October 1, 2013


Somehow somewhere I developed a strong belief that every baby should be a pumpkin for Halloween. 

Jake felt the opposite. He was against baby Gwen being a pumpkin and I didn't feel strongly enough to question this, so Princess Leia she was. 

It wasn't until this year, with baby Norah's impending costume choice looming that we unearthed our feelings towards baby pumpkin costumes:
Me? It's what you do. And oh my god, if our final baby, our last chance to do it, doesn't get to be one I might die! 
Jake? It's something everybody and their mom does. Princess Leia every Halloween (until it gets creepy of course)!

This conversation happened in August when the Halloween stuff appeared far too early. We didn't buy the world's best Carter's pumpkin costume that Costco carries which are seriously the best cheap, well made, warm and CUTE infant costumes I ever did see. And as you can guess by the time we discussed and decided she'd be a pumpkin they were long gone, much to my dismay. 

I searched online to no avail. Aside from eBay, these things are mysteriously only carried in Costco stores? To be honest I didn't put that much heart into the search after convincing myself not to care so much about it. This is supposed to be the Fall with no expectations, right? Being crazy about a costume would not benefit the task at hand, this I knew. But deep down I longed for that baby to be that pumpkin. 

Anyways, after purchasing a ladybug costume of the same style only to discover the actual costume size didn't match the hanger size, I finally figured I'd check on the other Costco. After hearing from you lovely readers that they still had costumes I figured they might have a better selection than ours and never dreamt in a million years they'd have a pumpkin.  I of course looked for one to no avail. As I perused my options: a flower! Perfect to match Gwen's leftover ladybug costume from last year! A cat? A raccoon? I glanced up to the display high above the racks to see it, tucked in amongst the other costumes. 
The pumpkin. 
One precious precious pumpkin costume in an acceptable size. 

"Excuse me, I was wondering if I could get a costume down from your display?" I asked the employee stocking printer cartridges as I stood there with a 2-month-old strapped to my chest, visible spit up on my jeans and a disheveled 2-year-old in my cart. 

"Sure, which one?" Said the nice gentleman. 

"Only the last remaining pumpkin costume in all of Reno!" I replied a bit enthusiastically. 

With a look of half-amusement, half-terror he set to retrieving the pumpkin costume for the looney housewife with a crazed look in her eye. 

We swung by, sampled some organic bunny crackers staying close as to not let anyone else snatch up the costume and waited for the delivery as he balanced on a tiny step ladder using a heavy shelving bracket to retrieve the precious commodity. 

We came home after partaking in the obligatory food court snacks and tossed Norah directly into her outfit. My giddiness was infectious as Gwen giggled and shouted, "baby Norah's a pumpkin!" while I asked her for the thousandth time to back away so I could take a picture of the slouching baby pumpkin before us. 

And then Jake walked through the door to his two month old in a pumpkin costume greeting him and cooed "oh boy! Mommy finally gets to dress her baby girl up as a pumpkin!"

And so it is. 

September 30, 2013

Bonjour Fall

It's October 1st and while I may have already overdone it on the pumpkin spice Statbucks beverages, I am proud to say that I have not overdone it on the celebration of Fall front yet.

Last year I was pregnant, sick and working so Halloween was kind of an annoying speed bump that just slowed things down. Gwen was a monkey and our neighborhood sucked it up as far as trick-or-treating went (so many houses didn't participate). My girlfriend didn't even have our annual Halloween tea party because no one could make it. It was a sad sad realization. 

And then the one attempt at proper Fall celebrating wound up with Jake, myself and my sister-in-law passed out from taking Dramamine on our way home from apple hill after we all got car sick on the ride there. Don't even get me started on the gross pumpkin patch experience off of Mill St. 

 I mean, 2012 Fall was kind of a hot mess.

This year? The expectation is just to simply enjoy the season, no strings attached. 

I'm finally willing to throw in the towel on Apple Hill and admit, after the past five years of trying to make it something it's not, it will never be the childhood experience I grew up with in Southern  CA. 

We will not be cheap and will pay the entry fee to get into the good pumpkin patch. 

We will throw naptime to the wind and show up on time to pumpkin palooza on Victorian Square, because I am almost certain it's like the street carnival in You've Got Mail. 

