Dear James: Seven Months and Counting

James02 - 7 month

James – Nashville Airport – April 2014

Dear James:

You and your brother both – in my humble opinion – could turn the world on with your smiles.  One thing is for certain, you turn my world on with smiles and coos and all sorts of exploratory noises — even in the wee small hours of the morning.  Especially in the wee small hours of the morning.  I had no idea those hours could bring me so much joy while stumbling to get my first cup of coffee.

Don’t worry, I have yet to drop you.

I promised in my last letter post that I would start individual letters this month.  I was having trouble deciding which letter to write first, so I left it up to chance and drew your name out of a jar.  Next time, Jackson will be first.

The day you turned seven months old, we all flew to Nashville.  All things considered, you both were great, however, you do have a little drama when attempting to go to sleep in anything other than a sleep suit.  The passengers were patient with you.  It’s difficult not to be when you look at them and grin.  The funny thing about your going to sleep pattern is you tend to waver between crying and laughing so it makes for a rousing ten minutes one way or another.

You adjusted well to travel.  I am pleased about that since this weekend we head to Washington DC and at the end of the month we head to Chicago.  In Nashville we saw Annie and Robert.  Your Uncle Robert dressed up like the Easter Bunny just for you.  Your Daddy and I thought this might traumatize you, but as you can see, it did not.


Jackson and James (and Uncle Robert) – Nashville – April 2014

We went to Ryman Auditorium where you proceeded to test your voice.  Literally.  You were not crying, just vocalizing, happily.  After all, the acoustics are second only to the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.  You also ate your first sweet potato fry, which you found quite tasty.  Somehow I knew you would.  You, my boy, are an eater.

I suppose in these letters I should document all of the things you can do — sit-up, grab toys, laugh hysterically when I tickle you under the chin, grab your spoon and try to feed yourself and you can almost give yourself a bottle — and any minute, I believe you will be crawling.

According to all the books I don’t read, you’re right on schedule.

I love how you grab my arm when I carry you, and how you nuzzle into me when I am giving you a bottle.  You make these noises that I know will not be there forever, so I try to memorize the soundtrack and hold it in my heart.  When you’re a teenager driving me nuts; I know there are little things that will always make you my baby.  I want to remember those things when I am – in the words of my Mawmaw – “seeing red” – this was her term for “I’m ready to kill you, Tige.” Your KK’s version of this was just to call me Teressa Louise; loudly.

When I scream James Philip, you might want to run.

You are currently in a phase that I would call “pupby” or “babpy” — you are a cross between a puppy and a baby.  I put you down on the floor with all of your “chew toys” and you take turns grabbing them and shoving them in your mouth.  I wish I could say I sanitized them every night, but I don’t, so I am hoping for the best.  I’m told your immune system needs germs.

One of the things I love most right now is watching you and your brother interact.  You tend to roll on top of him and grab him.  Neither one of you seem to mind the entanglement.

As expressive as your face is, you cannot hide anything.  One day you and your brother are going to do something and when I ask who did it; I imagine it will go something like this:

Jackson, who did this? I will ask.

Not sure, Mama. He will reply without giving anything away.

James, who did this? I will ask.

Umm… not sure, Mama.  You will reply trying not to give anything away.

Are you really not sure, James?

We were just playing, Mama and it broke!  Jackson was chasing me and it was an accident, I promise. You will blurt out, unable to contain yourself.

I will smile and Jackson will say, James! Why do you always tell?

Because everything is written on your face my sweet boy.  Everything.  I love you to the moon and back and back.

Love, Mama

James - 7 month

James – Nashville – April 2014

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I Wish I Had Thought Of It …

Thing 1 and 2 - b

A few days ago I read a blog by my friend, Tonilyn Hornung titled, Goodnight, Breast Pump.

Before I had even read the actual blog, I immediately said to myself — boy, I wish I had thought of that.  But rather than trying to think of something equally as clever, I am just going to send you to her blog, which says it all for me.

As for me and my breast pump … our life together has officially come to an end.

