three months.

Carmen Fable is three months old today! My husband pointed out what a crazy three months it's been and he would be right. I'm noticing something about adoption: because you didn't physically carry and birth a tiny human yourself, you're almost expected to be back to your pre-baby activities with virtually no adjustment period or suitable level of downtime. I'm allowing myself to acknowledge that having an infant is a huge familial change (albeit an awesome one) and letting myself get comfortable with more down time and declined playdates or outings than I've ever been comfortable with. Mostly I've just been soaking up copious amounts of snuggle time with Ethan and Carmen because the magic hasn't yet faded and I still find myself in utter disbelief that she's here. A new dinnertime normal and laundry schedule will come in time. I'm just trying to enjoy the newness and the now and the fact that, despite the odds, we have two little ones at home getting to know one another.

Carmen is still in newborn size clothing but as finally made her way into some 0-3 month outfits as well! She's been in cloth diapers for a month and it's been going well -- way less scary (and less work!) than I thought. She's eating 3-6 ounces of formula every 3-5 hours, thickened with Gelmix to help with her reflux. Now that we have her silent reflux diagnosed and treated, she's finally eating which is a huge relief! She goes to bed at around 9:30-10:30 each night and sleeps until around 5:00-6:00 a.m., usually with no wake-ups. Considering Ethan will be five years soon and rarely sleeps through an entire night, I'm always a little impressed (and freaked out!) when Carmen manages to sleep all night.

She's awake a lot more during the day and is so vocal and chatty in the morning and before bedtime. She usually takes her brief naps at around 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. She always falls asleep in the car and seems to love driving (also a stark contrast from Ethan!) -- which is good, because we have a few road trips planned this year! She loves being worn in the Boba wrap as well.

We are so in love with this little one.

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morning pictures.

Adventure tee by The Blue Envelope

Every morning, my husband gets up and starts getting ready for work. Parenting has rendered us pretty good at multitasking. He'll get dressed for work while simultaneously making Ethan breakfast and I'll sip my iced coffee (Will Wake Before The Kids for Starbucks is my motto) while struggling to find my most clean pair of dirty yoga pants and warming a bottle for Carmen. It's this morning dance of chaos that ensures I'm always late to wherever we have plans to go, which is particularly frustrating because I like to be early and I haven't let that go yet. Still, every morning, my children lay down on the rug in Carmen's room and pose for what Ethan has dubbed their "boring morning pictures."

Secretly, he loves it. He'll whisper "come here, sissy! It's me, your bruh bruh," as he kisses her on the cheek before rolling his eyes at me or sticking out his tongue or shaking his ankles just enough to ensure my otherwise frameworthy photo is just the right amount out of focus.

These morning pictures? They're medicine for my soul. They're healing in so many ways. They are hope in picture form and I try to explain to my exasperated four year old who just wants to finish his peanut butter on toast that one day when he's a grown up, he will appreciate these photos. I tell him of my plans to turn them into a book and he starts counting how many more years he has until he's eighteen and doesn't have to take them anymore. "Maybe I can wear my Jack Skellington shirt in tomorrow's picture," he'll declare before running out of Carmen's room. He loves these pictures as much as I do.

There was a time, even just six months ago, that this life felt impossible. I turned 30 on February 1st, laced in depression and failure and inadequacy. A few weeks later, Carmen burst into our lives and so did purpose. Hope. Laughter. Love. As close to completion as we can ever be.

There she was.

Life has sort of broken off into this little floating island of After Carmen and I'm still trying to navigate some sort of attachment to the mainland again. Despite the chaos that comes with having a newborn and a four year old (no one has even sat on our couch for weeks -- likely because you can't even find it underneath the massive mountain of laundry), life feels a little bit like a dream. Most days I feel like we're floating and Carmen is our waterwings. Real life seems narrowly out of reach, but I haven't really tried to reach for it. For so long, I've associated a new normal with trying to stomach unpleasantness that can't be avoided, but this new normal fits more like a reverie. We're sort of floating comfortably near the shoreline while the undesirable moments float by out to sea in the distance. Every (ungodly early) morning we wake up and the dream continues.

And so do the morning pictures.

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why i let my four year old watch the news

My four year old will tell you about Trayvon Martin. He will tell you about Freddy Gray and George Zimmerman and King Carter and Tamir Rice. He will ask me if Donald Trump is simply missing his heart or if he is actually that rotten. He will tell you, in so many words, about the refugee crisis and the importance of helping others. It wasn't until recently that I received a comment on Instagram from a mother who said she was baffled trying to understand why my four year old would know who Freddy Gray was.

My response was simple: I was baffled as to why my four year old knowing who Freddy Gray was was baffling.

My son is a beautiful four year old boy. He is sweet and kind. He is more childlike than the other children who are starting Kindergarten this year (which he should be but isn't). My husband and I have been hellbent on extending his childhood -- insistent on preserving his youth -- until it's forced from our grasp by the inevitability of elementary school. He is the child running barefoot in the park, the one happily laughing the afternoons away at his gym class. He is a child in every sense of the world, boyhood dripping from his smile and his big dreams that have not yet been crushed by the world around him.

But he knows who Freddy Gray was because he lives in this world and so why shouldn't he know what is going on around him?

