How this pregnancy has been different

I forgot how hard this is.  How every last day of pregnancy lasts a year.  (I’m 39 weeks tomorrow.)  At this point, it just seems like a cruel joke.  There is no baby.  I’m just pregnant now and will be forever and this is my life now.

OK, enough wallowing.  I know we’ll get to meet our little guy AT SOME POINT.  Before we get into the newborn haze and I block all of this out, I’ve been reflecting on how this pregnancy has been different than the first two.  Both on what I’ve done differently and how I’ve felt.

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ICYMI: Where did 2015 go, ya’ll?

Have you started to feel like every day for the whole rest of the year is planned?  Seriously, where did it all go??  And how do I already feel behind on Christmas shopping???

Chase pigeons every day

Chase pigeons every day

On the Blog:

I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that we are having adventures faster than I can write about them.  I’ve been updating Travel Resources with more info to give you travel ideas, even if there aren’t links to full posts.  Looking for your next day trip or weekend getaway?  Check it out here.

One adventure I did cover was our jam-packed day trip to Turin.  If you have a chance, I’d spend more than a day here.

I also talked about my love/hate relationship with crowds and our trips to Nemi and Orte.

As well as gettin’ deep about last meals at Castel Sant’ Angelo.

And 3 tips to make your travel awesome.

Huh, I guess there are still some travel posts going up around here.  I feel like things have definitely gone off the rails lately.  #sorrynotsorry

Fall is here!  I still haven’t ordered my OTK boots, but I’m sure everyone here would like me to just do it or shut up about it.  What’s on your fall fashion wish list?

Heh, million dollar baby.  LITERALLY.  And then my other recent attempt at humor where I talk resumes and giving booze to horses.

The one where I get kind of preachy about judging other people.  I swear, I’ve put the soap box away.  For now at least.

My baby is 3!!  Still says hilarious things.  (And like my kid, I’m very food-oriented.   Treat yo self.)

On the Internets:

For my hipster peeps, have you tried switchel?  I really want to try this apple cider vinegar drink, but I’m having a hard time on the ginger juice.  I can’t find it in juice form, and I don’t have the capability to juice fresh ginger.

This video had me cry laughing.  If you want to kill your morning, delve into Break Womb’s other stuff.  Ah, it’s funny because it’s true.

How not to say the wrong thing

If you looking for some fall pieces of your own, Ann Taylor is 50% off through Sunday.

I’m very intrigued by this stroller.  Any urbanites tried this one?

That’s all I got.  Happy weekend everyone!

Why you might not want to ask me to look at your resume

9.17_Why you might NOT want to ask me to look at your resume

You may have noticed.  I’ve been having some trouble writing lately. I WANT to be writing.  Just any time except when I’m actually near a computer.

I blame two things.  First, of course, the adorable weirdos.  I’ve just been more wiped out lately.  Nap time rolls around, and I just need a break.  Eh, I’ll write something, I say.  Just let me read a few more chapters of Mindy Kaling’s new book first . . .

Also, I joke that I can take care of the kids and only do ONE other thing in my life at a time.  Well, I don’t know why I’d call it a joke.  It is pretty true.  Except not completely true because I’ve been running again and I’ve also been doing more travel planning.  So maybe 1.5 things in my life.  Running doesn’t fully count.  This is why having running buddies is awesome.  I just show up, and they pull me along.  Autopilot.  Melissa, did you have a chance to think about a route for our long run?  Uh . . . blank face.  I’m sure they love it.  I’d like to think that I make up for my route laissez faire with sparkling conversation on our runs.  Which is TOTALLY something I do and not turn bright red and wheeze.

But, yeah, I’ve been spending my precious computer moments planning more adventures instead of writing about previous adventures.  Some out of town.  Some in town.  We went on an epic organized gelato crawl that I need to tell you guys about.  (Because nothing makes people hate you more than pics of you stuffing yourself full of gelato.)  We are going to see Shakespeare at the Globe Theater in BorgheseI saw Castel Sant’ Angelo at night.  We are trying some new restaurants.  We got tickets to see the Forum at night.

