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Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

Mama's Nest

Ahhh, Friday! Friday, September 29, 2006 |

Xavier and I spent a beautiful fall Friday enjoying the Lincoln Park Zoo with Stephanie, Noah, Carter and Gray. There is nothing better... fall, friends, family, free zoo, furry animals (sorry, I'll stop with the alliteration) ... we had an utterly PERFECT day!

• 9 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday - The Look Wednesday, September 27, 2006 |

For more Wordless Wednesday's visit 5 Minutes for Mom

• 20 Chirping

Apple Orchard Tuesday, September 26, 2006 |

Nothing says fall like a trip to the apple orchard. Xavier and I headed out early this morning with a couple of our neighbors and their little ones - Shondra and Beau, Laura and Grace - to explore. It was a blast! We went for a tractor ride around the orchard, visited animals in the petting zoo, had a wonderful lunch and crawled around in the pumpkin patch. And then we visited the store.... which is slightly dangerous! We made our way home with a peck of apples, cider, apple doughnuts and a couple of gigantic pumpkins. Needless to say, I'm in heaven - did I mention I kind of like fall?

• 5 Chirping

My 9 Month Old Monday, September 25, 2006 |

My darling son,
Where has the time gone? You're probably already tired of hearing me say, "It seems like only yesterday...", but I'll say it again - It seems like only yesterday I held you in my arms for the first time. On the other hand, I have a hard time imagining that you haven't always just been here with us. You've grown in leaps and bounds this past month - the "baby" is quickly vanishing right in front of my eyes.

You've added a few words to your repertoire - Dada, dog, duck, hi and something with a "g" that you excitedly yell to me several times a day. I'm still waiting for mama though. I tell myself you just don't need to say it because I'm always around.

You're eating "real" food now. Much to my delight you aren't very interested and much prefer mama's milk. You have your favorites - black beans and brown rice, tofu, blueberries, mango's and sweet potatoes -my little veggie boy! And about that milk drinking - you've become quite the acrobat. A few times a day you grant me low key snuggly nursing sessions, the other few I have become nothing more than a snack bar. You slurp and smile, look around the room, play with a toy and dive in for more. And if you happen to encounter me topless - say first thing in the morning, in the shower or bath - I must be on high alert - you will fold yourself in two, bend backwards, whatever it takes to perform the flying latch on. Where once again you slurp and smile claiming what, for now, is rightfully yours.

You're quite the magician too. While you still have no desire to crawl sometimes I will set you on the floor, turn around for a quick moment and look back to find you several feet from where I placed you... the magic scoot. And you are a getting really good at that walking stuff! Any chance you get to hoist yourself up, you will merrily stroll across the room holding on to my finger tips.

Oliver is still your favorite play thing, his kisses can make you giggle like nothing else - well, Daddy's silliness works pretty well too! You seem to love furry creatures in general - last weekend at the Harvest festival you got lost in a beautiful gray horse's eyes. You gently stroked her face and felt her breath on your hands as she chomped at your fingers. You've 4 teeth now yourself. Two in the front on bottom and two on top on either side of where your front teeth will be. Mummy's little Jack-o-lantern! And luckily for me, you love to brush them... as long as we sing..."this is the way we brush our teeth..."

Oh, and let's not forget the dancing. Boy, you have rhythm (you get this all from your father)! At the first note of music you are a dancing fool! Now, we'll save your taste in music for another post, but it so fun to watch my little dancing man. You're independence is really starting to amaze me as well. I've watched you begin to discover that you and I are two separate, distinct people. I think you're ok with this, for a few moments at least. You sometimes "ask" for some time alone and seem to enjoy it as long I don't go too far away and am there to scoop you up as soon as you're ready.

I could spend all day typing things you've learned to do, but milestones aside you are an amazing little person X. You are in love with the world - endlessly happy. And the world it seems is all yours. At the very least your Papa and I couldn't love you more. Happy 9 months my dear.


• 5 Chirping

On the Mend Saturday, September 23, 2006 |

I think we're finally on the upswing of this funky cold-flu hybrid we've been battling. We spent the first part of the week worried about Xavier's little underdeveloped lungs and the possibility of him developing pneumonia. Thankfully x-ray's showed he's just all kinds of congested. As hard as it has been to see my little guy sick, I am once again amazed by his spirit. I've felt awful, and little X has had it much worse than me, but has remained endlessly happy and playful despite choking coughs, fever and raw drippy nose. Even our doc said if he didn't know better he would have thought Xav was there for a well check!

To a degree I've kind of enjoyed this illness. I gave myself permission to rest and spent even more time than usual snuggling my baby love. We indulged in multiple baths a day (spiked with yummy California Baby Colds & Flu bubble bath) and plenty of naps. Spent sleepy time simply staring at one another, holding hands and touching one another's face. My wonderful hubby pitched in to help out with dinner and shoppping and chores so we could just be. I will not deny that after a week cooped up in the house I'm ready to break free and feel normal again, but I've enjoyed the slow and the still.

