Thursday, August 30, 2012

Seven Months

Tomorrow our peanut is seven months old...the past month has brought a few new changes in her world, as every month the first year guarantees to do.

She started truly babbling, even throwing a "mama" out there once when she wanted to get out of her crib. Is it a real word? Surely not since it only happened once, but it was still music to my ears :)

She has shown that she understands some language and knows who we are. She knows her name; when you ask her where mommy, daddy or Simon is she can find the right person by looking at them; and she'll wave her little hand when you ask her to say hi or bye bye. So cute.

She gets angry when you take something away from her. Like...very angry. It's pretty funny, but makes me worry a lil' about the crazy toddler years ahead! The good news is that - for now - you can just give her something else and she'll turn off the tears immediately. 

She love avocado. She doesn't love broccoli. She loves carrots. She doesn't love applesauce. We are working on feeding her a variety of foods but I will be the first to tell you that this part of parenting is challenging for me. I know it makes me sound like a big idiot, but I forget to feed her people food some days. I look forward to the day when she can feed herself little bits of food because I know I'll she'll get more that way. She seems to be surviving and thriving just how we're doing it, so I'm not going to stress too much about it!

She is getting closer to crawling on her hands and knees instead of her elbows and knees, but she definitely prefers the good old fashioned army crawl still. So far she hasn't ventured much past the living room thankfully. I have to watch her closely even in that one room (lamps and babies need to learn to coexist), but she seems content to stop at the first outlet she gets to and not worry about the next one down the line. Good times.

She is - dare I say it - getting on a nap schedule. We had to use some sleep training techniques to accomplish this, but it seems to be working ("sleep training" is a nice way of saying "cry it out" in case you couldn't figure that out). With Simon starting school, I really hope our streak continues! Thank you Grandma Berta for getting her to nap for 3 hours and telling me all you did was lay her down and let her cry for a few minutes. For some reason, it never occurred to me to let her put herself to sleep for naps....big duh.

She reminds me of why I hate bath time and makes me wonder with every cell in my being how anyone could love giving their kids a bath every day or even every other day. I could give Simon a bath every day now that he is older and more independent, but Cecie? Ugh. She actively and fervently tries to simultaneously drown herself and crack her head open the entire time. I literally work up a sweat trying to get her freaking hair washed. She is twisting all over the place and thrashes every time water is poured on her head. She doesn't cry or seem to mind, it just brings out the crazy in her. Maybe I need Grandma Berta to give her a bath and give me some brilliant nugget of advice on how to get through it with both of us happy and uninjured!

So this Cecilia as a 7 month old! Happy, growing and fun with a solid dose of wild :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

30 Days

Over the past year or so I have been trying to clean up. And while in some ways this does mean clean in the traditional sense (hello, weekly chore chart), mostly I mean cleaning up our food, the products we use day to day, the amount of garbage we produce, staying off the crack, etc.

I've made some good strides, but there's always room for improvement. There are two areas in my life that definitely need some TLC. Making formal announcements never really motivates me to stick with something, but maybe promising regular updates will?

Once upon a time, this was me:

Granted, the thumbs up was completely and utterly false as I felt like I had a thousand daggers in my thighs at this point, but there I was somewhere between 20 and 26.2 miles still able to fake a smile. On that day almost three years ago, the idea of running 10 miles was literally a treat because it was like noooothing. Nowadays, running 4 miles (with a pace much slower than on marathon day) feels like almost more than I can handle.

See my point yet? I need to clean up my act and prioritize exercising again. I'm not talking about getting back into marathon or even half marathon shape...I don't have the desire at all right now. I'm talking about getting 30-60 minutes of exercise in every single day. There's no excuse not to (despite my laundry list of excuses I can spout off like nobody's business), and I want to feel like I did three years ago...even to feel like a shadow of that person would be a success in my book.

So there is one of two. Exercise.

Two of two is something that will literally take zero minutes of my day to accomplish, but might actually be harder:

Mama likes her coffee.

Not only do I like coffee every day, but I like it packed full of flavored creamer. I calculated it out once and one or two cups of Theresa Coffee is basically equivalent to drinking a can of regular soda. Can we say empty calories? Plus I have chronic heartburn and I don't think anyone has ever said coffee is actually good for that.

This is a real addiction, though. Like, double-check-the-fridge-every-night-and-send-Bryan-out-to-buy-more-creamer-at-10pm-so-I-can-make-sure-to-have-a-perfect-cup-in-the-morning kind of addiction. Like already-thought-about-making-sure-to-remember-my-creamer-on-our-girls-weekend-that's-over-a-month-away kind of addiction. You get the idea.

