dear one-year-old-soren

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Soren –

As I sit down to write this letter, I’m smiling at the thought of you standing up in the living room not once but twice tonight. We’ve never seen that before, and you not only stood up, but lifted up a big toy truck too. You never cease to amaze us. And heaven knows you want to do it all yourself. Even just one year from the day you were born, you have such a personality.

I cannot even begin to describe to you how much I have changed in the last year, Little Soren. Every fiber of my being is strengthened with my love for you. Every moment of my life now takes on different meaning, through the lens of being your Mama. Though sometimes the days have been long, the months have been short, and what a tremendous little person you are already becoming.

I’ve learned so much about the person I am and the person I want to be through you. Though I wasn’t sure whether I would want to go back to work after you were born, I have come to appreciate that being a working mom is the best type of mom I can be. You are excelling at daycare, much beloved by all of your teachers. (Your father heard one of your teachers saying ‘I love you,’ when he picked you up yesterday.) I have a renewed sense of purpose in the work that I do. I want to demonstrate to you that you can build the life you want, at home and in your vocation. Work-life balance – a hot term right now – paints an incomplete picture. You will need to take the time to assess and assemble the pieces of your life that fill you up.

The summer of 2016 has highlighted some of the greatest challenges facing the world today. I want to tell you that though it may seem there is a enormous amount to be scared of, there is so much beauty and joy I cannot wait for you to experience.

I’m reminded every day of the privilege that our little family has been given and that we pass on to you. I hope for you that your father and I teach you to have the keenest awareness and appreciation of that privilege and the opportunities afforded to you. I hope you will be a model of empathy and kindness. I know you have so much to offer this world.

Your father and I love you more than words can express.

Happy Birthday, My Soren.


the thai cookbook you need… RIGHT NOW!

Since it has been a few months since we’ve been posting to the blog on the regular, I’m bingeing on posts this week, and I couldn’t do that without telling you about the cookbook that has changed our weekly meal planning. Just go order it already!


We cook from this cookbook every single week now. Joel – our resident chef – has perfected the basic curry recipe, which we switch up with whatever curry paste, veggies, and protein we have on hand. The cookbook even has a completely different way of cooking Jasmine rice than anywhere else we’ve seen, and it is impressive how much that soaks up all of the amazing curry goodness each recipe makes.

Our standard Friday night meal has also been replaced by the fried rice recipe from this cookbook. We regularly recycle whatever protein and veggies we have sitting in the fridge at the end of the week into the fresh and brightly-seasoned fried rice recipe (not at all greasy, yay!!). We top it with a fried egg (each) and it is a hearty and satisfying end-of-week meal. Especially satisfying when you yourself feel fried by the week. Anyone?…

I’ve also made the sticky rice (dessert) recipe several times, and let me tell you it is absolutely out of this world. I could eat several helpings in one sitting, no problem. And while the traditional version uses mangoes, this cookbook encourages you to use whatever is in season. Last month when strawberries filled the farmers’ market stands we used those. I think that would actually be my request at my last meal. Sticky rice and fresh strawberries.

I hope you all can enjoy this cookbook as much as we do. One of the things we have loved is finding our local Thai grocery and visiting it often. You can fill up an entire basket of noodles, rice, curry paste, sauces, and fresh veggies for $25. It is amazing. And what fun to visit a local ethnic market each week too.

Bon appetite!

make a pie for someone you love… key lime pie

This past weekend we needed a little cheer after all being so under the weather, so I decided to whip up a key lime pie. And I really mean regular lime pie, because I didn’t have the patience for juicing teeny tiny limes. But lime pie by itself just doesn’t sound right.


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Who knew that key lime pie was so darn easy? The hardest part is juicing the limes, and that took almost no time at all. Plus the pie barely spends any time at all in the oven, so you don’t have to worry too much about heating up your kitchen in the summer.

