Thursday, November 29, 2012


I was planning on writing about Charlie's birth today. Sort of in the spirit of the 'circle of life' as I think about the anniversary of my dad's death and the arrival of Charlie Archie, his little blonde, blue-eyed youngest grandson. But frankly I wasn't expecting to feel quite so sad and low. Anniversaries don't usually have a big affect on me, mostly because I am hopelessly renowned for my ineptitude when it comes to remembering dates - including birthdays, special occasions, and even sad memories. And so I wasn't prepared; not at all.

I'd said to Rich that I thought it might be a difficult week; that black Friday would be quite hideous (it sort of was) and that I'd appreciate us making it special, at least to mark it in some way. I had wanted to get the Christmas tree today but Rich was going to be working late so I knew that would be difficult, and then we thought we might head out for dinner but the idea of taking two tired children for a late dinner was not that appealing, so we didn't do anything, didn't mark it in any way whatsoever and even though it's still the anniversary I'm already feeling very regretful and sad that we didn't do anything.

Mostly I spent the day with just Charlie, sitting and snuggling and then driving aimlessly around until I decided to stop at Whole Foods. Dad was really fun to food shop with. He hardly liked any foods save for white bread and cheap pot pies and cream cakes. He didn't approve of Whole Foods - the awful cost - and yet he was so funny as we wandered down any shop's aisles, in the often hopeless pursuit to find him something he would tolerate.

Dad was wonderful company. I loved spending time with him. He was self-deprecating, empathetic and supremely kind. I know these descriptions are habitually overused, but the truth is he really was sincerely kind and if I ever needed a kind word or for someone to say, 'poor Billy' (Billy was his name for me), he would be the person I would go to. He was generous with his sentiments and words and so very gentle. He loved hearing about Rafi. He was the only person who I could call and would know that he was truly interested in hearing about the mundane, everyday things that make up a person's life. When I was in college I would speak to him at least daily, and even when we moved to the States he would call at least a few times a week.

He was a good man. He was a wonderful grandpa to Rafi and he made such an impact that Rafi still talks about him and points to him in pictures and chats about him as though he were still a regular part of his life. I feel sad for me and the boys that he's not here anymore, that Charlie will never know him, will never be held and comforted and loved by such an incredible person. I think of all that they'll miss out on and the huge hole that they won't even be able to comprehend. I think of the tenderness and sweetness that'll be absent from their lives - and mine, too.

I suppose the craziness of last year, being in Spain, bringing my mum back to the States and then moving a couple of weeks later, and then all the physical complications with Charlie's pregnancy, made the loss recede into the background as life carried on. But as the holidays loom, and as mum is set to visit us again in a couple of weeks, his death has been brought into sharp relief.

I can see that Rafi has inherited some of my dad's tenderness. Last night he was having a singalong as he went to bed. he stopped and sang a bit so I could record it but he was distracted by some trains on the computer and so he forgot half the words. Still, a very sweet clip, and it's cheered me up no end today. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life with two boys...

.. is sort of crazy, but it's wonderful and fun and very, very busy. Charlie is a very content, happy, little baby, which makes things a lot easier than it might be. He also sleeps quite well (especially for a newborn). Usually Rich takes Raf for his bath and then bed around 7pm, and then I take Charlie upstairs between 8 and 9pm. He sleeps well until 12 or 1am and then feeds and then goes back to sleep until 3 or 4am (this morning it was 5am). He's usually a little more awake at that point so I usually feed him, express some milk for my stash, give him to Rich and then try to fit in some exercise before everyone wakes up properly around 6am. 

This has been going quite well as I also then get to cuddle with Rafi while Rich takes care of Charlie, though lately he's taken to stealing the milk I express and drinking it himself!! 

On Mondays I have both boys at home. This week we had a fun packed Monday planned. First we went to Saco community center for their open gym hours and we met up with Stacey and the kiddos (including baby Enzo). We got there a little bit earlier than Stacey's crew and Raf took a little while to get comfortable so we played with some trains (of course) and some building blocks, but soon he was feeling comfortable enough to bounce on the bouncy castle. 

Straight after that we went to Rowan's house for a play date! Raf adores Rowan so much and had been really excited about it all day Sunday. They play really well together, and Rowan is a little older and is much better at sharing so he's very kind to Raf, who lately is having some challenges when it comes to sharing (I think it's Charlie related).Anne, Rowan's mum, is really wonderful and so we had a nice visit, but then Anne offered to watch Raf while I ran some chores with Charlie. I was dreading taking both kiddos food shopping so I took anne up on the kind offer and nipped to the shops while Raf happily played.

Both boys are pretty passionate about trains...

When it was time to go both boys were pretty sad. Rowan and Rafi walked hand in hand to the door and then had a lovely hug goodbye. Thinking Raf would be exhausted (he was) and would nap in the car I was looking forward to having an hour of peace while listening to my audible book... alas, Raf was overly excited and spent the entire time I was driving around asking when he and Rowan could go to the beach/park/water slide park/etc, etc...

Some nice tummy time with both boys almost resulted in a nap - but of course it didn't quite work out like that.

I was ready for bed at 7pm and was relieved that Charlie was ready to head to bed, too - though we made it until 8:30pm.