So there you have it. Two things in my life that I want to clean up. I heard somewhere that it takes 30 days to make or break a habit, so I've got my sights set on September 27th. I'm hoping that by the time that day rolls around, getting up and hitting the gym instead of pounding my first cup of coffee will feel natural.

I'll keep you posted! I know nobody will really be holding their breath waiting for an update, but you're going to get them anyways :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

We went outside today to hang some laundry and I spotted a very strange, rather large bug hanging on tight to the line. It seemed harmless enough, so I called Simon over to take a look....

I've never seen this kind of bug before and told Simon as much.

"We'll have to go look it up on," he said.

I had to take a moment to laugh and absorb this. I tried to ask him where he heard that before and deduced that he made it up; he just assumed that you could figure out what a strange bug was by going to I'm sure this is perfectly normal logic for a child of his age, but I couldn't help but marvel at his understanding of the internet. I guess that's just life growing up these just know what the internet is all about.

To further prove that he knows a thing or two, he followed up his website suggestion with, "I think it's a Cicada." Sure enough, he was right. For the record, was not actually our source for confirming this :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2-2 2 8-22

Cecie is officially Cecilia Rose Hermus! 

The folks down in IL finally got their act together and a judge signed the papers. My lawyer did have to help them consolidate all of their files on us because they couldn't find another document they needed (dead serious), but their efforts paid off and they were able to get everything they needed all in one place so the judge could seal the deal.


Our quest to become a family of 4 started almost exactly 4 years ago. It's interesting to think about how that quest has just {POOF} come to a close. Of course much of those 4 years felt anything but fast, but looking back I feel like it went by in the blink of an eye. Suddenly our six month wait is over, Cecie is formally ours, all adoption business is done and we just get to move on with our lives.

Oh, happy day! :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Poor, Sad Elliot

Our dog loves other dogs. When we are on a walk she literally spins in circles several times every time she sees's quite a sight. Lucky for me I usually walk with friends and they are kind enough to let me push the stroller while they deal with Elliot's shenanigans (not really sure how we worked that one out). If she was loose in the yard she would always tear after other dogs like a bat out of hell. It has got to look scary seeing this dog coming at you with such intensity, but all she really wants to do is say hi and take a good sniff.

Well, one neighbor didn't take too well to Elliot trying to say hello to his pansy little wiener dog. After the second "approach" he yelled that he would call the cops on us if we didn't keep her leashed. Now I can't really blame him, but he was a pretty big a-hole about it. Being the goody-goody that I am in my heart, though, I knew Elliot's days of roaming free had come to an end. This is really safer for her anyways, but it has not been going well keeping her tied up. Look how sad she looks...

We have a 30 foot leash for her, but she hardly moves when it's attached. She won't poop or pee with it on unless we are holding it up and "walking" her around the yard with it. This has led to a lot of whining to go out in the middle of the night and even a nice big pile of poo in our house.

I suppose she will get used to this new arrangement, but it's been about a week and so far she is as spooked by it as she was the first day. Luckily for Elliot, Simon wants to be wherever she is and he insisted one fine morning that Elliot was thirsty (aka "I really want an excuse to use the hose") and he kept her company...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Danger! Volcanoes

This post shares a title with Simon's new favorite book. We randomly picked it out at the library last week and even though we've read it many times already he still marvels at the information in this book, oohing and aahing throughout.

So what do you do when your kid falls in love with volcanoes? You channel your inner science teacher and make one.

Since I'm not really an arts and crafts kind of mom I was a little nervous to suggest it because I knew once I did Simon was going to hold me to it. I checked to make sure we had all the ingredients and decided to dive in. Needless to say, Simon was EXCITED. He pulled up a chair to the counter, we measured everything, mixed everything and got our volcano built.

We asked the neighbor kids if they wanted to watch our volcano erupt and of course they did, so in front of a tiny crowd we put our volcano to the test...

Their happy little shrieks were soooooo worth it :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I've posted about this before and karma came back to bite me, but it's worth mentioning again. Simon has been pretty great lately. He's been generally agreeable, polite, even tempered and even eating well. He's quiet when Cecie's sleeping, cleans up his messes when asked and accepts no for an answer (this is a big one).

He's by no means perfect and still finds himself in time outs for various reasons (some days much more than others), but most of the time all I need to do is calmly say, "That wasn't a good choice, you need to go take a time out" and he'll walk right over the to the step. He usually cries about it, but knows that all he has to really do is calm down and apologize and it's all over so it doesn't typically last too long.