All good and exciting things.  All take time to plan.

So I haven’t been writing.

But lately, I’ve had trouble sleeping.  Thankfully, not wake up in the middle of the night sleeping, but just get-up-too-early not sleeping.  (She says, furiously knocking on wood.)  Instead of getting up, though, I’ve been tossing and turning or reading because WHO ON EARTH wants to get up at 5:00 am if they don’t have to.  NO ONE that is.  Maybe babies actually.  But babies can be kind of jerks sometimes.

So today when I woke up early AGAIN I was all FINE UNIVERSE.  You win!!  I’ll get up!  I will write and spend time crafting my brilliant tomes of wisdom that are DEFINITELY not just internet screeds.

Aside:  Screed is a really funny word, right?  Try saying it over and over.  Screed, hehe.

But, ANYWAYS, the joke is on YOU, universe, because I’m recycling something I’ve already written.  (Which is good because I already hear Mac screaming.  See above re jerk.)  You can lead a horse, but you can’t make it drink the champagne.  Which is probably a good thing.  You don’t want your horse stealing all your champagne.  Unless you are me, because I’m not doing a full whole30 right now, but I am trying to cut back on certain things.  Like booze.  Because I may not have mentioned this, but I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately.

Official Disclaimer:  I do NOT give booze to horses.

But I guess the joke is kind of on me because I just wrote over 600 words culminating in a disclaimer I never thought I would write.  Or really the joke is on you because you just read it.  Muhahahaha.

So remember how I have a sister?  (Two actually, but let’s focus on this one for now.  Oh, and a brother.  But I digress.)

When we were back in the States, she asked me for help on her resume.  Do I have opinions on resume style?  YOU BET.

I gave her some pointers, said something obnoxious about her sending me an updated draft within a week, and then scampered back to Rome.

Surprisingly–although I guess not as surprising as you’d think for a put-upon sibling who was used to dealing with the tirades of a domineering older sib–she sent a draft within a week.  And it was AWESOME.  Seriously, you guys should go hire my sister.  If for nothing else than to help you with your resumes because she is now a stone cold resume writing genius.  I just had a few comments and sent it back.

Within a few days, I hadn’t heard anything.

You may not have picked up on this, but patience is not one of my strong suits.

Aside:  I just googled “strong suit” to make sure that I’m not mistyping this.  And I was all, what does that really mean anyway???  Trying to be all deep.  Is it about the strong, power suit in your closet?  The one you only break out for interviews?  Because you had an awesome resume???

And, of course, it is about your strong suit of cards.  Which I think I actually knew, and I probably could have re-puzzled out if I gave myself the chance.  (James is definitely doing some serious eye rolling at this point.  I’ll be able to confirm for you in person in a few hours because I love nothing more than to read blog posts over his shoulder to see where he is laughing.  (I don’t think it needs to be said, but he loves MANY things more than this.))

Update:  James read that first paragraph and was all “seriously??” and I’m like just keep reading.  And then he lost it.  ALL the laughing.  So I was happy.  But then I was like, GREAT, my best joke on here was a private one for you.  Face palm.

So back to my strong suit.  My fictional strong suit is a traditional color, but it has some feminine details, and I like to wear it with statement jewelry.  Because I have LEARNED NOTHING.

My sister.  Even though my email game is anything but tight, I apparently expect everyone to reply promptly.  Because that makes sense.

So I sent her this message.

Which I thought about asking her permission to use, but then I was all, hey, I wrote the email.  And this really says everything about my mental state and nothing about hers so she has no reason to be embarrassed.  Except on my behalf.

You:  OMG.  I just landed the BMW internship job thing.  They said normally they don’t do this, but they are going to pay me a starting salary of $75K because they were SO impressed with my resume.  They even want me to start a resume-writing workshop for all zee Germans who have perfect English but are worried about their English.

Me:  That’s terrific!  I knew you could do it!