We will show up to the Halloween tea party in costume. I will make something that involves patience and creativity to bring to the table.

And we will go to a different neighborhood to trick or treat, because ours just isn't into it.

Our weekends are full (but not too full) of fun things to do and while I'm bummed we didn't buy Norah the cute little pumpkin costume at Costco when we had the chance, I'm going to just take a chill pill and enjoy the prelude to the holiday season. 

Happy Fall Y'all! 

September 23, 2013

Care to Hang Out?

I need to meet fellow like-minded women  who 
1.) are at home with their kids during the week
2.) want to hangout with me (and other moms) and do fun stuff. 

Currently I am trying not  to be that desperate   creeper at the park, even though everytime I meet someone with a kid remotely close to my girls' ages I want to say, "I'm Lauren Sunderland, here's my phone number & email address. Let's hang out! Do you want to stop by for tea (mimosa, beer, whatever) in the middle of the week and chat while the kids play? We can boo eachother during Halloween, have a cookie exchange for Christmas and do all sorts of cool stuff. We have lots of toys at our house and love playing at parks all over town. I have a ton of crafts and recipes pinned on pinterest I've been meaning to try and I think we could be best friends. Text me! Or you can find me on FB. BE MY FRIEND! I'm a good one! Just ask my current ones, who happen to not have children and have jobs so they can't hang out with me during the week."
For some reason I can never muster the courage to blurt all this out to a woman I just exchanged the obligatory "how old is your son/daughter?" park conversation. Why do those never seem to progress past that stage? 

"2 and a half."
"And how old is yours?"
Both stare at children playing on slides for the next 20 minutes with the main interaction being led by whatever conversation you exchange with your kids. Then I leave and go home thinking, damn, we could be friends, I liked her and her kids. But you have no idea who they were and will never see them again because what's the chance they'll be at that one park the same time as you ever again. 


So....wanna hang out? 

Shoot me a message on FB, email me at 

[please don't tell me to join a meetup group or a church group. I know about every single one in town. Been there done that]

September 11, 2013


20130911-140404.jpgThings have vastly improved this week versus last week. I can speculate about a thousand different reasons why, but just knowing that things can and will get better and this rough patch is only temporary is enough to get me through the hardest of days.

Jake and I were so cocky going into this second baby business. There’s nothing like a screaming newborn waking you up every 2 hours to remind you that you don’t know a thing. I mean, really. I was certain that if I could just get the breastfeeding gig down, everything else would be so much easier, since Gwen was so difficult in that regard. She was also difficult in the sense that she was a newborn and newborns are so much work, but I forgot about that part. Norah has reminded both of us of this. And she has also reminded us how we don’t really know what we’re doing.

Take the evenings for instance. Norah wakes up from an afternoon nap around 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Jake gets home from work around 6:00 pm and we eat dinner. Or at least we try to eat dinner. Norah kept interrupting it, wanting to be fed and becoming extremely fussy and wouldn’t sleep or eat. We couldn’t figure it out. Why was she so fussy right at dinnertime? We came up with all sorts of reasons, tried nursing her differently, tried swaddling or not swaddling her, rocking her, etc. Yet night after night the same story played out. Cranky baby and cranky parents ready to pull their hair out.

Then it dawned on me. The poor thing was exhausted and overtired by the time dinner rolled around. She doesn’t stay awake for over an hour or two but in the evening I was getting so swept up in the nightly dinner routine that I just kept her awake, until she was so tired and upset she couldn’t sleep.


I let go of the expectation of cooking dinner (that I put on myself) and made sure I watched Norah’s cues when she was ready to eat and go to sleep and ignored our usual family routine and what would you know? The evenings have gotten better.

We won't even discuss how I just came upon the concept that when Norah's crying there are three things to check:
1. Diaper
2. Swaddle
3. Feed

By the time those three things have been checked, she's as happy as a clam. Yet, I wasn't doing things in that order or at all a week or two ago. I'd freak out and make up all kinds of irrational crazy ideas as reasoning for why she was crying and nine times out of ten I wouldn't solve the problem. It was nuts and made me feel quite inadequate.