This morning it was just me and Charlie. I was doing some ironing and making silly faces at Charlie as he sat in the chair next to me, and he treated me with some lovely smiles and lots of cooing. These have to be the most unflattering pictures of Charlie but they are also some of the most delightful. I swear he doesn't have as many chins as it seems on these pics (and he's really not as bald!!).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Charlie Boy

Tummy time on the changing mat.

Dressed in some dungarees getting ready to go on a play date with Rafi, Colby, and Sawyer. How is he getting so big so quickly? 

Bath time. He seems to really like having a bath. We pop him in with me at the end of my bath and it's lovely having some nice skin-to-skin time with him. He's so snuggly and sweet.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

This time last year we were rushing off to Spain to see my dad who had had a stroke on Thanksgiving day. It was such a sad time after a terrible few preceding months, but here we are, a year later, with beautiful Charlie. It's desperately sad that Charlie won't ever meet his papa, but I know that Charlie will know him in other ways. Rafi still regularly talks about his papa so Charlie will also know my dad through him.

We were glad to be invited by our friends Stacey and Noah to join them for Thanksgiving. This also meant that Rafi would get to spend time with Nico and Rosa, and Charlie would see his new playmate Enzo who is just 10 days younger than him! We had a really lovely time. In the morning we took all the boys to the beach for a walk and were lucky to have blue skies and relatively warm temps.

Raf didn't want to sit with us as he much preferred to sit with his old friends... but he loved the tofurky (even though I had to ask for tomato sauce for him!), and he had a super time playing with his old friends as well as two other little boys who were there.

Getting stuck into pudding!

Playing dress-up.. as a conductor. His head is so big that it was difficult for him to get the hat to stay on! 

"Performing" with the other kids... lots of dancing and singing... 

And as all this was going on, Charlie gave us a smile! Well, he gave Rich a smile (and another one this evening). I think this is the first proper, intentional smile. He looked so sweet!

Today we decided to get out of the house as a bit of a distraction. I have a major clothes deficit (I hate shopping so really have very few clothes) and so we decided to take a quick trip to the shops (what were we thinking?), but first we headed to the bookstore and Raf enjoyed looking at the trains and then enjoyed a bagel while pulling funny faces. 

We basically got to one shop before we'd all had enough, but I did get some jeans... ones that actually fit!!  Charlie joined me in the changing room, though I had to take him out of his moby so I could try things on. He seemed totally nonplussed. 

Recovering at home. He's looking so much older. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sweet Boys

So thankful for my lovely Boy Wonder. He is such a sweet little boy, so open and friendly in a way that makes me feel slightly terrified that his heart will be broken much too easily; he's so funny and loving and we feel eternally grateful for him. 

Here he is making friends with some twins we met hiking last week...

And then enjoying a picnic (with his 'hat' hair).

And kissing his brother.

And browsing for presents to tell Santa what he'd like for Christmas.

And once again kissing his brother.

And of course so unbelievably full of thankfulness that we have Baby Toast, Poppet 2, the lovely chunky Charlie. He's such a laid-back little fellow and a lovely little brother to Rafi.

Blessed that he seems to be healthy, and indeed he weighed in at a whopping 11 pounds at his one month appointment (almost 5 weeks) with a head in the 95th percentile. Good boy, Charlie.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy One Month, Baby Charlie.

Charlie turned one month old yesterday! The time is absolutely flying and I'm panicking about returning to work. I wish the US had saner maternity leave policies. I'm just thankful that at least we have the holidays coming up so I'll make it to almost 12 weeks before I actually have to return to work. Even so, leaving a 3 month old seems crazy to me. My mum is coming over at Christmas and is going to stay a while and help with Charlie, and then we have a few other ideas, but mostly I am feeling sick about leaving him. Boo to not being independently wealthy :)

Charlie, though, is a little dream.  Last night he slept for 6 hours! Alas the dogs woke the rest of us up and I was up with Raf, eating toast, at midnight, so there wasn't much of an opportunity to take advantage of it. Nonetheless, as long as I go to bed really early I can get a good 3-4 hour stretch, and then he usually goes for another 3 hours before he's a little more difficult to get back down. 

He's also growing incredibly fast. We have his one month check up on Tuesday and seems to be doing well. His breathing seems much better, which is a big relief. 

Yesterday we celebrated the one month mark with some cupcakes and pizza. What a sweet boy.

Raf has a horrible cold so we had to skip gym class yesterday. For once he wore his dressing gown and remembered that Nana has bought it for him. He likes putting trains in his pockets.

Later that morning Charlie attempted some tummy time. Frankly he almost always falls asleep on the job. This is a bit miraculous to us because Raf so rarely fell asleep unless he was nursing or in the car or stroller. Charlie can quite often nod off on his mat.

A little wake up... 

... before he's really out of it. 

later that morning, once Rich and Raf were back from the library, we went for a little hike on the trail near our house. Raf scared us half to death by playing perilously close to the water as he dropped sticks off the bridge. But a very fun game... 

Raf being his usual, quiet self!

I can hardly believe that we're in November and that it's almost Thanksgiving. Feeling very fortunate to have two such lovely boys. We had another great adventure today, which I'll post pics off once I download them.