Welcome To The Cradle Chronicles!

These are the crazy confessions of a first time mommy, and her adventures in world "mom-ination." If you are coming to this blogsite by way of People.com, chances are you’re already familiar with my writing style and “Mommy-centric” blog fodder. If not, I'll introduce myself with this brief summary: Suffice it to say, I have kids. Two, in fact. Now, I’m not suggesting this defines me entirely, but it certainly goes a long way toward explaining my daily trials and tribulations with spit-up and dirty diapers. Which brings me to… Welcome to The Cradle Chronicles! I hope you’ll continue coming back again and again for more of my motherhood anecdotes, and I look forward to hearing from you. Please keep an eye out for my book, "Situation Momedy," to be released by Medallion Press in 2015 and feel free to follow me on Twitter too!

--Photos in Welcome section courtesy of Mimosa Arts Photography--

December 19, 2014
Artisan Caramels, by Sandy Arevalo

Artisan Caramels, by Sandy Arevalo

 

             In advance of the Christmas holiday (ho ho ho, and joyful, happy tidings and all that), I’ve teamed up with my friend, Sandy Arevalo of Firefly Confections, to do a special sweet treat giveaway this month. Sandy is the confectionery genius behind the wonderful salted caramels I’ve spoken so highly of on several occasions in the past. In fact, she’s so awesome, she wrote a stunning recipe book about them, which she’s in the process of releasing! I’m so darn smitten with those scrumptious little things I even contributed a quote for the book cover. Which brings me to the contest… Sandy has generously offered to give away a signed copy of her new book, along with one pound of yummy salted caramel! All you have to do is write an email to me at: Jenna@Cradlechronicles.com letting me know what your favorite Christmas dessert is. It can be as brief or as lengthy as you’d like. Please title your email ”I’m Dreaming of A Christmas Caramel,” and I will draw one lucky winner right after Christmas. Just think what a delicious start you’d have to the New Year! In case you still aren’t swayed (a.k.a. the spiked eggnog is getting to your head), Sandy has graciously given us a sample recipe to indulge in. I can say, from experience, that these are simply sublime! Introducing, her Apple Pie Caramels:

 

Apple Pie Caramel Recipe

Apple Pie Caramel Recipe

 

If you’d like to contact Sandy, she does her best to answer any and all caramel-related questions! Email: Sandy@fireflyconfections.com/ Facebook: @Firefly Confections/ Twitter & Instagram: @Sandysbaking

Special Appearance: For those of you who are in the Nashville area, Sandy is scheduled to do a signing at Parnassus Books on January 24th, at 2 PM. I’ll be there too, barring any unforeseen, crazy incidents that would prevent me from it. And it’ll take something monstrous to keep from my caramels, so Sandy and I hope to see you there!

*** The salted caramels that the winner will receive contain dairy, and are made in a facility that handles foods containing wheat (gluten), dairy, soy, nuts, seeds, and chocolate. Please make sure you are able to consume these confections before entering the contest. We don’t want anyone hospital-bound over a box of caramels!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book, “Situation Momedy,” in 2015!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

December 12, 2014
My Elephant Heart Necklace

My Elephant Heart Necklace

 

        The Christmas season is about keeping our loved ones close. For some of us that means traveling hundreds of miles by plane, train, or automobile so we can trek up the snow-covered driveway to our parents’ house, for a family gathering where we’ll do our best to dodge Grandma’s scary homemade fruitcake, overdose on Celine Dion singing O’ Holy Night (which only takes hearing it once, in my opinion), and listen to our crazy uncle (who has hit the peppermint Schnapps a bit too hard) tell stories about his recent trip to an Alpaca farm. For others it means staying home and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, baking special cookies to set out for Santa, and praying our kids don’t wake us up to open presents at 5 am (wish me luck on that!). Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the days ahead, or which religious holy day you may practice, I imagine you’ll spend the majority of the holiday treasuring your family. It’s beautiful when a year filled with the typical hustle and bustle of school, extracurricular activities, and hectic work schedules culminates in some much-needed time together. But we need to refuel on all of that love more than once a year!