Making your own graham cracker crust is most definitely worth it. I would recommend this recipe, and using the flattest pie plate you might have. We found that gives an ideal ratio of crust to filling to whipped cream. We’re very scientific over here.



the soren chronicles: month eleven

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Friends, we have emerged from the antibiotic and liquid tylenol-fueled blur of the last few weeks. Of all of the months so far, this is by far the latest I have gotten my act together to post about Soren’s latest developments. This is in large part due to the fact that the three of us have been sidelined with monster head colds. Soren’s yielded a double eye infection and two-antibiotic-cycles-strong double ear infections. I too am on the rebound from a sinus infection. There has just been a lot of infection…

But we’ve crossed the finish line of another month and it is hard to believe we are on month 12 of having this amazing little human in our lives. At 11.25 months, Soren is a…

…Wobbly Stander – He has been pulling up on furniture for a while now, but these days Soren is actually letting go for a few seconds and standing on his own. It is pretty funny to watch. It’s all fine and good until he realizes he is standing on his own and then boom, bum on the floor.

…Push-Cart Walker – One of Soren’s favorite activities is walking laps around the room with these push cart-type toys at daycare and at home. He gets such a pleased little smile on his face when he hauls from one end of the room to another. I would be pleased too. That is pretty darn far for a little kiddo. He also enjoys holding on to the bed-frame (his or ours) and jumping up and down like a little bean. Cute, even in the 6-o’clock hour.

…Dexterous Dude – Soren’s fine motor skills seem to have made a huge leap this month. One of his favorite activities is picking individual pieces of grass and flowers (read: weeds) sitting out on the lawn together. He can pick up a single blade of grass and pass it back and forth between his hands. Who knew minutes of entertainment can be found in your own yard? Not the most effective means of keeping a trim yard, though. He is also dexterous enough to remove any hat or sun protection (sunglasses) we have tried to introduce. More of a con, but still cute. We’re working on a new game where he hands things back and forth. We call it sharing, I think he just thinks of it as a funny game of keep-away.

…Cheese Ball – This month Soren has mastered waving, and just started clapping. This kiddo could not be more pleased with himself when he starts clapping. I have effectively used this to distract him from fussing. The crying starts? Let’s start clapping!! No seriously… try this… it works. And will probably only work for a few more days. Soren loves to wave when he is out in his stroller cruising to and from daycare with Daddio. Just keeping his legions of fans happy…

…Chatterbox – Though Soren doesn’t have any specific words yet, he is one little motor mouth. All day long with the rah, rah, rahs, and the da, da, das and the yah, yah, yahs and the nah, nah, nahs. He clearly believes he is communicating something to us. Eventually we’ll get it.

But other than being terribly sick, it has been a good month. Soren is even working on his two front teeth now, very exciting! (And painful… but mostly exciting. Seriously, it is so hard being a baby.)

We’ve all been busy on all fronts, so this seemed like an especially fast month. It’s hard to believe that one year is just around the corner. Go Soren!

the soren chronicles: month ten

My once-vigorous blog posting cadence has fallen off a bit of a cliff recently, but I’m hoping to get caught up with you all this week. But first, and most importantly, it is time to celebrate the fact that Soren is now 10 months old!!



[Can we take a moment to appreciate this adorable photo of Soren and his Farfar???]

As usual, I am blown away at the many changes we see as the weeks fly by. I still think that some of the biggest changes happen in the 2-3-4-5 month range, but now the developments are so. darn. fun.

What are you saying? – Soren has been full of all sorts of sounds and noises recently, and it is so funny to hear him try so hard to communicate with us, and we of course have no idea what he is saying. Though one morning when he woke up and we popped out of his room to say good morning to Joel, Soren turned to him and said ‘Hi, Dada.’ No joke. Both Joel and I heard it, and could NOT believe it. But other than this one fluke time, he really hasn’t been able to tell us anything we could possibly understand.

A sleep pattern – One of my mama friends recently said to me that she once thought that sleep would be this linear trend where he would go from sleeping terribly to sleeping progressively better and better and then stay that way. Both of us were sorely mistaken. Though Soren’s overnight sleep patterns have improved dramatically, we’re of course cognizant that this may not last forever. Soren has also been seriously cutting back on naps at daycare (usually just 1-2 now), which means on the weekend he takes the ‘sleep cure’ (as we call it in my family), and sometimes takes up to three naps! We got the whole garden weeded last weekend. Thanks, naps.