I argue with people often about the dangers of being color blind versus being color aware. It frightens me when people say smugly that they don't see color. If we, as a society, keep hiding our head in the sand, we can never heal the cracks that so desperately need to be welded together. We have taught Ethan the importance of being color aware not just because he has a sister who is biracial but because, as parents, it is our job to equip him with the necessary tools needed to be a productive member of society.

At four, Ethan is a little bit more intellectual than I know what to do with. Sometimes I can't answer his questions. Sometimes he just wants to pretend to be a robot, speaking in bee-boo, bee-boo noises. Other times, he wants to come up with a detailed plan to solve world poverty. We've always believed in following the child and quenching their desire for knowledge. Perhaps the most important thing we want him to know as boyhood evolves into adulthood ith is the importance of being kind. Is there someone out there who thinks that Freddy Gray was treated with kindness? Is there someone out there who believes there to be justification behind his senseless death and the inevitability that no charges will be likely be filed (please, universe, prove me wrong).

I want Ethan to be the change that I wish to see in the world, just as I strive to be. We want him to be the one who stands up when someone is being wronged. We want him to see color, to see unfairness, to be the voice for someone who has been unjustly silenced.

Yes, my four year old knows who Freddy Gray was. He knows that most people are good but that some are bad, or make bad choices for reasons unknown (although Ethan speculates it's because their parents didn't hug them enough or maybe they didn't jump in enough puddles as children). He knows that the best way to fight hatred is with love. He knows that he can never turn the other cheek if anyone is harming someone else.

We choose to let our child know what is going around him in this world so that he knows the importance of standing up for kindness and for love. After all, love is the best way to stomp out hate. If we pretend Freddy Gray's murder never happened, if we pretend that there are no problems in modern day America -- how can we expect to fix them? We owe our children a better tomorrow than this.

ethan's five year portraits

I have many thoughts on Ethan turning five, but I'll save those for another time. The fact is in one month, my sweet boy will be turning five. Five.


Anyway, I promised I'd save those thoughts for another time.

Yesterday we took his five year pictures. I like to do his birthday pictures to match up with his Most Favorite Interest or Hobby -- which usually corresponds with his party theme. This year, he is all about science. He requested a lab coat and a pair of thick-rimmed black glasses and with those in tow, we headed on over to The Sandoway House in Delray Beach to snap the photographs I will spend hours sobbing over because oh my gosh, my baby boy is five!. ("I'm not five just yet," he will inevitably remind me.)

Ethan was all about this photoshoot. He had his own visions. This included not just choice of accessories but insisting to put his hand up to signify to the photo viewer that he is, in fact, turning five. There was no stopping him. I let my inner-control freak fade away into the bliss that this beautiful, smart, amazing little boy is my son and oh my gosh, my baby boy is (almost) five.

On our little photoshoot journey, we met a Sandoway House employee -- a real marine biologist! -- who encouraged Ethan to continue learning and his love for science. Ethan is now determined to "be every type of scientist."

Reach for the stars, sweet boy. You can do and be anything you set your mind to.

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someday we may see a woman king, or: wylie meadow, on her second birthday

Yesterday would have been Wylie's second birthday.

It's impossible to believe that two years have passed since the day our daughter was born quietly into this world. In the wee hours of the night, as the 22nd slowly became the 23rd, I felt my body ache as it did at that same time two years ago. As I closed my eyes and willed myself to sleep, I could still feel each labor pain, every ounce of exhaustion and heartbreak that swept up my body as I pushed my daughter out into a world that would never know her.

The day was quiet. For Wylie's first birthday, we ordered a cake and celebrated her life around her memorial tree with friends. This year, quieter felt better. A day of reflection felt best, spent as a family.

As we did for her first birthday and will forever, we asked for friends and family to honor Wylie's life through random acts of kindness or donations to charity. As loss parents, it is our greatest fear that Wylie will be forgotten by the world. To my surprise, my social media feeds and text messages were flooded throughout the day with people remembering Wylie. Donations to charities in her name to help others, random acts of kindness and remembrances of her short life all came in from sun up until sun down. A friend's yoga studio began a pay it forward train in Wylie's name, even posting her name onto their Facebook page. Knowing how many smiles her name brought, well, it was sunshine in our cloudy day. I vowed when the day began to not focus or dwell upon those who have forgotten but to focus on those who remembered.

And so, so many remembered.

Of course, there is heartbreak. "Baby Wylie will never get to play with Carmen," Ethan said as we snuggled up on the couch. He's right. She won't. She won't get to experience life's simple joys, like feeling the sun on her skin or the waves of the ocean crashing against her legs. She won't get to laugh at a silly Internet meme or hear a song that tugs on her heart and impacts her profoundly with it's melody. She won't get to fall in love, experience her first heartbreak or start a family of her own. The she won'ts will forever take over the she will's simply because her heart was so very broken. There's no sense in it just as much as there will never be justice.

Thank you to everyone who remembered our little girl on her birthday. Thank you to everyone who spoke her name and wrapped us up in the warmth of your remembrance. Thank you for loving her, for loving us, for holding us close and helping us battle the isolation that often accompanies loss. Thank you for your kindness, for your generosity, for the good you've permeated into the world in her honor. On a hard day, you softened our fall. We added twelve more pages into her baby book thanks to you all and that, well, it brings me peace.

Grief comes in waves. I was first told this in the moments before my labor began by a grief counselor who held my hand with a sweet smile as if nothing could break her supportive stride. She would be right. The waves were especially tumultuous yesterday but yet we were able to walk safely out of the sea.

Thank you.

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