And, oh how I've missed you blogger! Thank you all for your well wishes and thoughts - I promise to catch up with everyone's blogs soon!

• 4 Chirping

Baby, sick, baby Tuesday, September 19, 2006 |

I've received a couple of messages wondering where we've been (thanks!) Xavier's come down with his first illness since being home and it looks like I've caught it too - coughing and wheezing, runny nose and sneezing, fever and chills, vomiting and well, you can imagine the rest! I'll post more once we're feeling better.

• 12 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday - Goodbye Summer Wednesday, September 13, 2006 |

• 18 Chirping

Mothering New Mama Thursday, September 07, 2006 |

I am a slave to white linens in the summer. They just feel fresh and clean and bright. But I'm feeling fall begin to settle in my veins... and am craving warm and cozy. I set out today to dig through my linen closet to find something other than my standard issue whites. All I could find were a set of cream flannels and a navy sheet my Grandmother gave me, neither what I was looking for. So, I put them back and reached up high for another white sheet to put on our family bed. I had just grasped it in my hand when another sheet fell down. It was this burnt, rusty orange color- the color of fallen leaves... perfect! I set Xavier on the middle of the bed and began to tuck my fall sheet around him when a memory came flooding back....

After Xavier was born they allowed me to stay as a "patient" on the labor and delivery floor for a couple of extra days. Those first few days were pretty critical and I couldn't be in the NICU with our sweet boy round the clock, so down the hall was a close second. But the day came when we had to check out of our institutional living quarters and while we only lived a couple of minutes away from the hospital it seemed impossible to spend the night anywhere else. But the hospital didn't have any overnight accommodations and strongly discourages round the clock stay, especially right after delivery. So around 11pm David and I reluctantly packed up and headed home. I was a mess. I had entered the hospital with my body full of baby, upon arrival had delivered him into this world where he was fighting to stay. And now I was stepping back into the world without him, for the first time. I can't find a word to describe how that felt. I climbed into the car and we headed to a house that no longer felt like home. As we pulled up to our little bungalow and stepped out into the cold December air I noticed a sparkling "it's a boy" banner across the window. The tears that had been resting in my eyes began to overflow. I stepped inside dismissing our cats purrs and nuzzles and headed straight for the bedroom. I just wanted to sleep and wake up and get right back to the hospital. The bedroom we left in a tousled hurry was immaculate. The bed freshly made with new sheets and blankets. Cozy burnt orange rust colored sheets that felt like fall. On top of my pillow were a pair of tiny light blue booties with dragonflies across the toes and a note from my sweet Xavier.

David's Mom and Grandma had been hard at work doing everything they could to make that impossible first night away bearable. Looking back it seems things so small. But that first night - mother being separated from child... I needed mothering like never before. Thanks Mom!

• 10 Chirping

Google Ads Wednesday, September 06, 2006 |

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I'd generally be opposed to putting ads on my blog.... but... I have a little over a month to come up with $500 for Itsy Bitsy Yoga Facilitator training... so click away!
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• 4 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday |

A few words in response to your comments/questions: Xavier is actually 3 months old in this photo. As many of you know our early bird was born 12 weeks too soon. I took this photo on his expected due date to use for his birth announcements.

• 27 Chirping

Reasons I love being a Mom #3 - Laughter Friday, September 01, 2006 |

I read somewhere that adults laugh less than 20 times a day. Children- more than 300.

I don't think David and I knew the true meaning of a good laugh before X started to share in the fun. Not so long ago, as just a tiny little thing, Xav would laugh so often in his sleep. He'd be sleeping peacefully, then a smile would grace his lips and his little body would bounce with a silent chuckle. Oh, what I would give to know what was so funny!

I don't remember the transition much. At some point he began to laugh out loud on occasion, usually when his Daddy or I did something way over the top. And now everything is funny. Silly faces, his own bodily functions, Daddy, me, the dog, strangers, toys, books, music, the vacuum... ok, I'll stop but he seriously laughs at everything! And his voice is airy and deep so he truly chuckles... his chubby little belly bounces up and down. It is impossible not crack up along side him. My favorite is when I start to laugh- the fake laugh, he fakes it too at first and before you know it we're both laughing our heads off for real.

But tonight takes the cake. I was playing with Xavier in our upstairs hallway on the way to get ready for bed. I'm laying on the floor and he was stepping towards me and grabs my head... I enjoyed it for a few minutes but when the snuggles turned to hair pulling I say, "Xavier, that hurts can you please let go of Mommy's hair?" I then removed his little fingers from my mop and popped my head up with a big "Thank you!"... He lost it! I have never heard him laugh so hard! I buried my head in his belly and repeated this scene again and again to his delight (mine too! as you can see from the photo I'm a mess!). Thankfully David came running and captured it all on film.

I think most days our belly laughs alone are 300 and counting. I plan to keep it that way.

• 18 Chirping