I pumped from morning until night and in the middle of the night until they were four months old.  They both latched, and I breastfed both of them as much as I could, though I never trusted they were getting all the required ounces.  I was exhausted. I was drained, literally and figuratively, but I was determined to give them all I could of me for as long as I could give it.  As much as I dreaded pumping (especially when it was every two to three hours of pumping 50+ ounces of breast milk per day), you would have thought I would be thrilled to say my final goodnight to the breast pump.  I wasn’t.  In fact, as the inevitable started to happen, I began pumping more often in hopes of resurrecting my supply. My girls were not fooled.

My mind was saying I was ready, but my heart was not.

When I wrote this letter to the boys recently, I said it really did not matter in the end who was breast fed and who was bottle fed and who was this and who was that.  It doesn’t.  A lot of the things we do for our babies in their first year of life, we’re doing for ourselves.  We believe we should be giving the very best to our babies — and the definition of all that entails is different for each of us.  We are laying the groundwork for their health, helping them explore their world and creating a bond we hope will last a lifetime.  What is most important in the construction and the steps to get there are different for each of us.  Sometimes I think we all lose sight of that.

I was not breast fed.  I was not even formula fed because my Mom thought it smelled funny.  She gave me cow’s milk.  To this day I drink a big glass of milk with at least one meal per day — and it was about the only protein I could get down consistently during pregnancy.  Every body is different, I suppose.

I know the Dumplings will not remember what was in their bottle, but as the ounces dwindled I felt that one connection to them slowly slipping away.  I too, cried in the shower — which is really best place to have such a cry.

I am grateful I was able to provide their nourishment for as long as I did.  In the words of our pediatrician, “Don’t worry about it.”  So, yes, Goodnight, Breast Pump.

If you happen upon this blog as you find yourself saying adieu to your breast pump or breastfeeding, just remember, the only person who is really going to remember all of this is you.  You’re doing what is best for your baby.  Thank yourself and your girls and begin enjoying the next phase of their miraculous growth.  And if breastfeeding was not in your cards, again, in the words of our pediatrician, “Don’t worry about it.”

Jackson - Play Yard

Now we are moving on to the beginning stages of crawling.  And eating textures.  They can’t get enough chicken n’ dumplings, literally.  It’s their favorite meal.

Wouldn’t it be a damn shame if it wasn’t?

We’ve also started our own puppet theater.  Our first character is “green frog” sent to them by Grandpa Roy, which he purchased from this lovely Etsy store, Minorca.  Green Frog sings rousing renditions of I’d Like to Visit the Moon, It’s Not Easy Being Green and Ring of Fire.

Coming up next … Nashville.  Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go!


The Js and Kermit

James and Kermit


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44 Things You May Not Know About Me

I never do these on Facebook, but I thought the perfect place to write 44 bits of useless of useless information about myself would be on my own blog.  I’ll be honest, now that I actually have a little more time to write, I am having a little trouble finding my voice so to speak.

I’m having some struggles reconciling Mama Terry with Terry.  No matter how much I want to be this image I have of the perfect Mama … at the end of the day I am still just me.  Me being a Mama.  Some days I make homemade baby food, wash cloth diapers and read tons of books.  Some days I open a pouch, put on some Pampers and watch VocabuLarry.  Probably no different than any other Mama, I suppose.

No matter how much I want to follow the image of this fictional perfect Mama (as I continually say), the best thing to give our children is our authentic self.  I remember when I was a kid, I would sometimes wish my Mom would be the cupcake bringing, party throwing “perfect” Mom some of my friends had.

I actually remember a few times where my Mom came to volunteer and participate in things because she knew it would make me happy.  But looking back, I realize how hard it was for her to do those things and how uncomfortable she was.  It wasn’t her.  But it never meant she was not a great Mom.  She was.  My friends all loved her, and with small groups of us she was a lot of fun.  As I got older, I realized she hated crowds of unknown people and the inevitable small talk that comes with that.  (The apple does not fell very far from the tree about some things, I guess.)  I eventually stopped asking her because when she was uncomfortable I was uncomfortable.  When she was relaxed, I was relaxed — and that was the Mom I wanted to be around.

Terry and Her Mama

Mom and Me — February 2014

When Mama is good the kids are good.  I even see this with my own babies.  If I am the least bit stressed about anything, they pick up on it.