Mobile – I mentioned how much I love reading the reports that are sent home from daycare each afternoon in several posts, but I love how many of them now gently hint at the fact that Soren spends a good chunk of the day climbing up the bookcases in the classroom. Soren is mobile and going at high speeds. He pulls up, climbs, scoots, crawls, and teeters when he lets go (very occasionally) before bopping down on the ground. And this past weekend we were with family friends and Soren encountered his first stairs (we haven’t let him on the basement stairs of our house). And he climbed up – in a hilariously cute way – and down. Face. first. I kid you not. (Joel was chaperoning.)

Chow hound – A term normally reserved for Alice the Dog, what we once thought was just a growth spurt has turned out to be Soren’s normal intake volume. This kid will one day eat us out of house and home. Thank heavens for our Costco membership. Each morning Soren has oatmeal and apple sauce and yogurt. Then we sent him off to daycare with 15-18 oz of milk and 18 oz of purees. Then he comes home and has 6-8 oz of purees again, plus nursing 2+ times daily on top of that… And he is still such a little string bean!! Where does it all GO?? But at least he seems to like most everything put in front of him. We’re still sharing bites of our food with him, but even the tiniest pieces of food seem pretty big for him. We’re sticking to Gerber puffs to get him some practice at self-feeding. Alice very much enjoys puffs too.

Teeth – Soren has two fully established bottom teeth. (So cute.) And he is working on two others, one on top and one on bottom. He is a surprisingly good-natured teether, other than being a drooly mcdrollerston.

Hair – [sniffle, sniffle] We finally gave Soren his first tiny haircut. Daddy Joel was masterful with the scissors during bath time. Soren had a lot of hair when he was born, and then nearly all of it fell out except for this hilariously long section right on the top of his head. That hair was almost 4 inches long, and it was time for a trim. Needless to say, he looks super cute now (see above).

Outdoors – Last week we ordered ourselves a fantastic Deuter pack for Soren to join us up at eye level on our walking adventures. He absolutely loves it (check out our photos on Instagram). And this will definitely be great at the summer heats up and it gets a bit too toasty for him to hang out snuggled up next to me in the Ergo. But man, I do love those snuggles.

Now that I am looking at all of this, it is a bit of an odd combination of headings, but there is so much going on it is almost hard to keep track. Each day is fun and challenging and energizing and exhausting. Soren is one bubbly, social little kiddo, and each week he is doing something new. We love you, Little Man!

the soren chronicles: month nine

20160504_075543Yes, it has been a month since I’ve posted. I’ve missed you too! Our lives have been very full with all sorts of fun (and a lot of work) since Soren turned 8 months. But it feels like we have so much to share as this little man grows like a weed before our very eyes.

Soren is now…

Crawling at high speed – Soren went from kind of being able to move across the room, to being able to haul from one side of the house to the other (often in pursuit of Alice the Dog) at high speed. Soren crawls all over our house, my parents’ house, and his daycare. He has what we call his ‘monkey leg’ where he swings one leg around as he crawls ‘normally’ with the other one. He does is on both sides and it is pretty hilarious. I’m generally impressed that he can stay moving in a (largely) straight line this way. Personally I feel like this would lead to major alignment problems.

Pulling up on all the furniture – This development seemed to happen overnight. We were stunned when he quickly expanded his crawling capabilities, and the next week Soren crawled up to Granny and pulled up to standing on her chair! Now he spends a great deal of time pulling up on whatever he can find – the coffee table in the living room, the legs of his high chair, his bouncy chair, his bookshelf, his crib, the kitchen shelves, the oven door (well-secured). And his daily reports from daycare relay his latest antics of pulling up on their furniture… and shredding paper, another new favorite pastime, with one of his daycare besties.

2 teeth!! – Mr. S. is well on his way to his first two teeth. They’ve popped up on the bottom and each week you can see a little more of them. He’s been pretty chewy, but I feel like he’s been that way all along, so who knows  if it was the teeth or not…

Eating pudding at daycare – He didn’t really eat pudding at daycare, but my all-time-favorite daily report that they sent home read as follows: “Today Soren smiled at the teacher when she said ‘please don’t eat the pudding.'” I kid you not. The report said that. By way of background, it is garden month at daycare, and the pudding was a sensory activity for them to understand soil/dirt/mud, but Soren knows what’s up. He went straight for it. That’s my boy.

