Letter to Zoe, 12 Months

Zoe- 12M

Ah, my dear, dear, Zoe,

 

Window shopping in Chinatown.

Window shopping in Chinatown.

Where do I even begin? I have not done the best job of chronicling your babyhood thus far. I began writing letters to Eli when he was 18 months old, and I always wished that I had begun right at the beginning. Then I got a second chance, with you. And you know what? I hadn’t figured in how overwhelmed this mama gets during that first year, especially since this mama births babies who don’t sleep. So, please know, I’m doing my best, and a lack of a well documented babyhood is in no way related to any lack of love, because of that, my girl, you have plenty!

Zoe on the kiddie train.

Inasmuch as I haven’t written an update for you since you were (ahem) 3 1/2 months old, I have a digital mountain of a backlog of photos. This letter may be a bit lengthy, so settle in, get comfy and enjoy. As most people at one time or another wonder what they were like as a baby, here is a bit of a description of the unique joy that is you…

Then... back when you stayed where we put you (about 3 months old).

Then… back when you stayed where we put you (about 3 months old).

Now... well, actually two months ago.

Now… well, actually two months ago.

You are a baby on the go! You combat-crawled at 4 1/2 months, crawled by 6, walked pushing things in front of you (including your brother in a wagon, no picture as I was too busy hovering to catch you before your noggin hit the sidewalk), and walked alone by 9 1/2 months. If there is one thing you are, it is driven!

Chasing after Eli.

Chasing after Eli.

While you are way ahead of the game in the gross motor department there are other areas where you have not been progressing quite on schedule. You have sensory processing issues which affect you in different ways. One is that eating solid food has been a challenge for you. This means that you are a hungry baby, but being much too busy to really tank up during the day, you still nurse like a newborn at night. The best of nights you are only up 3 or 4 times. On so many others you want to nurse 10 or more times a night. Even so you have fallen by 50 percentile points on the weight charts so we are working with occupational therapists and your pediatrician to help you over this developmental speed bump. In the meantime you have one tired mama who is groggily stumbling through motherhood as best she can. The fact that it is a minor miracle to achieve any nap longer than 20 minutes for you doesn’t help matters much. For a baby who doesn’t eat or sleep much you sure have a LOT of energy!

As far as going to sleep, the only one who seems to be able to lull you into dreamland is your daddy. He dances you down to sleep pretty much every night. With me you will relax and nurse, then spring up again signing “all done” with all vigor as you flounce off the bed and out of the bedroom.

IMG_2687Sellers-M

Photo credit: Mary Hurlbutt

But your daddy… well, he has special powers and and as he moves and sings you just melt into his chest. He then often keeps you against him for a couple of hours so that I can get a bit of sleep. In response, you have developed daddy-attachment much earlier in life than you brother did.

Make a wish...

Make a wish…

IMG_0887

You are now quite a fan of cake!

You are now quite a fan of cake!

Another area of development that was of concern was speech. Not that much is expected there at your age, but you weren’t producing the sorts of sounds in babbling that are necessary for speech later on. No, instead you spent the greater part of the past year squawking and screeching like a Pteranodon, supplying the perfect sound-track to Eli’s dinosaur phase. To be honest, we were a bit concerned that once you did begin to speak it would be with a voice like Edith Bunker’s, such were the raucous noises coming from our beautiful baby girl.

Mom! The man with the HAT...

Mom! The man with the HAT…

...has a DOG! (and you are dog-obsessed. You keep signing "dog" for at least 2 minutes after the latest dog has passed.)

…has a DOG! (and you are dog-obsessed. You keep signing “dog” for at least 2 minutes after the latest dog has passed.)

But then a few weeks ago something clicked for you, almost overnight. All of the sudden you began spouting a new word or two almost daily, either verbally or with sign language. At present count you have around 15 words and 16 signs. It’s so cute when you use a new word and Eli is the first to notice it. He gets so excited and proud of you! And your voice? Perfectly sweet with no trace grating notes of crone.

IMG_0933

You graduated the Early Intervention Program you attended in Laguna Beach in February and are now attending ICEC’s intervention three-to-one program for older babies. You seem to really enjoy the time spent with the other babies, music, stories, developmental gym and activities. We carry over as many of the activities as we can here at home as well.

Adorable in your cap and gown, for the whole 15 seconds you actually had that cap on your head.