You:  Also, NBD, this German prince or duke or something was TOTALLY hitting on me at my interview.  He showed up on the lawn in his private copter (with BMW motor, of course!) and begged me to give him a chance, but I told Dieter that I’m a career girl and I can’t be seen dating the boss.  Or the dude who will be my underling in about 2.5 seconds when I skyrocket up the corporate ladder faster than a German chasing a keg of beer rolling over a field of bratwurst.

Me:  Right on!  Girl power!

You:  Anywho, I couldn’t have done this without you.  You’re the best.  DAS BEST.  I’ll make sure they name the next Z Series after you.  And then deliver one to your door!

Me:  Aww, you’re too sweet.  You really did all the work.  I’m glad I could be of some small assistance.  Don’t forget me when you are off running the Eurozone and rubbing elbows with Merkel!

You:  NEVER.  I don’t have favorites, but you are definitely one of my favorite sisters.  Love you!

Me:  Love you!

With apologies to all jokes at expense of zee Germans.  The email just tickled me, and thankfully my sister thought it was funny too instead of being all WHY ARE YOU RIDING ME ON MY RESUME, WOMAN?  Also, it was for the best because she claims her email ate my original message with my actual thoughtful comments which I would say isn’t a thing except that has totally happened to me before too.

And with apologies to all of you because I’m pretty sure I have exceeded my caps and italics usage for the year with this rant, I mean post.  But you can’t really blame me.   Blame THE UNIVERSE.  Because this is what happens when I’m writing at 5:30 in the morning.

Happy birthday to Mac!

Guess who still refuses to crawl and is now one year old??

THIS GUY

THIS GUY

Mac had a pretty swell birthday.  I mean, he didn’t tell me he enjoyed it or anything, but I think he had a good time.  Recap on birthday numero uno below.  Or just watch this video.  It covers just about everything.  Thanks Google+!

Mac woke up early so I didn’t get to run in and terrorize him with the birthday song, as per tradition.  (For his recent birthday, James delighted in being awoken from a peaceful slumber with my phone pressed to his head blaring the birthday song.  What can I say?  We make birthdays special ’round here.)  I did get to play Mac the song while he was sitting on the kitchen floor.  At first, he was all “why are you guys just staring at me” but then he started his signature Mac dance bob.

Mac was fortunate to be able to celebrate with his grandparents.  We took pics with the birthday banner.

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Not our best family photo

Not our best family photo

Mac opened presents from thoughtful relatives, godparents, and friends.  Henry “helped.”

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We went on a birthday adventure.  We took the subway for the first time to St. Paul Outside the Walls.  Stunning and huge.  More on this one later.

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And the main event:  cake!  James made a chocolate cake with homemade frosting and a separate smash cake for the birthday boy.

He went for it.  Instantly.  No hesitation.  Fistfuls of cake straight into his mouth.  Like to the point I almost worried about needing to take it because he was eating so much cake.  As if taking cake from a chocolate-covered cake demon would ever be advisable.

Before:

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During:

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After:

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They were some of the happiest moments of his young life.  Sadly, the high was followed by a definite low, as cleanup was inevitable.  Mac howled while he took a shower, but I think he’d tell you it was worth it.

P.S.  Want to relive the epic Mac saga? Mac at 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 8 months, 9 months, 10 months, and 11 months.

Wut up

You can't resist the squish

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You should probably just start walking already

Dear Mac,

You are 11 months old.  WHOA.  That’s all I have to say about that.  Moving on.

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Moving is actually the name of the game for you these days.  You want to be on your feet!  You want to be walking!  You have places to go and people to see and things to put in your mouth!  You still can’t do any of this unassisted, but it doesn’t stop you.  You just reach out your hands and expect your entourage to enable you.  (They frequently do.)

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You have zero interest in crawling.  You will flop all the way forward, rotate 360 degrees, or “walk” a few steps and plop before you will even think about making a crawling motion.  Instead, you have cultivated some pretty aggressive pointing.  That.  That, woman.  Bring me THAT.  I try not to cave, but . . .

