in case the daydream came to be. I actually purchased 4 extra frames to cover all possible scenarios. A 4×6 frame in case I had the prints of a newborn child to add. Two more 8x10s in case I wanted to take all three kids’ prints from the same time period, but also wanted to keep the existing prints for my memory chest. And finally, a 10×14 as I couldn’t be sure how big a possible five year old’s feet would be and thought there was a chance I might need a bigger size. I over think everything.

I meant to also purchase a 5×7 increase the 4×6 wasn’t big enough, but there was none in stock. Wouldn’t you know the one frame I needed for Dana was that 5×7, which never came back in stock?

I thought Dana might looked tact on if I used a different frame. But I also liked the existing frames, and couldn’t find a close enough match. The solution? More butterflies! We now have two sets, when we moved in to our forever home, and when our family became complete. It might be a little too much for some people, but I like it. I did consider taking Nicole’s newborn foot print and faking a third set so I have one from when each girl was a baby, but six butterflies is probably a little too much, even for me.

Next up, a collage three years in the making. I just need to find the strength to move some furniture first.

March 6, 2018

The Bunny Done Good

Dana and I have been mostly home bodies thus far. Aside from accompany Nicole to a birthday party just shy of five weeks old, our outings have been mostly doctor related. I have been itching to get out of the house, and today felt like a good enough day to do just that.

Today Dana accompanied me for some Easter shopping. We needed new baskets, and things to go in the baskets!

The past couple years I’ve been getting the girls flip flops and jelly shoes. (I strive to fill the kids’ baskets with mostly useful things for the changing season.) The girls get excited for the shoes, but wear the flip flops for a day, and the jellies slightly longer. They just don’t find them comfortable. Instead they use their crocs for water play and hanging out near the pool. This year the Easter Bunny decided one special pair of crocs was better than two pairs of unused shoes. They take up roughly the same amount of space in the Easter basket too.

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty lately about being a mess-phobe. Back when Nicole was a toddler her preschool teacher remarked about how wonderful it was that I didn’t mind her drawing on me with chalk. So I was hoping to find something art related to put in her Easter basket. Nicole got a set of bath time finger paints for her birthday that she loved, which seemed like the perfect balance between creative freedom and controlled mess. I was about to purchase a set of six off Amazon for $20 when I decided to check target first. I’m so glad I did! They were $1 a piece! I got the full set – twice the number of colors – for each Nicole and Alexis for 60% of what I would have paid.

In years past I’ve also included sunglasses and stuffed animals, but we’re inundated with that stuff. Instead I was looking for something that can be used outside and settled on punch balloons shaped like animals. We finished it off with a chocolate bunny (for my chocolate lover), and a marshmallow bunny (for my marshmallow lover). Of course it’s one of each for each child, even though the chocolate lover will like the concept of the marshmallow bunny lollipop in concept way more than in implementation. Don’t worry, the bunny can take up the cause of finishing it after she rejects it.

I think these baskets will be the biggest hit yet. The bunny done good, and felt great getting out of the house!

February 24, 2018

Too Much

This evening, as I was bending down to change Dana’s diaper and felt such a sharp pain I couldn’t help but let out a yelp and start to cry.

My pain level has been gradually increasing over the past couple of weeks. One day I’d be fine giving Dana a bath in the tub. Three days later I’d wince reaching over the edge of the tub to set her down. That yelp, which happened within earshot of my whole family, was my breaking point. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. As soon as the kids were in bed I called the advice line.

Everything is fine, but I am way, way over doing it.

When I called, I was told I shouldn’t be doing chores like vacuuming or laundry. I had just changed a load in the dryer a couple hours prior to changing that diaper. I had also spent the morning photographing my newest favorite subject, and all the moving, bend and contorting that entails to get the right angle for the shot. (Yes, I said I was done. Momtographer is never done. Besides, that was newborn photography, I’ve moved on to baby photography!)

Just when I was starting to get that nesting energy back I’m told that I need to start taking it easy again.