Adorable in your cap and gown, for the whole 15 seconds you actually had that cap on your head.

You and your brother have such a beautiful relationship. He loves to hug and kiss you, and now that you are a walking baby he likes to pick you up and lug you around. (You generally are not so thrilled with that last part.) You show him such tenderness as well. We were astounded when once when Eli was crying 9 month old you grabbed a tissue and went over to him and began to wipe his tears away! My prayer is that the two of you continue to have a close relationship as you move through childhood and into your adult lives. Eli is doing his part in making elaborate plans as to what kind of house and what kind of car the two of you will share “when Eli and Zoe grow up.”

You try to do whatever Eli is doing.

You try to do whatever Eli is doing.

 

 

You love to swing, and spin, and twirl. I’m sure that when you are but a little bit older you will want skirts that flair and get all billowy when you spin about, and you will be spinning about constantly.

IMG_0140

IMG_0478

The first time I put you in a swing it was on an impulse as we were already at a park with Eli. How I wish I’d been prepared to video the experience. You shrieked with glee so loud that I think people blocks away must have heard you! And this from a baby who usually maintains a poker face when out in public.

The Zoe your mama, daddy and Eli enjoy.

The Zoe your mama, daddy and Eli enjoy.

The Zoe you show to the world at large.

The Zoe you show to the world at large.

About that… with us you laugh and smile and are full of mischief. But I’ve learned not to try to show you off. You don’t warm up very quickly to strangers, and have even taken your sweet time with extended family who love you to bits. We have yet to reach a point where you can be left in the care of others. The most you have lasted in the church nursery is 15 minutes, and that was just this past Sunday! But you are making progress.

Communing with Uncle Joey.

Communing with Uncle Joey.

It was the sweetest thing when at your birthday party you not only let Uncle Joey hold you, but you let him walk away with you in his arms for a full 40 minutes! Sweet Zoe, you will find that this world is full of people who love you, and that number will only continue to grow as you grow and your daily activities expose you to ever widening circles. How could they not? You are altogether lovely.

You have begun to come out of your shell and wave at people when we are out in public, especially when you are in your stroller.

You have begun to come out of your shell and wave at people when we are out in public, especially when you are in your stroller.

Waving "Hi!"

Waving “Hi!”

In February we had dedicated you to the Lord in church. It was a very simple, short and beautiful affair. I was kicking myself for forgetting the camera at home when Mary Hurlbutt told me she was all set to take photos for us. I just love how they turned out!

1947847_10152291110948223_1054410413_n

1796448_10152291111453223_81707785_n

All four of us after the service.

All four of us after the service.

You are loving to imitate what you see others do these days. You try to feed your baby dolls with your sippy cup, and help your brother change their diapers. You like to pretend to talk on the phone…

Who's calling?

Who’s calling?

"Speak up, I can't hear ya!"

“Speak up, I can’t hear ya!”

…and you have a special relationship with each and every broom you encounter. (Eli did that too. What is it with babies and brooms?)

Just sweeping up a bit.

Just sweeping up a bit.

Out of all of the books on the book shelves in our bedroom you always choose this one…

Trying to tell us something, Zoe?

Trying to tell us something, Zoe?

You love to climb. I’m not loving this interest of yours quite as much as you are.

Ready to rule the playground!

Ready to rule the playground!

Last weekend I turned my back for probably 30 seconds to go fetch the stroller while we were at the Town Center fountain. You’ve always gone over the the first big step up to the fountain and been stopped as it comes up to your chest. I heard other mothers gasped and turned around to find you had scaled both it and the second step and were teetering precariously over the water as you joyfully slapped at it. Water happens to be another great love of yours; “agua” one of your very first words.

IMG_0371

Your hair is really just starting to come in. I think your little bald noggin is quite cute, and I don’t mind not having to struggle yet to get it washed and combed yet.

IMG_0618

IMG_0620

Zoe, more than anything else I want you to know how loved and cherished you are. We are so enjoying experiencing the unfolding of your personality. You are a precious gift to our family, and one that we do not take for granted.