I was recently given a stunning gift that serves as a daily reminder of that notion, in the form of a necklace… an Elephant Heart Charm necklace with the birthstones of my girls, my husband, and myself. Courtesy of the generous folks at Elephant Heart Jewelry, I now wear that symbol of love everywhere I go. The meaningful idea behind the jewelry is the importance of ”carrying those you love with you, and always keeping them close to your heart.” I thought this was so endearing, I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to it. I figure my daughters won’t always be small enough to rest against my chest, as in the photo above, but that isn’t a phase a necklace can outgrow. I also figured the timing is perfect, since some of you might still be searching for that perfect Christmas gift for your own mom, sister, or mommy friend. If you’re secretly hoping for one too, may I also suggest sending your husband this way for gift ideas? In honor of the holiday season, Elephant Heart is even offering free priority shipping during the month of December, so it’s win-win!

 

Elephant Heart Necklace

 

The Elephant Heart Charm Necklace is an incredibly heartwarming gift to give and receive… But don’t just take my word for it. My former Blossom co-star, Mayim Bialik, has been open about her love of the necklace. She even wore it on a visit to the White House, and mentioned it in one of her Kveller blog posts. And she’s not the only one! An impressive list of celebrity moms have been spotted around town sporting their own special necklaces (including Camila Alves McConaughey and Rebecca Gayheart), and I’m not surprised. After all, we moms are suckers for anything that reflects our love for our kids, aren’t we? For that matter, you can put anyone’s birthstone on there. It’s a wonderful way to honor family in general– parents, siblings, best friends, or even Grandma… despite that atrocious fruitcake!

You can check out Elephant Heart’s full line of Animal Charm Necklaces here. And tell them I sent you!!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book, “Situation Momedy,” in 2015!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

December 5, 2014

 

As if it isn’t obvious, I’m pretty darn mesmerized by my daughters. Call it smitten, enchanted, enamored, infatuated, captivated, bewitched, entranced, or just plain hypnotized. No matter the word of choice, it all leads to the same sentiment… I’m head over heels in love with them both! If I worried for even a moment that my second daughter might not be as special and spellbinding as my first, boy was I wrong. There’s just something about a newborn baby that renders me starry-eyed and silly with glee. More specifically, this little girl of mine is uniquely wonderful, and I refuse to take it for granted! In keeping with that idea, here are five reasons I absolutely adore having a newborn baby. (I might have listed thousands, if it didn’t contradict the whole ”Five Things” concept I’ve got going here… )

 

  1. That smell! Who can deny the beauty of inhaling a brand new baby’s fragrance? Certainly not I. It must be some sort of primal instinct that leads us to spend our afternoons endlessly sniffing that sweet little noggin. If you’re a parent, you are likely smiling at fond memories right now; if you’re a non-parent, the visual of purposely sticking your nose into a kid’s hair for hours on end may only be slightly more exciting than a root canal. But trust me when I say that many a mom has wished she could bottle up that essence to save for a rainy day when her kids are grown. Eau de Newborn is a powerful and intoxicating memory trigger! But parents aren’t the only ones who can appreciate it… even Gray noticed it immediately. The first time she met her baby sister she leaned over and kissed her on the forehead, then started to walk away. Stopping in her tracks and turning back, she returned to breathe in the scent of Marlowe’s hair and exclaimed in awe, “Mommy! Marlowe smells so good!” If a two-year-old is capable of observing something so delicate, it’s clearly magical! I have no clue when the scent will dissipate, so I’m enjoying it while I can!

 

  1. Itty bitty everything. Fingers, toes, grunts, coos, sneezes, pajamas, bloomers, and even diaper contents. There’s nothing like a tiny human to make you stop and appreciate the little things! It’s a wonderful reminder to pay close attention to details, prompting me to absorb each and every moment with both of my girls.

 

The "Accidental" Smile

The “Accidental” Smile

 

  1. The ”accidental” smile. I know it’s probably just gas, and a messy diaper change is likely in my near future, but I’ll take it! That brief flash of my daughter’s grin is a glimpse into her spirit. It’s one of the first signs of the little girl she is becoming…

 

  1. I get to show my iPhone camera an inordinate amount of love. I mean, what’s NOT worth taking a photo of at this stage? Everything is novel and new, and must be documented in more painstaking detail than a National Geographic special on the migration of the Monarch Butterfly.