I’m trying to take it easy, I really am. I know the dust bunnies won’t cause any harm. But the task list that’s falling onto Domingo is totally unfair. He’s doing the cooking and the dish washing and the bed time routines and the homework and the pick up drop offs. He’s doing all my chores on top of his, and that isn’t exactly fair. He may not have given birth, but he’s had the kids’ cold now for what feels like months. Besides, I miss the dance parties with the girls. I don’t want to be taking care of myself and Dana at their expense. They need their mama too!

This week I’ll be setting my camera down. I had hoped to try again for a family photo (it gets so much harder with each additional person), but realistically next weekend will work just as well and Dana will still look just as ‘newborn’ as she does this weekend.

I told Nicole that the doctor wants mommy to have a special helper, and she’s super excited to fill the role. She likes to run upstairs and ask if I need anything. Alexis likes to ask to see my owie and give it a kiss. I have the best little helpers looking after me.

February 23, 2018

Renewed Focus

Someone once told me after having kids you become highly efficient with your time. You’re less inclined to waste it by checking Facebook at work. Instead, you’re all about getting your work done so you have you’re evenings free to be with the babes. I didn’t notice any changes in my efficiency after my first two, but boy do I now that I’m a mom of three!

I’m thriving right now on micro tasks and multi tasks.

Micro tasks are short easy tasks that involve very little mental effort. Putting the laundry away is a daunting chore, especially when there’s been so little sleep the past couple of nights. Getting the bathroom towels out of the laundry basket and rehanging them is not, especially if I’m on my way upstairs anyway. It’s much easier to find the energy to do little micro tasks than full on chores. There’s also something highly motivating about crossing off something on my todo list, no matter how small. The more micro tasks I complete, the more on top of things I feel, the more motivated I become. It’s a feedback cycle that works for me.

During the day I make a mental note of micro tasks I should do in the evening. Things like put the nail polish away, or the bed time stories we read the previous night back on the shelf. Once all the kids are asleep I spend a half hour to an hour getting things done. It feels great, and doesn’t eat up much time so I can still get a reasonable amount of sleep. Reasonable being relative of course.

My phone has gone from a fun time waster, to a useful multitasking tool. I’m shopping on the phone, something I rarely ever did before, typing up notes for blog posts or website edits, and editing photos with snapseed. Snapseed, by the way, is amazingly powerful. I have one photo where I manage to change the direction of the light source using nothing more than the exposure brush.

Where was this ability to get things done when I was supposed to be nesting and didn’t also have a newborn to care for?

February 12, 2018

Dana at One Month

Dear Dana,

You are the very definition of itty bity. When we brought you home you were under 6th pounds, and in the 7th percentile. You were swimming in your newborn sized going home outfit. Your legs were so skinny that your footed sleepers might as well have been a blanket. Whenever you pulled your legs up into the newborn balled position they’d come right out of the sleeper legs. Your newborn sized diapers kept falling off. We’d unwrap you from the blankets and find the diaper hanging off your butt or by your knees. You were 9 days overdue and in need of premie diapers and we still needed to fold them down so they wouldn’t disturb your umbilical cord stump! In fact, you wore premie diapers for almost two weeks!


It’s a super Dana! Tiny but mighty.

Sleep is going great, even without considering the derailment from the cold. Last night you went seven hours between feeds, and the night before you went seven and a half hours. I got to tell you, I feel like a new woman. We tried a nap in the crib for the first time yesterday and not a moment too soon. I noticed you put your legs up, just like Nicole did when transitioning to the crib from the rock n play, but at least you didn’t wake up. I’ve also put you down awake several times and watched you shut your eyes, drifting off to sleep on your own. It will be hard not to rock you through every naptime but I want to encourage these good sleeping habits of yours.


This looks familiar. You sure do like getting on your side.

You’re starting to get interested in the world around you. You’re not grabbing yet, but should something reach your palm you will bring it to your mouth. You’re tracking with your eyes, and sometimes move your head as well.
You also enjoy watching your big sisters. Speaking of whom, you’re big sisters adore you. They love to hold you, hug you, and show you toys. They bring your picture to their respective schools to show off “their” baby.


Birth Anoucement Photo

I can tell you’re going to keep Daddy and I on our toes. Nicole and Alexis had so many similarities, I expected you to take after them. In many ways you do, but in others you are clearing marching to the beat of your own drum. One surprising difference? You could take or leave the binkie.

Love Always,
Mommy and Daddy

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