IMG_0029

I love you so very, very, very much,

Mama

Advertisements

Letter to Eli, March 2014

IMG_1062

Dear Eli,

 

It has been so long since I have written you one of these letters. I hope I will be able to do so more frequently now, but no promises at this point. There have been times over the past year that I have wanted to sit down and capture a snapshot of adorable you for future-Eli but haven’t done so because I felt like if I did I’d need to also be able to keep up with monthly letters, and perhaps even with blogging in general again and that expectation just about paralyzed me.

On the kiddie train...

On the kiddie train…

 

But how silly is that. A letter is a letter. It is a small little gift from me to you, to be opened and enjoyed at some point in the far off future when this kind of thing may  hold some meaning for you.  And so I begin…

IMG_1342

Dear Eli,

It amazes me that you ever had a speech delay, because now you talk. All.The.Time. I was told it would happen. I was warned the time would come when I would secretly wish for a quiet moment to string two of my own thoughts together. And while I confess to times when my introverted self does wish for a chance to recharge, you are a delight to listen to. When asked a question you never just answer… you give the complete backstory as well. “Eli, do you want strawberry or peach yogurt?” “Well, Mama, yesterday I had peach yogurt so today I’ll have strawberry yogurt, because that’s how I eat them… strawberry, peach, strawberry, peach… it’s a pattern.”

 

Eating a strawberry in the field during a class field trip.

Eating a strawberry in the field during a class field trip.

Your random observations and declarations are almost always somewhere on the continuum between amusing and down-right hilarious. I really need to start jotting them down as they happen because as much as I’ll be certain I could never forget one by evening I’m there scratching my head trying to recall it.

 

Whatever it is you are doing at the moment is usually in your mind the absolute best thing in the existence of the universe. Which is great as far as living in the moment, and being content with your present circumstances goes… but a bit challenging when it comes time to transition to another activity.

IMG_1064

We do plenty of front-loading, give lots of warning ahead of time and occasionally use timers, and generally the transition happens without any tears being shed.

Running through Chinatown.

Running through Chinatown.

The part of Chinatown you best remember and want to revisit is the mechanical police helicopter ride. We never even put a quarter in but it entertained you for more than 30 minutes.

The part of Chinatown you best remember and want to revisit is the mechanical police helicopter ride. We never even put a quarter in but it entertained you for more than 30 minutes.

But the discussion…! “But why, Mama? Why can we not just stay here forever? Why can we not just live at the (Barnes & Noble, Bear Park, sidewalk outside of the closed and shuttered strip mall, etc.)?” Every time. Usually I employ logic such as not having our beds, refrigerator, toys, or comfy living room, until the day you countered with “But why then can we not live at Ikea?” I wonder how many people have ever gotten a pet, just so that they could convince their small child that they really did want to go home to see it at the end of the day?

Playing in the fountain with Zoe.

Playing in the fountain with Zoe.

Not that you don’t like being at home. When we are there and it is time to go out a whole different discussion takes place to convince you that going out to the park (or other location) is indeed something you will enjoy. You just like doing what ever it is you are doing at the moment.

IMG_1427

 

While the last year has required an immense amount of adjustments on your part as you have had to learn to share me with a sibling, you have risen to the challenge phenomenally.

Cuddly, snuggly... You love slow mornings!

Cuddly, snuggly… You love slow mornings!

I may be more than a bit biased, but I think you must be about the best big brother on the face of the earth. You are so kind and sweet to Zoe.  You are good about sharing toys with her and are delighted now that she is getting old enough and mobile enough to play around with you.

IMG_1325IMG_1326IMG_1327

You watch her like a hawk for anything that might be dangerous to her. When she cries in the back seat of the car you have been overheard to say “Aww. It’s ok Zoe. You bwother’s here. I love you!”

You recently turned 4 years old. There is no toddler left… you are officially a little kid, no baby, just boy. You were so excited at your party. No wild-out-of-control-bouncing-off-the walls-excited. You held it inside, where it wreaked havoc on your digestive track. After dashing with you to the restroom at the park during the party I wondered if we should pack it all in and get you home. You responded with an emphatic “I’m NOT sick! It was a GOOD vomit!” And you were right. That night and the following day I continued to watch you for signs of illness but there were none.

Making a wish...

Making a wish…

You are attending preschool 5 days a week now.You have been learning so much. You now know you letters and their sounds, and are working on counting (after 13 you jump around all over the place… it’s pretty cute to listen to.) You love to tell me about what you learn at school when you get home, and I love to listen.