Writing for 60 Days and going to the mat, was truly one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  Now that I have put away the breast pump (not without some tears) and started sleeping through the night I’m ready to get back to the mat.  Really back.

In the meantime, I wrote 44 useless bits of information about myself you might enjoy.  Or not.  One for each year of my life.

1.)  I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in Tripler Hospital on August 2 to two native Texans.  I cost $7.50 to be delivered, only because my Mom had to eat during her hospital stay.  My Dad was in the Navy at the time.

2.) A dog bit me on my left arm when I was six.

3.) I stole a Snoopy doll from Joske’s when I was nine.  My Mom figured it out and I had to take it all back to the manager of the store, complete with police officer.

4.) My first cat was named Buffy.  So was my husband’s. (It’s Kismet!)

5.) My husband was born on October 5.  My Maid of Honor’s husband was born on October 5.  My Maid Of Honor was also born in Hawaii.  What are the odds?

6.) I have lived in every United States time zone.

7.) I never blow dry my hair because I find it boring.

8.) I secretly wish they had Garanimals for adults.  I sometimes wish I was Charlie Brown so I could wear the same outfit everyday.  Dressing decisions frustrate me.  I guess my mother knew this, which is why she bought my clothes and put them on my bed.  Except for this outfit, which I bought myself.


Senior Year Photo — September 1986

Don’t ask … but check out the socks.  Ironically, these are Charlie Brown colors …

9.) I am not a fan of summer.

10.) I love to swim at night in a pool heated all day by the Texas sun.

11.) I love to sit and meditate in empty churches.  Specifically, The Little Church Around the Corner in NYC.  I did this a lot when I lived there.

12.) After watching Airport 75′ I was afraid to let my Dad fly to Salt Lake City.  So afraid, they had to tell me he was flying somewhere else.

13.) Boomer (my cat of 17.5 years) was named after Boomer Esiason.  A real person.

14.) Raylan (my cat of almost one year) is named after Raylan Givens.  A fictional Elmore Leonard character from the FX show Justified.

15.) I grind my teeth.

16.) My sneeze is extremely loud.  It drives my husband crazy.

17.) The thing I hate the most about LA is … wait for it … the weather.  There is none.

18.) The thing I love most about LA is my husband.

19.) I love reading during thunderstorms and snuggled up next to real wood fires.

20.) I hate small talk.  I would rather not talk at all.

21.) Fall is my favorite season.

22.) I produced a circus in Caracas.

23.) There was a time I thought first birthday parties were stupid.  Now I have a Pinterest board titled “We’re Turning One!”

24.) I shaved my arms in third grade.

25.) I’ve met everyone from the cast of Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley.

26.) My favorite shows as a teenager were Hart to Hart and Cagney & Lacey.

27.) I have an I Helped Save Cagney & Lacey bumper sticker from all the fan letters I wrote when they threatened to cancel the show.

28.) I fell asleep at a Genesis concert.

29.) I first tried smoking grass by smoking actual yard grass with my childhood friend Gennifre.

30.) I want to build my dream home on a farm, but I don’t want to be a farmer.

31.) I was a bartender in NYC.  I make great margaritas.

32.) I had what could be construed as too much to drink in Chicago with Gloria Reuben from E.R. after an event I did for Marshall Field’s.  She was a lot of fun!


33.) We filmed an interview with Sarah Palin at her house in Alaska, it was 17 below zero and her husband was going jogging.  I was extremely disappointed Piper was not home — she was the one I really wanted to meet.

Sarah Palin and Me

34.) My first overseas trip was to Russia in 1992.

35.) I love camping and fishing.

36.) I prefer lakes over the ocean.

37.) I’m extremely sensitive and sentimental.

38.) I converted to Judaism.

39.) Blue Bell Banana Pudding is my favorite ice cream and I once paid $100 to have 3 half gallons shipped to Los Angeles.

40.) I can hike for hours, I can’t run to save my life.

41.) My husband and I hiked to the top of Half Dome for our honeymoon, which I wrote about here.

42.) I never wear heels.

43.) I miss reading real books and writing real letters.

44.) I am scared every time I hit publish on this blog.


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