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You have also become a lot more demanding.  What happened to my easygoing baby??  Now, you generally cry if I try to leave the room.  Whether this is because you miss me or because I can’t hold your hands to help you walk when I’m gone, I am unsure.  But we are talking piercing shrieks that turn your face red.  Screams the likes of which you have NEVER before uttered.  This turnabout is a little shocking.

I get it.  You’re frustrated.  I’m frustrated too.  I know you can’t move how you want to, and it is driving you bonkers.  I feel bad that I’m frustrated.  You were low key for months; who am I to complain now?  You’ve just thrown a curve ball.  I’m still trying to catch up.  I never thought I’d encourage having a mobile baby, but you should probably just start walking.  Or crawling.  Or SOMETHING already.  I think we’ll all be happier.

I'll keep you in the carrier until I fall over though

I’ll keep you in the carrier until I fall over though

I doubt walking would help on bathtime though.  Here, you have just flipped a switch and decided you hate it.  You scream throughout your entire bath.  Whether sitting up or sitting in your chair, sitting with your brother or alone, being offered toys or not.  Everything is awful.  I’m hoping we can come to some kind of understanding on this.  Bathing is not optional.  I promise, we’re not even doing it every day!  (The usual routine is Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.)

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Big doings though on the sleep front.  Something has clicked this month, and you are generally sleeping through the night.  w00t!  (Furiously knocks on wood.)  Sometimes you have a nighttime, uh, movement that awakens you, but I don’t think there is anything we can do about that.  Sometimes you wake up early and sing to yourself.  It is pretty adorable.

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This is not new, but I’m not sure I’ve covered your usual sleep positioning here.  We call your sleep “move,” kissing the bicep.  You curl one arm up to your head and turn your head towards it.  But not until you’ve done the pacifier shuffle.  You sleep with four pacifiers, and I have no idea why, but the first thing you do after being laid down is to spit your current pacifier, grope for new ones and replace.  Weirdo.

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I’ll be curious to see your new stats at your upcoming doctor’s appointment.  You’ve slowed down a little on your food adventuresomeness, but you are still huge.  I tend not to fully credit your hugeness because I see you next to a two year old every day, but you’re a chunk.  Your favorite food is probably banana.  It makes your eyes light up in a way that is endearing and also a little disturbing.  (It’s just a banana, kid.)  You’ve also gotten on the noodle bandwagon, and you can slurp with the best of them.  You have this “charming” habit of working your food over in your mouth and then just letting it fall.  I’ve seen you “eat” an entire piece of pizza this way.  But, overall, not too shabby for someone with four teeth.

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You may have noticed a distinct Alfalfa look on your recent pictures.  Don’t worry, you don’t have a cowlick, and we aren’t gunking your hair with product.  This phenomenon happens because of your hooded bath towel, and I must confess that I do my best to encourage it.  It just looks so right.  Like you have a crest.  I love it.

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You and Henry are still the Odd Couple.  You guys will be face-meltingly sweet to each other and then one of you is trying to pummel the other with tiny fists.  You are able to play more and more together, which I love.  If I’d like to “steer” you on your walkabouts, I only need to ask your brother to go ahead.  Sometimes your route veers just to copy something your brother did.

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And now you are almost the big 0-1.  What a year, baby.  What a year.

Love, Mom

P.S.  More Mac at 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 8 months, 9 months, and 10 months.

5 Things I Wish I’d Known When Going Back to Work After Baby

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It’s hard.  Whether you are going back after a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, going back to work after welcoming your bundle of joy is tough.  Your body is still healing, you are faced with the delightful choice of putting on the maternity clothes AGAIN or stuffing your body into your prebaby duds, and you will be spending a bit less time with your new arrival.

Even if you are psyched about the prospect of picking up where you left off or just enjoying conversations with other adults that don’t revolve around poop–no judgment here–change is hard.  Going back to work is definitely a change.  On top of that oh, you know, no-big-deal-you-just-produced-another-human-being change.

Here a few tips to help you keep your sanity during this super fun time.  I certainly don’t have anything figured out, but I wish I’d thought of these before.