With your Preschool Connections teacher Miss Karen.

With your Preschool Connections teacher Miss Karen.

One of the most notable things about you right now is that you currently seem to be between obsessions. I don’t remember a time when you weren’t completely obsessed with something since you were barely more than a baby. There have been obsessions with musical instruments, airplanes, trains, garbage trucks, and most recently, construction equipment and dinosaurs.

"Excavating" dinosaur bones.

“Excavating” dinosaur bones.

You still like all of those things but there isn’t any one of them that completely consumes every waking moment of your mental life right now. You divide your free time between Play Doh (especially Play Doh Garbage Truck), playing restaurant or ice cream shop in your play kitchen, “cutting the lawn” outside with a doll stroller or wagon (anything stick-like becomes a weed-whacker), or playing doctor or construction worker with role play costumes and toys. You also love to do crafts… the messier the better.

Making stick people.

Making stick people.

You love to pull the whole family into your flights of fantasy. “Mom, you’re a Pteranodon, Daddy is a Tyrannosaurus, Zoe is a Gallimimus and I’m a Parasaurolophus. We’re the Dinosaur fambily!” So we hear the phrase “We’re a ____ fambily!” quite often. But yesterday at Barnes &Noble you were discussing the finer points of cupcakes versus cookies with your Daddy. He likes cookies better. You said “I like cookies too… because we’re just a cookie-loving fambily!” You have yet to learn about inside versus outside voice though, so all others in line with you were amused as well.

IMG_1445

I love watching you play and day dream.

You never cease to delight and please us, my boy. Being your parent just keeps getting better and better.

I love you very, very, very much,

Mama

Letter to Zoe, 3 1/2 Months

IMG_9616

Dear Zoe,

This is my first letter to you, I hope the first of many. I write them as a way to preserve memories of your early days which you won’t be able to remember for yourself. As such, they are as much for me as they are for you, as these are the things one can’t imagine ever forgetting but then later on can’t seem to quite remember. They are also for the benefit of loved ones who live far away, who haven’t met you yet, and who may only see you sporadically as you grow. But most of all they are so that you will know how very much you are loved and cherished…and have been since the very beginning.

IMG_9614

Developmentally your most recent accomplishments are grabbing onto small toys and holding onto them, bringing your two hands together to clasp, and laughing (your father nodding his head is particularly hysterical). You’ve been standing up on our laps supporting your own weight while we balance you for many weeks now – you have freakishly strong legs. Your track people walking from one side of the room to the other, especially if that person is your Daddy.

IMG_9608

At a three months of age your personality is becoming more and more apparent as the days progress. You really are a happy baby, ready to reward anyone who talks to you with smiles. You are beginning to laugh more now as well. It’s not the laugh I would have predicted you’d have. It sound a bit like a squawking crow with laryngitis. 🙂 And while there are plenty of fussy moments as you deal with both teething (already!) and reflux, you really seem to be pretty laid back for the most part. I take you to Bible study and you sit on my lap quietly the whole time. It amuses the other ladies there because you fold your hands at your chest and look intently at whoever is speaking nodding your head from time to time, seeming wise way beyond your years.

IMG_9469

We have the ability to capture you at this stage, both visually and audially, but I really wish we were able to somehow record what you feel like to hold. You are so soft, round, squishy and altogether cuddly. You have a way of melting into my arms and then looking at me and smiling, and its just about all I can do to keep from melting myself right then and there. You are growing so quickly that I know soon it will be a whole lot more work to hold you for so long. Already my arms are often quite sore by evening (and almost as often still are the next morning too, as you really like to be held a LOT.)  So I wish I could record this sensation now to enjoy over and over again as the years progress, but since I can’t, I remind myself often to enjoy it now while I can and to try not to worry so much about all that I am not getting done because my hands are full with a baby.

IMG_9475

Your brother is really crazy about you. To be honest, I was worried he’d be jealous and resentful of you after you were born. But although it has been a hard adjustment going from being an only child to having to wait his turn to have his needs met so often these days, he has only good things to say about you. He calls you his cutie baby or his sweetie baby. He says you are so pretty and that you are HIS baby. He takes care of you every way he knows how and is SO gentle.

You two already look like you're in cahoots.

You two already look like you’re in cahoots.