I can see why people say that having kids in grade school are the glory years. Kids that age are very independent, are generally well-behaved and still think Mom and Dad are amazing. I don't want to say I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, because the ride getting to this point has been wonderful and fun...not exactly a tunnel...but the tide has been slowly turning for a while now and it continues to just get less and less challenging as he gets older.

I wish there was a word other than "love" to express how you feel about your child, because saying I love him just doesn't say enough.

And to really prove he's growing up, he resisted the GIANT urge to pull the trigger and spray me with water. Phew :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's a FIB, you ask?

Some anonymous person posed this question the other day when I called the folks unable to finalize our adoption FIBs.

Well, friend, a FIB is a Fucking Illinois Bastard.

This endearing term is usually reserved for people driving like idiots in Wisconsin with Illinois plates, but I've extended its reach to include those who work in the court system in Illinois. They were last week, and continue to be, big fatty FIBs whose incompetence knows no bounds.

There are three documents that are needed for a judge to sign the papers making our adoption final, once and for all:

On the 2nd they couldn't find the original of one of them because they didn't look deep enough into the was there but a few sheets below where it should be.

On the 9th they couldn't find the original of another form because it was misplaced.

On the 15th they couldn't find the original of yet another document because it was - you guessed it - misplaced.

We come to find out that the form that was missing on the 9th was found on the desk of a judge not even working on our case and had no business with it in the first place. Then, their search efforts today uncovered THREE (yes, three) separate files on our family explaining some of the errors that have taken place. Unfortunately, none of the three files included this final original document that was needed...only a copy. The fact that they had a copy proves that they did, in fact, have the original at one time but it fell off into some abyss between last week and this week.

I think they've earned their FIB status, don't you?


If you are from Illinois and don't drive like a jag and aren't party to this adoption debacle, I don't inherently think of you as a FIB, just someone from IL. After all, one of the three people I love most in the world is from there :)

A New Catch Phrase

Simon says a couple of things on a very regular basis. If you spend any amount of time with him, it's very likely that you've heard him say one of these phrases:

Right. {Sometimes he switches it to "alright" to add a little spice.}
"This bat is big, right Mumma?"
"This show is scary, right?"
"We're going to Grandma's today, right Mumma?"
"It's warm outside, riiiiiight?

Did you know that?
"Bats eat insects, did you know that?"
"Volcanic ash is in volcanoes, did you know that?"
"I like mac and cheese, did you know that?"

And his newest catch phrase is....
What's she after?

I'm in a constant state of moving Cecie away from non-toys and every time I'm about to move her Simon wants to know..."what's she after?"

I wish I could get him saying one of these things organically and without having to ask him to say them to the camera, but so far no luck. Easier to accomplish was getting Cecie doing her version of crawling on camera. So here she is after a computer cord...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Begging and Peas

This picture gives you a glimpse into what I see at my house every day...a dog begging for food from a boy.

Think he gave in and fed the dog his toast? Probably, but I can't say for sure...

We've been feeding Cecie a handful of different foods as of late and I decided to photograph our attempt with peas. I'm glad I didn't have the camera anywhere near bananas because she literally just used them to blow raspberries and didn't actually consume camera could have been in serious peril.

This is one of those pictures that makes me, once again, so happy we have our camera.

And the final picture below is just because I like her in zebra prints :) Also, her shirt says "Wild Child" which is quite fitting. She is ridiculously wiggly and already bored with toys...she wants vent covers, the tv antennae, my computer charger, the cord to the lamp, my sandals and anything that is on the lower shelf of the coffee table (putting her face in a very precarious position)...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Quick Adoption Update

Apparently the people who work in the courts of IL are big fatty FIBs. Our adoption was supposed to be finalized on the 2nd. It wasn't. Then it was supposed to be finalize on the 9th. It, too, wasn't.

Now we're looking at the 15th.

A document that was once in our file disappeared. It was replaced easily enough, but now we have to wait some more. The clerk said to our lawyer, "I know it was here, I saw it. I'm sure it'll turn up eventually."


Luckily our lawyer knows how important this is and got it all figured out rather than waiting for a lost piece of paper to grow legs and walk back to our file in a timely manner. She doesn't foresee anymore problems come Wednesday, but clearly there are raging effing idiots handling our file so I'm not going to hold my breath.

I will just take comfort in the fact that supposedly everything was done correctly and is all accounted for and nothing will take our child away from us...we're just waiting for government employees to get their head's out of their asses so this formality can take place and we can close this chapter once and for all!

(If you are a government employee, I'm sorry for the dig. I love you.)

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Haircut and a Headband

Fresh from a haircut!