1. Just go ahead and get some labels already.

If your child is going to be cared for in any setting that will involve multiple children, just get some nice labels.  After months of cobbling together schemes of permanent marker and painters tape, we finally got some Mabel’s Labels.  I immediately wondered why I had not done this sooner.  See, for daycare, you have to label EVERYTHING.  Bottles, bottoms AND lids.  Pacifiers.  Sippy cups.  Onesies.  Shoes.  I heard of a friend’s daycare where you actually had to label individual diapers.  Say what?

I would do things like, of course, label the spare outfit, but then forget to label the outfit the baby was wearing, which was much less obviously your baby’s once it was removed.  Just do it.  Invest in some labels.  The ones we got have survived eleventy billion dishwasherings and umpteen laundryings.  It will keep your daycare providers from silently, politely cursing you out and from you losing that one Ralph Lauren ensem you got as a gift.  (Aside: labels are a great gift for a new baby.  They would make a great shower gift, except no one shares that name anymore.)

2. Think about a schedule.

That’s right.  I said it.  The controversial “s” word.  This one applies to babies that are more in the months-old rather than weeks-old stage.  If you aren’t into schedules, that is totally cool.  Do you.  But I posit that it is less stressful to hand your baby over when you can provide clear guidance on what the baby likes.  At least for me, being able to say “he eats around 11:00 and around 3:00” was more calming than having to say “oh, just feed him whenever you think he seems hungry.”  You know your baby better than anybody.  Being able to share some of that knowledge can give you peace of mind.  Also, some daycares have schedules they do for all the kids.  It’s worth checking on to see if you should be working toward that schedule.

And I don’t just mean schedule for the baby.  Think about your schedule.  You and your partner have to now–on a daily basis–perform a coordinated operation on the level of planning of some military attacks, just to get your baby out the door and back in.  (This applies less if you have a nanny or someone coming to you.)  First, think about what makes sense given your work.  Do you always have a client calling you at 5:00 pm?  Maybe pick up is not for you.  Dreading the psychological toll of drop off every day?  Maybe you can negotiate with your partner and do pick up.  Doing extra stuff (aka retrieving your very precious cargo) on top of your work day is hard.  Think about how you can do this as painlessly as possible.

Also, make a plan for getting out the door.  For a long time, I had a post it on our front door with a list of what was needed each day for the baby.  It did not prevent all failures, but I’d like to think it helped on some.  If your partner is in charge of dropping off a stroller so that you can walk home with the baby, you don’t want to just leave that to chance.  (Or vice versa of course.)

In addition to making a plan for the stuff, plan on the time suck.  I swear there is a time vortex that eats about 15 minutes between when I lock my house door and get in the car.  I don’t know where the time goes, but the vortex is real and that time is gone forever.  You cannot prevent the vortex, but knowing is half the battle.

3. Make a plan for washing ALL THAT STUFF.

You are probably already accustomed to an uptick on the laundry front. If you have to dress up for work, I recommend waiting until the very last minute to put on your fancy clothes and then taking them off immediately upon setting foot back in the door.  This will save on laundry and dry cleaning.  Trust.

Now on top of the laundry, be prepared to tackle things in the kitchen.  If you have a young baby, that probably means bottles.  If you are pumping, that also means pump parts.  Even with nifty sterilization bags and trays and whatnot, you still have to go through several steps that you did not have to do before.  This is eating into your work or family or TV or whatever time.  Make a plan with your partner.  I don’t know how to make it take less time, but expecting that it will take time can save your sanity.  I also don’t know how to make it fun, but throw in a podcast or glass of wine and it is practically “me” time.  Snort.

4. You found childcare you like?  Great, GET MORE.

You can plan for the known.  You should also plan for the known unknowns.  Right now this means snow days and sick days. You don’t know when they are coming, but they are definitely barreling your way.

I don’t have a good answer for this; it was an area where I failed.  Who will watch a sick kid without notice and who can get to you in the snow anyway?  But, especially if you don’t have family close by, you should try in case your boss still believes in deadlines even when day care is closed.