This past weekend when you were crying in the car your father and I heard him say to you there in the back seat, “Awww, bessie, bessie, it’s going to be okay. It’s gonna be okay, bessie, bessie.” He gets very concerned when you cry and informs me that you are crying right away (even when I’m already holding you and trying to comfort you.) Eli really looks forward to the time when you will be old enough to play with him, but please, don’t go start growing up all in a rush or anything. The rest of us need to enjoy your sweet baby-ness a while longer!

IMG_9490

With all the love you could ever possibly imagine and more,

Mama

Happy Father’s Day 2013

Dear Jeff,

May 2013 073

I love your patience and gentleness,

the way you can calm a hysterical baby (even when I’ve run through my bag of tricks to no avail).

May 2013 072

I love how you make time for your children everyday…
no matter how busy your life becomes.

May 2013 111

May 2013 114

I love how you never stop being amused by Eli’s three year old antics,

and remind me to do the same when I’m tired at the end of a long day.

I am grateful that you nightly record in your journal the funny and touching things he has said that day.

June 2013 083

I love how you are teaching our son, through your example, how to one day be a loving, strong, supportive and caring husband and father himself. 

I am thankful to be sharing this parenting adventure with you, my best friend.

Much love always,

Karen

Zoe’s First Photodump

December 2012 thru April 2013 628December 2012 thru April 2013 623December 2012 thru April 2013 625June 2013 005 June 2013 016

It’s ironic how when there are the most things to share in my life is precisely the time when there is the least opportunity to share them. I’m still trying to get the hang of this being a parent to two children thing. Somedays I’m a bit more successful than others. Let me just say that I have the utmost respect for parents of multiples right now! 

In addition to not having much time to blog, my computer died and while I’ve been given an older laptop to use I don’t really know how to use it, and it is s…l…o…w… As in what I type is generally four seconds delayed before it shows up on the screen, and don’t even ask about the delay when one tries to scroll!  So I really don’t know how long it will be before I’m going to be present here much.

I did want to share some of these photos of Zoe. Because the laptop is not responding much to what I am trying to do I guess I’ll just leave them here all out of order. It’s either that or not publish at all. So it’s as literal of a photodump as any you’ll find. She’ll be turning 3 months in just a few days…. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to start writing letters to my kids again here. In the meantime let me just say that Zoe is a joy! She’s a pretty laid back baby, and knows how to do some good sleeping at night, for which her mother is greatly appreciative. She doesn’t much like to be set down, but is now beginning to accept time in the swing occasionally. I love that she has hit the smiley stage and holding a conversation with her cooing back at me is a delight! Yesterday she grasped her little Sophie the giraffe teether, the first time she’s ever held onto anything. Just in time too because, as unfair as it seems, at 2.5 months this baby began the much dreaded teething process! I guess she felt to need to show up he brother who started just after turning 3 months.

May 2013 117

May 2013 008

“I need a kiss…. Here…right here.”

May 2013 014

May 2013 017

May 2013 076

Meet Zoe!

Zoe Anneliese was born on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 12:22 p.m.

Zoe after her first bath

We are so happy to have her out where we can now all enjoy her. Eli is thrilled with his little sister and has been a big help to his mama. He was initially a bit confused though when he came to the hospital to see her for the first time. He said, “Mama, have a new baby. Have another Zoe, this time orange.” I guess all this time he was thinking I was going to give birth to the Sesame Street muppet but somehow hadn’t gotten it quite right on my first try! Thankfully, after a little explanation he’s been able to accept our current Zoe just as she is.

Eli meets Zoe

I have so many things in mind to post about these days but so little time to actually do so. I’ll get you all caught up as time and energy permit, but right now around here it all about baby snuggles, carving out time for Eli and whatever elusive rest comes my way!

Letter to Eli- 34 and 35 Months

Dear Eli,

Riding the carousel during an outing with Aunt Jacki.

Riding the carousel during an outing with Aunt Jacki.

I have not gotten your monthly letter done for a couple of months here. I am sorry. Things have been crazy and when there has been time and energy to write I felt so overwhelmed by all there is to say I’ve hardly known where to start. I guess I’m now just giving up on the idea of the full accounting of Christmas… it’s now past Valentine’s Day for goodness sake! And honestly, I need to rethink the timing and format of these letters to you. If I’m having trouble getting them done now, how will it be when there is a new baby in the house? And as you get older, speaking of your age in terms of months is beginning to seem a little silly. Yet I love taking the time to reflect on and record your growth and development. I like having a place to put the pictures that we take of you over the course of a month… and I also need this external reminder to take pictures each month as I’m not so good about that when just left to my own devices.