I'll never get sick of looking at this kid's face, especially when I can see it all after a haircut! {The pink highlights are not in your imagination, FYI.}

Prooooobably not going to get sick of looking at this kid's face either :)

This picture kind of shows her crazy patch on the back right of her head...she pulls at it so it's longer than the rest I think. It's funny how different spots on her head are producing different lengths and textures of hair.

Beautiful girl.

This, That and the Other Thing.


Cecilia isn't officially adopted yet. Big boo. It was supposed to happen on August 2nd, but the lawyer called me in the evening to inform me that the judge is a big chump and didn't dig deep enough into our file to find what he was looking for so he wouldn't sign off on it. Apparently everything that is needed is there, but this one form was delivered later so it wasn't in the right place and here we are. Hopefully all will be rectified this Thursday!


My mom painted his whole face like a superhero and this was what it looked like after he played in the sprinkler. Zombies anyone?

I feel like our summer really starts today. Simon has had summer school from 8:30-11:30 four times a week since mid-June and now it's over. I was nervous to do it at first because I didn't want to be a slave to school and be so busy all summer, but I'm really glad we did it. It gave us some structure in our day and he loved it, so it was a win all around. He's to the point where he wants a playmate as often as possible and school gave that to him. He's still pretty good at playing independently, but there's nothing like playing with a friend...which leads me to....

The Other Thing:

We are getting new neighbors! The house next door has been vacant for over 8 years. It's a huge, cool Spanish style home that was presumably built when ours was, sometime 75+ years ago. The previous owners have done a ton of work to it so it could have a better chance at selling and last week it finally did... a family with a 3 year old girl and a 5 year old boy! We have no kids that young anywhere near us so that was really exciting to find out.

The Other Thing (Part 2):

Is it breaking the law to take a picture of a picture? Please don't turn me in if it is :)

We got Cecie's six month pictures done at the Picture People at Mayfair on Saturday. She proved to me that she can sit up like a champ, never coming close to toppling the whole time she had to sit for the photographer which was fun to see (usually at home she will sit for a bit then lean over to try to get her hands on something that is out of reach...clearly this is on purpose like I suspected).

Anyway, the real joy of this experience was when a 30-something black man passed us while we were waiting for our pictures and stopped to say hi to Cecie and try to make her smile. Then, with a genuine grin on his face, he looked at her and said "You gonna have a wonderful life," and walked away.

A moment I wish she could remember as well as I will :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I heard about someone taking pictures of their children's art projects instead of keeping all of them and I thought this was a fine idea. I have kept my favorites for sure, but some of these projects, while cute, don't necessarily need to be collecting dust in my house for who knows how long. Thanks to, I made these cute collages with some of my favorites from preschool and 4K summer school. I hope to keep up something like this throughout his school years!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Six Months

Having babies around constantly makes you marvel at the passing of time. The first year especially, it seems like every single month you're thinking, "Oh my gosh, how is this baby X months old already?!" Maybe it feels so hard to believe because so much changes so quickly....

Six months ago this baby's most challenging life skill was literally to focus on something for a minute or two. A mere six months later she's busting a gut at peek-a-boo, eating from a spoon and dragging herself around the living room looking for anything she can get her hands on.

Here she's got her eyes on the prize....

....and success!

One change I'm pretty excited about now that she's a big fancy six month old is retiring that damn infant car seat carrier. There may be a few times here and there when I'm sure I'll wish I still had it, but her new car seat has a super cute cow print on it AND I'll get to look at this when I'm out shopping...

So anyway, half a year into her life, Cecilia...
  • Loves to give hugs. 
  • Immediately turns to look at me and watches me for awhile as if daring me to leave her line of sight when she's in someone else's arms. 
  • Pretty much sits up on her own, although this seems to be too boring to do for too long.
  • Has a napping schedule that disgraces the very essence of the word "schedule." I don't want to talk about it.
  • LOVES her big brother and will laugh at anything he does, even when he cries which fires him all up (outraged, "She's laughing at me because I'm crying!").
  • Has hair that I'm not totally sure what to do've seen it...there's a lot.
  • Has 2 teeth and drools constantly, presumably prepping for more.
  • Loves to eat anything I give her from a spoon and wants to be eating when we are (so I can't wait for the finger food's not easy to feed a baby and yourself at the same time).
  • Weighs 18 pounds and 8.5 ounces (91st%); is 28 inches long (99th%); and has a head that is 45 centimeters around (97th%)....all this makes her the size of an average 10 month old according to the doctor!
I can't properly express in words just how much I love this child. One more day and she is allllllllll ours! :)