 

Marlowe Discovers We Have Dogs

Marlowe Discovers We Have Dogs

 

  1. There’s so much to look forward to… well, actually, there’s everything to look forward to! There are the obvious milestones: a first giggle, a first step, crawling, talking, and tasting solid food for the first time. But there are also the initial milestones that stir your parental senses and sentimentality: the first time your baby looks you in the eye or turns toward the sound of your voice, the first time she grabs your finger and squeezes, or the first time she stops crying because you’ve started singing to her. A few of my recent personal favorites? The first time my husband fell asleep with our new little girl on his chest, the first time Gray requested to hold her baby sister, and the first time Marlowe realized we had dogs… and clearly got a kick out of it! See the above photo montage for proof.

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book, “Situation Momedy,” in 2015!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

November 28, 2014

 

My Poor Little Bruised Bailey...

My Poor Little Bruised Bailey…

 

Sometimes life hands you a few lemons, and sometimes it hands you a whole tree of them… super sour ones that require a boatload of sugar in order to make palatable lemonade. I’m contemplating buying stock in a grove somewhere. My point is that November has been a doozy here in our house. Gray is getting over a cold and an ear infection that keeps overstaying its welcome, and Marlowe has a cold and some serious tummy troubles that leave her screaming like a banshee for hours at a time. Typically just in time to encroach upon Gray’s naps and bedtime. Go figure. Our oldest Pug has been diagnosed with arthritis of the hips, Scoliosis in his back, and a fractured spinal column (the latter is thoroughly baffling, as the vet said it would require a relatively traumatic fall to accomplish that, and no such thing has ever occurred), and our other pup, Bailey, had to be rushed to the emergency vet this week when one side of her face suddenly began blowing up like a balloon animal. Turns out she’d managed to split her cheek open on something in the yard. She wound up with stitches and one of those goofy plastic collars that looks like we should be posting her on our roof as a makeshift satellite dish. Throw in my c-section recovery, and we’ve had a month full of medical melodrama that has thwarted our sleep schedules and taxed our wallets. Nonetheless, I am feeling exceedingly thankful as we head into our post-Turkey Day weekend… Thankful to have an incredible, enchanting, healthy (cold not withstanding) new baby girl, to be healing quickly after my surgery, to have a daughter who has such a sweet spirit that she’s making an easy transition into being a big sister, to have a husband who finds wonder, humor, and inspiration in our estrogen-heavy household (though he may change his mind when our girls are teenagers), to have a mom who was willing to come to town for three weeks and take care of one daughter while I gave birth to another, to be releasing my first book next year (yay!!!), and to have more love and support than I could ever dream of. When I think about all of the beauty and blessings that surround me, those lemons don’t taste quite so sour after all. I mean, how could I not be thankful for these guys??

My Beautiful Blessings

My Beautiful Blessings

 

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that you have a house full of healthy and happy humans!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book, “Situation Momedy,” in 2015!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

November 21, 2014

 

 

         One of my babies is is no longer a baby, and that passage of time hit me with the force of a mighty wind once Marlowe came along. I used to stare at Gray’s tiny fingers and dream of what the future might hold for us. Now her hands are busy making expressive gestures to accompany her ever-growing dialogue, building castles out of blocks, and daintily sipping tea from porcelain cups. They caress my face when she is tired, tuck themselves into mine while crossing the street, hug me before bed each night, and wave goodbye as she happily trots off to daycare. Those hands are getting more and more independent as the days go by and it is, predictably, bittersweet. It also takes having a second pair of tiny fingers to admire to another level altogether. These new fingers prompt new dreams, while simultaneously kindling beautiful reveries of days gone by. I am, in short, feeling exceedingly sentimental.

Marlowe is, of course, a different baby with her own unique traits and characteristics. The exquisite eyes that look up at me are hers and hers alone, and the sleepy smile (that I imagine is still gas at this stage) is stunningly special and one-of-a-kind. Yet there are facial features and mannerisms that remind me of Gray so wholeheartedly, it has moved me to tears on several occasions…both for this enchanting new child before me, and for the child she so closely resembles. In a way, Marlowe has resurrected my memories of Gray’s infancy. In a sense, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to go back and appreciate Gray’s first days, as I marvel over every coo and cuddle with Marlowe. It has reminded me of moments I’d already forgotten with my first daughter, and yet I’m experiencing them for the first time with my second daughter in that magically delicious way that only an untouched experience can offer. It’s bewitching and wonderfully overwhelming… and I’m loving every moment of it.