New foods – We’ve been introducing Soren to all sorts of new foods this month and the latest additions were peanut butter and whole milk yogurt. It seems like everyone I talk to gets different guidance from their doctor on PB, but we went for it and things turned out fine. And now Soren eats whole milk yogurt (this kiddo needs the fat!!) with breakfast (oatmeal and applesauce) each morning. Yum!

Increasingly vocal – Have I mentioned how loud this kid can be? Whether in the car, getting a diaper change, or crawling around the house, Soren wants to be sure that his voice is heard. He has a particularly cute happy squeal for when he sees Alice Dog. She does not seem too pleased by this. He flaps his arms around (we call him flappy bird) when he gets really, really excited.

Clean bill of health – Just this week Soren had his 9-month checkup and got a clean bill of health from our totally great pediatrician. Soren continues to weigh in on the small side, but has a substantial noggin. When we told the doctor how much he eats (milk 5-6x/day and purees 3-4x/day) he didn’t seem all too worried, in fact, I think he was a little impressed. Both Joel and I were skinny kiddos, so he’s probably headed for the same fate. Soren is a champ when it comes to getting shots, and even put up with the blood draw (better than I would have) and conked out as soon as we got back in the car.

Unfortunately we’ve all been walloped by a late spring cold over the last two weeks. Soren was out of daycare for most of last week and Joel and I have been bowled over by this nasty bug this week. We’re on pace for being sick pretty much once a month, which though exhausting, seems like something we can keep plowing our way through. Thank heavens for humidifiers, saline spray, and the Nose Frida.

This week is also Teachers Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day. What great timing! So though we are celebrating all of Soren’s developments, we’re also taking time to thank the day care providers who dote on him each day and his grandmothers (Granny and Nana) who shower him with love. Soren is one lucky kiddo to have amazing teachers at his daycare and family who love him to pieces.

And it’s my first Mother’s Day with Soren ‘on the outside,’ so we’re going to take a little time to relax and celebrate this weekend. Though I can easily jump on the critical bandwagon of commercialization of the occasion, it does feel nice to take a minute and reflect on how becoming a mother has changed every fiber of my being.

the soren chronicles: month eight

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Hard to believe this little nugget is already 8 months old. This picture from last week is a definite favorite of mine. Soren discovered playing with his shadow, and Alice the Dog, in the background by our front door, is just his favorite right now.

Since our last chronicle Soren has changed so much. He’s growing like a weed and doing all sorts of new things. And we are too. Joel went on his first work trip since Soren was born. We spent several days in Florida on vacation with grandparents, and a lovely Easter weekend too. We’ve been busy little bees. Soren has been loving daycare, which feels especially nice as things at work have ramped up for both Joel and me over the last several weeks.

  • The biggest development this month… SOREN IS CRAWLING. Or really, I should said ‘crawling.’ Kind of like using the word ‘solid food’ for the purees he continues to wolf down. Soren can definitely get himself from point A to point B now. Through a combination of actual crawling, army crawling, scooting, rolling, and sitting up, he definitely gets there. It is so exciting. And before we know it I have no doubt he will be moving at high speed. He can get himself up on all fours, and is just starting to be able to pull himself up. It all seems to be happening so fast.
  • Hello! – Mr. S. is on the verge of waving. He has the basic gesture down, and when he does do it, he has the biggest smile on his face. Supercute.
  • First order from the menu – On Easter Sunday we started what I hope is a new tradition with my family of going out for Thai food. (Try the completely amazing Nava Thai if you are in the area.) This was the first time we ordered off the menu for Soren – a side of steamed veggies. His reaction to broccoli was pretty funny. But he loved having food to gnaw on while we all ate. He is definitely watching everyone sitting around the table eating together. He just loved sitting in the high chair and hamming it up for the wait staff at Nava Thai. He’s still a bit too skinny for restaurant high chairs, so he always looks a bit silly as we pack our winter coats around him to keep him from sliding through.
  • I can do that myself – Soren is a lover of his Nuk pacifiers, and now he can finally replace it all by himself… So nice for stroller and car rides.
  • Super swimmer – This week wraps up swim class at the county pool, which Soren just loved. And by swim class, I mean bouncing around in the pool and singing songs. We even got to spend some time in the pool in Florida, where he enjoyed being pushed around in his little inner tube. (Check out my Instagram for some additional photos.) Soren even dipped his toes in the Gulf while we were down there. He loved the waves.