At least talk about a plan with your partner because this will come up.  Some services watch sick kids.  Your work may have a suggestion.  This would be a good time to make friends with the neighbors as well.  On snow days, maybe you guys could trade watching kids so that you could each at least get a half day of work in.

Also, if your work offers any sort of possibility to work remotely, make sure you have that all set up and ready to go.  You don’t want to wait until there is ice on the road and your kid is streaming snot to find out your VPN fob is only a decorative key chain.

5. Expect it to suck for awhile.

You may hate the first day.  You may hate the first week.  Don’t make any snap decisions.  I’ll grudgingly admit our moms were right; time does help.  It takes awhile to settle into any new routine.  Give it some time.

You are returning to work a changed person.  Your world has been turned upside down and put back together with gummy smiles and spit up.  But you are returning to a world where little has changed.  Your colleagues, who may have been covering your TPS reports while you were out, are likely dealing with the same problems, same clients, and same everything.  They just don’t understand how fully your world has been rocked.

Maybe it will be smooth sailing.  But I say to treat it as I advise all my friends interested in breastfeeding:  expect it to be the worst thing ever and be pleasantly surprised if it isn’t.  If you are a month or two in and everything is awful, maybe think about some other options.  But remember, give it some time.

How was your transition?  Any other tips?

And in the 9th month, there was tooth

Dear Mac,

You did it!  You now have a tiny sliver of your right bottom tooth sticking out from your gum.  At first, I could only feel it.  Now I can see it in certain lights and angles.  No word yet from its tooth brethren.  I was starting to think I’d be pureeing your steak for the next five years.  (Or, you know, more steak for me.)  But now, tooth!  (Also, we don’t eat much steak.  This isn’t really steak country.)

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You are also SUPER into pulling up.  Not yet on furniture, but on people.  You will be sitting and practically lunge at my hands.  You want to be up, Up, UP.  You stand up for minutes at a time if someone holds you.  You love it.  You haven’t really taken any steps yet, but at this rate, you may just skip crawling.

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Your love affair with food continues.  You have discovered the colorful world of puffs and they are your everything.  The subtleties of the snack pack container currently elude you, but you will not be denied.  You cram a few puffs in your fist at once and then work them out to your mouth.  It is quite the operation.  Your love affair with puffs has, of course, rekindled your brother’s previously dormant desire for puffs.  Choline for everyone!  Including the floor.  Especially the floor.  These things are like a magnet for the feets.

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You are becoming pretty sensitive about noticing that you do not have what others have.  “I have apple bits, but you have apple slice!  Unfair!!”  Things like this.  I promise to try to provide you with as many developmentally appropriate equivalents as possible, but as my mom always says, life isn’t fair.

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You’ve been bunking in our room because of Nana’s visit.  I’d endure much more to spend time with Nana, but I’ll be glad for you to go back to your room.  Man, you make some noise at night.  First, there is the serious leg jackknifing.  Then, in the early morning hours, you start conducting your own talk show.  I don’t know what it’s about or who your guests are, but everyone sounds pretty happy.  A few times I know I’ve fed you when I probably wouldn’t have usually, just to get you to wrap up your set.  Maybe you and your brother will be ready to try bunking together for our next guests this spring.  (We opted not to try this visit after Munich when your brother would scream “MACKLES” at your crib once you finally settled down.)

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Speaking of your brother, the Stockholm syndrome continues.  You look at him like a brainwashed cult member.  James commented that some highlights of your day were being tackled by Henry.  You don’t always love being manhandled, but you do love your brother.  One of my favorite parts of the day is at bedtime when Henry tells you goodnight and “I’ll love you in the morning.”  This seems to be Henry’s mashup of hearing “I love you” and “I’ll see you in the morning.”  This could definitely be a new family phrase.

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Your brother just started day care a few mornings each week.  This means that you and I have some quality togetherness time to take on Rome.  Unfortunately, I’ve been developing some soreness in my side after wearing you in your carrier, but I never let silly little things like that stop me.  Let’s see what mischief we can get up to.

Love, Mom