 

Déjà vu “all over again…”

 

In Their Happy Place (L: Marlowe/R: Gray)

In Their Happy Place (L: Marlowe/R: Gray)

In Shock & Awe (L: Marlowe/R: Gray)

In Shock & Awe (L: Marlowe/R: Gray)

In Cahoots With Mommy (L: Marlowe/R: Gray)

In Cahoots With Mommy (L: Marlowe/R: Gray)

In La La Land (L: Marlowe/R: Gray)

In La La Land (L: Marlowe/R: Gray)

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book, “Situation Momedy,” in 2015!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

November 14, 2014

               I’ll admit any desire I had to pen this week’s post severely waned once November 1st rolled around… In case you haven’t been following along, that’s when I gave birth to my sweet new baby girl, Marlowe! Needless to say, the notion of writing any sort of blog, book chapter, or even thank you note, suddenly took a back seat to staring at her gorgeous little face. Hell, at this point I’m even hard pressed to draw up a grocery list. Can you blame me? Who wants to ponder poultry or contemplate cantaloupe when they have this beauty to gaze upon?

 

Marlowe Monroe

Marlowe Monroe

 

So what’s a mom to do in the aforementioned pickle? Well, I’m currently holding my sleeping baby in one arm, while typing with the other. After all, a multitasking mom’s gotta do what a multitasking mom’s gotta do! You can likely expect some brief posts in the near future, as I try to divide my time between a two-year old, a newborn, and a book deadline at the beginning of next year. In fact, I may switch to writing blogs every other week for a while, but we’ll tackle that topic at some point down the road. I’m hoping the idea of an entire book worth of anecdotes and parenting adventures will buy me a little latitude where the lack of new blogs are concerned. I hope? Pretty please?

In the meantime, I thought I’d share my photo (actually, photos) of the month. I realize we are only two weeks into November, but it’s already tough to imagine any other pictures replacing the poignancy of these… I couldn’t choose just one.

The first cuddle I had with my two daughters: I didn’t want any visitors on day one of my hospital stay, but the exception was Gray. My mom (who was taking care of her and holding down the fort while we were away, thank God!) brought her to us at the hospital. They spent the afternoon visiting, and we treasured every minute of it. We snuggled, held hands, talked about the significance and excitement of being a big sister, and celebrated welcoming more love into our family. It was one of the most memorable and stunning moments of my life. Love knows no bounds.

 

The First Cuddle

The First Cuddle

 

The first time Gray held her baby sister: I know I posted this last week, but it deserved to be posted again! I wouldn’t trade my little sister for anything in the world, and something tells me Gray will feel the same. In fact, I suspect she already does. I have one honored and pleased big sister on my hands!

 

The First Time Gray Held Her Baby Sister

The First Time Gray Held Her Baby Sister

 

The first professional photo of my girls: Not all hospital photos turn out well, but this one is incredible. It captures Gray’s personality and Marlowe’s newborn innocence, while still managing to show the wonder and pride of a big sister loving on her new sibling. I’m in awe and blessed beyond belief.

 

The First Professional Photo My Girls Took (photo credit: Impressions Photography)

The First Professional Photo Of My Girls (photo credit: Impressions Photography)

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book, “Situation Momedy,” in 2015!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

 

November 7, 2014
7 pounds, 4 ounces of Pure Perfection!

7 Pounds, 4 Ounces of Perfection!

 

 

Please join me in welcoming our new little girl, Marlowe Monroe!  I’m making this post a super quick one, as I’m still recovering and bonding with my sweet baby. Little Marlowe was born on November 1st, at 12:35 PM, and weighed in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces. She was 18.25 inches long, and she’s pure enchantment! Gray is beyond excited to have a new baby sister… I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

 

We're All Enchanted

We’re All Enchanted

 

A Tale of Two SIsters

A Tale of Two Sisters

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book, “Situation Momedy,” in 2015!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

  • Carrie says:

    Congratulations on the newest addition to your sweet little family! I cannot wait to see more pictures of Gray and Marlowe together as they grow. All the best!

  • I know this is a little late, but I just watched your update on OWN and learned about your blog. It’s exciting to visit the site today and see your wonderful news! Congratulations!

October 31, 2014

 

Farmers Market Selfies

Farmers Market Selfies

 

In honor of Halloween and the birth of our next daughter, my husband and I have devoted much of our October to combining a lot of quality family time with fall-related outings. And since our new little one can really make her grand entrance at any time she pleases, we thought we ought to get our annual pumpkin picking out of the way before we found ourselves hospital-bound!