Uncle Kevin and Aunt Misa sent an otabe treat from Japan. "I had totabe (otabe)! Totabe be fun! Totabe be tummy fun!" You haven't stopped talking and dreaming about having more "totabe" since!

Uncle Kevin and Aunt Misa sent an otabe treat from Japan. “I had totabe (otabe)! Totabe be fun! Totabe be tummy fun!” You haven’t stopped talking and dreaming about having more “totabe” since!

Aside from the joy of seeing you really interact with the extended family in Tucson, the biggest Christmas development in your life was that you overcame your fear of dogs! I can’t even begin to tell you how huge this is. You now enjoy your time visiting relatives who own dogs. You are no longer constantly on high alert whenever we are outside, constantly scanning your surroundings and overcome by anxiety whenever a dog appeared on the horizon. When we returned from Tucson we wondered how much your new found enjoyment of our extended family’s pets would transfer to other canines we run across in daily life. When we took a New Year’s Day stroll around Laguna Beach and you actually felt slighted and disappointed each time we passed someone walking their dog who didn’t stop for you to pet the dog and have it sniff your hand we knew that indeed we had experienced a Christmas miracle! Your personal little mantra “I be okay” is a powerful thing. And while you are actually not saying it so often yourself anymore you should know that many in our clan are still quoting your phrase to themselves when feeling a need for the reminder.

Mia is your new best friend. You love to play fetch with her, although the poor dog is a bit confused when you run after the ball you've just thrown and try to fetch it before she can!

Mia is your new best friend. You love to play fetch with her, although the poor dog is a bit confused when you run after the ball you’ve just thrown and try to fetch it before she can!

I expect your little sister will be making her appearance any day soon… if these contractions get any more regular maybe even today! I’ve been so very aware of the fact that soon you will be sharing our attention with a newborn. While I am excited to welcome her into our family and begin the process of getting to know her I can’t help but wonder (and perhaps worry a bit) about how it will change our relationship. I’ve been soaking up extended cuddle times with you, and being on bed rest most of the past month has given me plenty of them, mindful that soon such uninterrupted time will be a thing of the past. And you, my boy, are a cuddle junkie! A year ago when you were constantly showing up the Energizer Rabbit I never would have guessed that I would be blessed with so much time to just hold you along side me. It’s truly the best thing ever! Except for the fact that a goodly part of the reason you are content to do so has been you’ve repeatedly experienced the joys of one strain of the flu after another this winter.

With Carly on your Christmas desert hike. You went off on the hike with relatives and without your parents and had the time of your life! You still talk daily about the "pokey" cactus, though I'm very glad they made such an impression on you without any painful encounters. You are a good listener and take adult warnings seriously... cautious like your father :-)

With Carly on your Christmas desert hike. You went off on the hike with relatives  (without your parents!) and had the time of your life! You still talk daily about the “pokey” cactus, though I’m very glad they made such an impression on you without any painful encounters. You are a good listener and take adult warnings seriously… cautious like your father 🙂

Although I know things will be changing in our family dynamic soon, and that the initially it may be a bit rough at times for you, you have shown me again and again how adaptable you can be when given time and space to work through a new adjustment. For your part, you are so excited to have your sister join us after waiting so, so very long! You often come to me to tell me you think it is time for us to go to the hospital to get the baby out! You’ve been know to try to stretch my belly button open to get a peak inside. A few days ago you took your foot to my belly button and told me you wanted to go into my belly. I wondered if you were feeling to need to be the baby again and asked “Why, Eli?” You gave me that look of long-suffering patience with my less than acute perception and answered, “to play with Zoe.”

Fishing for algae in the canal at the park.

Fishing for algae in the canal at the park.

130215_0014

The catch of the day!