Our must-have products this month include our Liteway Plus stroller, our ergo carrier, Sophie Giraffe, amazing Tolo toys (thanks, Granny and Farfar), krinkle books, and our inglesina high chair.

The last week has been a little rough on the sleep front, which of course gets my brain going with all sorts of potential explanations… Is it a tooth? Is it a growth spurt? Is it a cognitive/developmental milestone? Does he just need some snuggles? (yes, please) But this really does feel like a great time. He is such a cheery little kiddo and I’m so grateful for all of the smiling faces that surround him. From me and Joel, to in-person visits and FaceTime dates with grandparents, to his daycare teachers, to friendly faces on the street. Who wouldn’t love being surrounded by smiles?

#workingmama – the morning routine


Since I went back to work before her, one of my close friends asked me (in what I imagine was a whisper voice) – how on earth am I going to make it out the door in the morning? – as she thought about her own return to the office. This was a major concern of mine. And since I am such a dedicated list-maker, before I started back at work, I not only made checklists, but I had worked out a schedule from the time I woke up to the time we walked out the door that was in five minute increments. Five. Minute. Increments. It was not a good place.

Part of what was a challenge for me was that Soren’s wake-up time varied so much – 4:45 AM to 6:45 AM. Any time in between his day might start (before that I deemed it too early, it just counted as an overnight wake-up). It was hard to think of what a routine might look like with so much uncertainty. (Uncertainly = me in a puddle on the floor.) I knew we had to be out the door before 7:15, but other than that, how would we do it? Well, like all things parental (I have found), we just kind of muddled through for a bit. And the truth is, after 4.5 months back at work, we’re now in a bit of a groove in the morning. Here’s what it looks like, approximately. It’s an art, not a science, people. 

5:50 – Amelia & Joel wake up

5:50-6:15 – Amelia has breakfast and packs up, Joel showers

6:15-6:40 – Soren eats, Joel has breakfast, packs up

6:40-7:00 – Joel walks Alice the dog, Amelia gets ready, Soren hangs out on the bed

7:05-7:15 – actual departure time

Pretty simple actually. Well, it looks that way, but it feels busy enough getting out the door on the weekdays.

I was talking to another mama about this recently, and she said, in what I can only assume was all caps… YOU WAKE UP AT WHAT TIME?!?! Yes, we wake up early, but Joel and I are early birds. We always have been. We both worked at coffee shops in college. When you were still asleep, we were pulling espresso shot. It’s kind of our jam. We go to bed at the same time now as we did before we had a kiddo – early. And we like our routine that way.

I’m sure things will continue to change in the coming months, but this is where we are today, and today, it feels like it’s working out just fine.

Happy Friday, y’all.

books that make me feel better about being me

Two book themed posts in one week? Back to back? Yup. I’ve got a backlog of great books to share with you friends! Just two more that I recently finished that you might enjoy.

I must have been living under a rock, because I didn’t know anything about Jennifer Lawson, but her book popped up under ‘recommended reading’ (darn you, amazon!) and I downloaded a sample and was hooked. Furiously Happy is one part David Sedaris, one part Hyperbole and a Half, and one part voyeurism into what is no doubt a very peculiar marriage. I have to admit there were many parts that made me laugh out loud, and more than once I pulled Joel away from his book while I read aloud.  A good reminder that I’m not the only one whose stream of consciousness looks something like a browser with 3,8562 tabs open at the same time.

The other book I finished just this weekend was The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Oh yes, I bought a book with a title that made me glad to be reading it on my Kindle and not broadcasting that I was pouring over a self-helpey book. And it was like a face full of cotton candy. Sweet, fluffy, not even remotely intellectually challenging. It was such a good speed read. It made me want to go back and watch more seasons of Scandal, which I abandoned when it got a little gory for my liking (season 2). Shonda is unquestionably a force to be reckoned with.

So there you have it. Between yesterday and today that pretty much covers everything I’ve been reading. I’m just diving into Brene Brown’s latest book – Rising Strong – and am completely absorbed already.