Gray has been eagerly awaiting her baby sister, but I suspect she still has no concept of what she’s really in for. As a new sibling can prompt feelings of separation anxiety and confusion over divided attention, we are doing our best to offer her some special one-on-one time over these next few weeks. Choosing her own pumpkin was first on Gray’s list of requests, and we were happy to oblige.

As you may recall from last year’s blog posts, our local farmer’s market is a favorite stop on the weekend agenda. This is especially true during the autumn season, when vendors come out in droves. Suffice it to say we went home with far more produce than merely a Jack-O’-Lantern or two! But it isn’t a colorful display of gourds that put these photos on my radar… it’s that smile on my kid’s face. (Because how can you not grin wildly when you’re amped up on Kettle corn and a pumpkin scouting high?) Fun was had by all, I can promise you that.

As an accompanying side story, I thought I’d include two cute comedic anecdotes from our trip. The number of funny quips coming out of Gray’s mouth seems to be growing exponentially these days, so I hope you get a little giggle out of them like we did…

 

Makeup Mischief

 As we were preparing to leave for the farmer’s market, Gray followed me into the bathroom, where I intended to wash my face and commence my morning makeup routine.

 

Gray: “Mommy, are you putting makeup on?”

Me: “Yes, I am”

Gray: “So you don’t hurt peoples?”

 

Um… REALLY??!!

 

Geriatric Gourds

           While making her pumpkin selections, which she was quite particular about, Gray spotted some bizarre looking things that piqued her curiosity. There was the squash that looked like a green Python, all-white pumpkins whose validity she questioned, and an abundance of mini munchkin pumpkins that tickled her to no end. But she was especially puzzled over a gray pumpkin she discovered. Noting it’s coloring, she inquired, “Mommy, that pumpkin is gray. Does that mean it’s really old?”

 

Pumpkin Pickin'

Pumpkin Pickin’

 

Wishing you and your family a safe and fun Halloween! I look forward to having some baby news for you soon!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book, “Situation Momedy,” in 2015!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

October 24, 2014

 

Bienvenue!

Bienvenue!

 

              I know it’s crazy to turn down a celebratory gift-giving extravaganza, but I was staunchly opposed to having a baby shower for our newest little munchkin. After such a wonderful and incredibly generous turnout for Gray’s shower two and a half years ago, I couldn’t fathom asking folks to do it all over again! I didn’t want people to feel obligated to buy us something, when we have everything we need and then some.

Cut to: a bunch of our friends pooled together and suggested a “Diaper Drop” instead of the traditional shower. I’d never heard of this concept, but I’ll admit I was immediately persuaded. If you’re in the dark like I was, a Diaper Drop is a chance for friends and family to share in your new baby excitement, while simultaneously dropping off diapers and wipes. And who can’t use those? It’s not like we saved those hand-me-downs from Gray (thank God). So, lo’ and behold, we sort of wound up with a shower anyway, despite my heavy protestations… and darned if it wasn’t a blast!

Thanks to our dear friends Beth, Brad, Brittany, JD, Sarah, Brian, and Michael, (apparently it takes a village to throw us a party!) we wound up with an incredibly fun Sunday afternoon, spent munching on French-themed hors d’oeuvres, laughing with some of our closest friends, and stockpiling diapers galore! Check out the photographic evidence to prove it…

 

La Famille

La Famille

The gorgeous food! (Macarons by Le Macaron in Nashville)

The gorgeous food! (Macarons by Le Macaron in Nashville)

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

October 17, 2014

      In the biggest news since I found out I was having baby #2…

I’ve just secured a publishing deal!!!!!!!!!!!

My book, “Situation Momedy,” will be released in 2015, thanks to the awesome folks at Medallion Press! I’ve been working on this project since Gray was born, so I’m more than slightly thrilled to be moving forward with it. I can’t wait to give you all an excuse to read a full-length version of my mommy memoirs, and I hope you’ll stick with me and support my new endeavor!!

Stay tuned for additional details…

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. Please forgive the short and sweet blog post this week, but I just couldn’t see clouding this exciting announcement with any anecdotes or recipes. I promise to resume my typically long-winded narratives next week!

 

PPS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!