our family in one of my favorite spots in all of nyc...

 first, i am happy to report that the lowest depths of sleeplessness meant we only had 1 option- i took harvey to the pediatrician last thursday who confirmed he was decently healthy (still sick, but no infections or overly-concerning issues), and she told me it was time to let him cry. she made me promise i'd dedicate a solid week. saturday as she pushed the elevator button, elle said, "mom, i think the doctor was right. this is good for everyone in the long run. we can do it!!" i'd just laid harvey down for a nap, and mike offered to listen to the screams while elle & i did a little retail therapy via the anthro sale. (it's the best part about being in a marriage- the teamwork. especially like this case when it fairs much more in my favor than his;) we're still very much in the middle of sleep training, but the good news is there has most definitely been a massive improvement. the first night was the worst. of course. there were a few really awful patches in between (no one says what to do when they wake up every 45 minutes screaming- i get what you do the first time you lay them down, but after that?!?!! it's all a guessing game). the last 2 nights have been much more like they were when he was a baby- but better! he's going down with less of a fight (sometimes no fight!), and only waking 2-3 times to eat, then going back to bed and sleeping until 6:30- heaven. HEAVEN! i'm still nervous though. and there won't be any counting chickens before they hatch. but i am so grateful. and i need to share that!

as we speak, he's napping. in his crib. more than that, i rocked him and held him and sang to him, and we had a little moment of pure heaven where he lifted his head, looked into my eyes, and opened his mouth- i kissed his little lips and waggy tongue over and over and over, and he just stared into my soul, then he laid his head back down. his 21 lbs. of warm weight leaned into my chest, and his little fleece-covered butt rested on my forearm. his fuzzy head brushed my cheek, and i kissed the back of it a million times. then a million more. his breathing got heavier and slower. then, as i laid him alllll the way down into the bottom of his mini crib, which is smushed between closet doors and a bunk bed, he looked back at me with his eyes half-open and that sweet little angel smiled at me, and rolled onto his belly before closing his eyes.

and then i nearly collapsed into a puddle of joy. and humility. and the most intense love any human could ever feel.
sam & ryan looney were in town- they're the prettiness behind our travel passport (see sam's photo site here as well), and we met up on a frigid day in dumbo for a photo swap. it was amazing. and the photos literally make my heart sing. sam & ryan are incredible- like, i'm flattered they were even willing to hang with us cause they're super cool. also, sam is a genius with that camera because, as mentioned: COLD. and kids were: COLD. 

but these are exactly what i hoped for: us. with one of my favorite backdrops ever. she captured us in a time, and a season, that has a piece of my soul like no other ever will.
capturing this time means so much to me. so much. i know we just got photos taken, but i'll cherish this bunch forever. 

thanks to sam for making magic happen!

and here's to warmer, healthier january days, and lots of sleep-filled, cozy nights.


functioning on no sleep...

i think a post like this has been written about this age with each of my kids- one where i sob as i type it out, overwhelmed, exhausted, and completely clueless how to move forward as a functioning human being. except of course, i have managed to continue on. even though each time i am positive this is the worst it’s ever been. when i explain what is happening sleep-wise in our home to others, i think people either 1) assume i’m exaggerating, or 2) think i’m crazy. i swear i have never met another person who has been blessed with kids who are such horrendous sleepers- to the point that it’s actually shocking. how is it shocking? TELL ME THIS IS NOT JUST ME!!! what is happening!?

because i’ve read and googled and prayed and begged and racked my brain endlessly on the topic, i assume i share only to plead for sympathy, and/or in hopes that perhaps i’m missing something obvious? i’m not sure. 

here i am again. 

i have a sinus infection. someone has been sick in our home basically since harvey was born, but in particular, the last month straight. nonstop. colds. stomach bugs. teething. whatever-it’s-called-when-you’re-constantly-sick-from-not-sleeping. all overlapping. my main fear with this apartment- apartment living in general- is this very situation: what happens when people are sick or when “the baby” (that baby we always hypothetically discussed) doesn’t sleep. it’s every ounce as terrible as i imagined. if you haven’t seen our apartment, imagine living in a hotel room. voila: mental picture complete. no hallways. no extra space. the bathroom is also likely much smaller than any hotel you’ve ever stayed in, so that’s not even an option- trust me, we’ve thought of anywhere extra to stick a human, and there aren’t many solutions (elle suggested above the kitchen cupboards, which actually wasn’t so bad of an idea…)

i’ve broken every rule i ever had as a parent. we’ve tried everything. we’ve created bad habits, but it’s out of sheer desperation. with elle (also horrendous in terms of sleep), we were firm and consistent in our unwillingness to bend. with harvey, we’ve bent like gumby. he’s slept in our bed. arms. being rocked, walked, swayed, swooshed… ANYTHING to just get a moment of sleep. mike sleeps on the floor. the couch. we rotate around to where harvey is alone in OUR bed. can you believe that? his crib is useless. if we let him cry it out, he throws up. or wakes up and won’t go back to sleep. it lasts hours. breaks for a few minutes, then begins again. during the night, he cries, moans, fusses, plays, talks, scratches, rolls…. anything and everything. i used to be able to nurse him to stop. last night, he nursed 6 times between 9pm - 1am, and was wide awake for the next hour as i cried. i didn’t even get to sleep last night. not at all. not for 5 minutes. nothing is working. as i type this, i can confidently say i haven’t slept more than 60 straight minutes, day or night, in probably a month. A MONTH. likely longer. 