Things like this are the silly things that you’d think we, as second time parents, would have figured out. But as Jake put it, we forgot how dumb babies make you. We can be prepared all we want, but when there’s a newborn sitting in your house that brain of yours exits right out the door only to return once she’s sleeping through the night.

So, as the week unfolds and I feel more sane and confident in this new gig I remind myself that it’s only temporary, that our brains eventually come back to us, it’s okay to have a good cry and to humbly remember that I don’t know Jack.

August 22, 2013

Laundry + 2 Kids

Last night Jake could tell something was off, seeing as I was uncharacteristically quiet. Most evenings we sit across from each other at the dinner table and I unload every mundane detail of our day.

“And then Gwen fell down the stairs while I was nursing except that I’m not so sure she actually fell down them because she didn’t cry and got up like nothing happened.”


“Norah’s sleeping a lot today. She just eats and then sleeps. I think she’s sick. Or maybe just a newborn?”

Things like that, riveting details of a woman at home with two kids during the day.

But not last night. I just sat quietly without much to add to the conversation.  Then he asked the obligatory, “how are you feeling?” question. You know the one I’ve been asked weekly by some varying person since Norah’s been born because really, we’re all waiting for the depression shoe to drop.

And last night I didn’t respond with my token, “great!” response. This time I unloaded.

It was all surrounding some guilt I was carrying around with me since naptime that afternoon.  It had to do with the fact that while Norah was sleeping, I put away laundry. That’s right, I felt guilty because I opted to put away laundry instead of making Gwen a snack and preparing to nurse Norah when she woke up (get a cup of water, my phone, etc. ) And do you know what happened because I did that? Nothing. Norah cried for maybe a minute extra while I cut her sister an apple. That was really it.

And here I was, convinced that I was selfish and a terrible person for not anticipating the girls’ needs instead of my own selfish desire to put away the baskets of laundry.

Jake kindly repeated the situation back to me with an emphasis on the two words, selfish and laundry. As I heard him say it I realized how ridiculous the entire situation I had created in my head was, as usual per my goofy head's agenda sometimes.

And so I went to bed with that heavy albeit silly burden lifted off my chest, with the fresh perspective of:

1.)  I’m not as sane postpartum as I thought/hoped I was. Just because I'm not a complete stark raving mad lunatic in regards to breastfeeding this time around, that doesn't mean I'm not still a teensy hormonally charged. 

2.)  This whole two kids gig is new. I’m learning and need to give myself a little leeway.

And I might add that that laundry had become a situation. Day after day the piles on the couch grew until we needed use of the couch. Then the organized and folded piles got thrown haphazardly into a basket or across the living room, if Gwyneth thought she needed something. It desperately needed to be put away and life has seemed much better since I put it away.

Furthermore, this post on how the US puts way too big of an emphasis on postpartum recovery popped up in my feed today. Interesting read that makes you scratch your head and think, holy crap! They're so right.

August 6, 2013

Scenes From Around Here

1| I knew holding onto these glasses for over 3 years would be beneficial. 
2 | Loving this little girl to pieces while we all become acquainted.
3 | Waiting to watch the garbage truck, in  her swimsuit, with no immediate plans of swimming. 
4 | Sleeping baby.
5 | Tired mama. 
6 | Handsome daddy. 

August 5, 2013

Norah's First Bath

New babies mean new blog posts! They might not be all that exciting, but hey, I've got a lot of time on my hands, so here we go, Norah's first bath at the homestead. 
△△△ Gwyneth was of course excited and eager to help. 

△△△ For reals, the child slept through her bath. And don't panic that she's not eating enough and therefore exhausted and sleeping through everything (I've been there, I've seen the breastfeeding nazis attack some moms on FB in regards to this). She's really just that relaxed, with a full belly I might add, I have the diapers to prove it.

△△△ Until it was time to get out, then she lost her mind.

All in all a pretty uneventful event for this little relaxed girl, who now smells all sweet. And can we get a shout out for the amazing amount of counter space in our new kitchen? It's pretty bonkers, and a little hard for us to keep uncluttered, but we are exercising our grownup skills and doing our best, because those counters are meant to be used for baking and not cluttering, of course.