just yesterday i went to the doctor and he told me i needed sleep or i wouldn’t get better.

last night elle & jude fought until they were both sent to bed early, sobbing, for an hour, and in a fit of maturity all i could think to yell was, “AT LEAST IT ISN’T A WEEKEND!” how bad is it that my only saving grace is sending 2/3 to school so i can breathe. well, the universe is apparently against me (trying to kill me)- not 5 minutes after i said that, school was cancelled due to a huge snow storm. i climbed into bed- a little sliver of my murphy bed not taken up by a 20 lb. baby- hoping tonight was the night i would get some uninterrupted sleep. just as i slid the sheets over me, harvey started crying. so naturally, i followed suit.

i should add that the kids had 10 days off school for holiday break (they were only 2 days back into the school routine this week when school was cancelled); we spent THE ENTIRE BREAK inside. it’s been freezing cold. single digit temps the last couple of weeks. mike & i got colds christmas day, so that added to the fun. i only left the house for photo shoots. which i’m sure is why i ended up with a sinus infection- being in the cold for hours at a time. and, well, not sleeping.

so nights like last night are becoming common now that nothing works for more than a night at a time, except, like clockwork, the older 2 come out of their rooms at 5am (they are still inconsistent sleepers- the other night jude was up screaming at least 5 times).

so the issue is, what do i do to create something that works for more than a second?? i’ve removed every social activity from my calendar. we’ve tried crying it out. we’ve tried gentle soothing methods. i’ve tried feeding on demand. i should add that mike is there, too. he’s awake with me and trying, too. we used to have a system where i fed, he burped and put harvey back down. that was back when harvey ate 3 times a night, BUT DIDN’T CRY. i wished those nights away, and now i’d give anything to have them back! 

the storm is in full-effect. i’ve cried all the tears i have within my body- between the tears and snot, i’m freshly dehydrated. mike is at work, in zombie-mode. the kids are on their umpteenth hour of youtube and kitchen science experiments (i just let them do what they want- the only rule is not to blow anything up). and i sit here and try to soothe my sleepy, worried mind as i convince myself this is for sure the most challenging part of parenthood to-date. 
photos by sam looney.


christmas 2017

i kind of love that christmas fell on a monday. the kids had school up until the weekend, so by the time saturday came, it really felt like we were ramping up into the holiday! it helped that saturday i had 4 photo shoots scheduled but i ended up with ZERO because it was pouring rain allll day (granted, they were moved to other days, but still. a free saturday!? that hasn't happened in months!) christmas eve we went to church (and only an hour instead of three!), then we spent the day together as a family at home. before bed the kids opened new pj's... which i don't think we've ever done before??
 all i wanted was sleep. harvey DID improve and rather than waking every 45 minutes, he made 2 stretches TWO HOURS LONG! i'll take what i can get. also, he's taken over our bed. this is ridiculous. mike slept on the couch. and woke up with a man cold. actually, i do feel bad because now I HAVE that sickness, and it sucks (it's more chest flu than cold). but happy news! the kids! so happy... here they are before we let them escape. they woke up at 4:30. we made them watch the ipad until 6. 
little snowflakes were falling when we woke up!! and the city started to glow as we listened to music and we opened presents & ate our traditional fruit baskets w/ croissants...
(pretend there was some sort of presentation... there wasn't.)
 the kids' presents to each other are always the besssst. elle got a remote control car (again) for jude- he adores it. jude got elle a squishy donut thing from claire's? something she saw on youtube. who knows;) 
 all elle wanted was an american girl doll. julie. nana, papa, me & her dad made all her magical dreams come true;)
 the kids got me gloves for when i'm on shoots, and mike got me an iwatch, which i was NOT expecting since we don't do presents & i've never really wanted one? (his were silly little things i thought would be fun surprises- jokes on me.) but it's been fun so far! it's actually really helpful already when i'm on photo shoots since i usually can't get to my phone... anyway, way to go, mikey!
 jude got a gumball machine from us. the gum is already gone;) 
the last present from us was a movie! we walked to the theater in our pj's and reclined as we watched 'ferdinand-' hilarious. totally recommend it.

and that's pretty much it! a few more days in these same pj's due to the aforementioned sickness. still some sleeplessness. pathetically cold weather (single digits- gag). and january is approaching rapidly!

christmas 2017, you were a pleasure.
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