Your ability to answer “why” questions is a new development of the past couple of weeks, and you often begin your answer with the word “because”. It is wonderful to finally have you explain to us the reasoning behind some of the things you will say and do or about a reaction you are having. We are often astounded by the connections you will make between ideas! Your language development has become nothing short of amazing. During our cuddle times you love to just converse with me. In fact you like holding conversations so much that you get upset when other people talk to each other instead of with you. “No Mama, no talk to Daddy. Talk to Eli.” It’s a behavior and expectation we really need to work on, but honestly, it’s a great problem for us to have! Today at a donut shop the girl behind the counter remarked at how much you were speaking. Of course, she had no idea that this little boy who now can sit and narrate the minutest detail of his experience had less than 20 words to his vocabulary just a year ago. It was about the nicest off-hand comment a stranger has ever made to us about you… even better than the times people go on and on about how adorable you are!

IMG_0206

Lately you ask me, without exaggeration, at least 20 times a day if I am your Mommy. You do so with the sweetest tone of voice, and I don’t think the question comes from any real doubt on your part as to whether I am you mother or not. You often tend to phrase statements in the form of questions and this is your way of marking our relationship. It is often quickly followed by you making the universal sound of melting over cuteness (“Aaawwww!”) and hugging whichever part of me is closest to you. Eli, I am incredibly blessed to be your Mommy. There are few things in this life that make me feel as happy as being your mother does. I will always be your Mommy even when you have long outgrown the use of the word. (Which, I have to say, is not yet. Please stop calling me Mom… you’re not even three yet! Mommy or Mama will do just fine for at least a couple more years. Please?!??)

I love you so very, very much!

Mama

The Bump, 33 Weeks

33 Weeks

I’ve not taken many pictures of this pregnancy, but here is one from last week. Although I feel huge and awkward I am actually so much smaller this time around than I was with Eli. The only other picture I have was taken last October when we had our family photos taken for the Christmas cards. Ironically, I felt huge and awkward then too, but when I saw the photo I realized it was all in my head. I didn’t post that picture then because I felt so silly about my own perceptions 😉

Eli is eagerly anticipating his little sister these days. He loves to rest his head on my belly in hopes she will give him a bit of a boxing in the ear. She often complies.

A recent conversation with him went more or less as follows… “That baby getting big? Baby coming? My friend coming soon? Baby be nice.”

A Unique Christmas Tradition

When my husband was about 8 or 9 years old there was a power outage as the family sat down for a meal of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese on the evening of December 23rd. They quickly lit candles, and thus the Christmas Eve Eve tradition of mac ‘n’ cheese by candlelight born.

It has grown quite a bit since its humble beginings as all good traditions will. Now, more than 40 years later, relatives from near and far as well as family friends gather at the home of one of the siblings, to enjoy the synthetic cheesiness of the iconic blue box mac and cheese (though now there are plenty real food offerings available as well.) The lights are turned out and candles lit throughout the house as people catch up with dear ones they often haven’t seen since the year before and meet new friends as well.

It was a smaller group this year as many of the usual relatives were unable to make it for one reason or another. Even so there were around 25 people and plenty of delightful conversation. One of my husband’s cousins had moved too far away to make the trip this year. He kept texting pictures of the Christmas Eve Eve he and his wife were observing in their new home.

Explaining the Christmas Eve Eve tradition to Eli.

Explaining the Christmas Eve Eve tradition to the new generation. The idea of there being candles with no “Happy Birthday” song and immediate blowing out was a bit mind bending at first.

While this year was Eli’s third year in attendance, it was the first year he really got what was going on. I couldn’t have been more content than I was to sit back and watch him bond with his cousins, having the time of his life holding court with a gaggle of teenage girls.

Does your family have any unique traditions? I’d love to read about them in the comment section below. 🙂

A very Merry Christmas to you all!!!

Announcing…

I’ve been writing this post in my head for days now.

I wanted it to be special.

And it is… just not clever or cute or anything as it really should be.

Today the good doctor confirmed that come next March we will have a new son or daughter, and Eli will have a sibling!

I love this little statue of an elephant with her little elephant growing inside. (It also reminds me to give thanks for just nine months of gestation!)

In the meantime, at least in the foreseeable future, I will be much less present on this blog and in visiting so many of  the wonderful blogs I follow.

It seems I don’t do pregnancy particularly well. Eli’s was a battle the whole way through, and while I was hoping this time around it would be smoother sailing it seems, thus far at least, to be a bit of a repeat of the first. If only morning sickness was limited to morning hours and didn’t include near constant light-headedness!

Poor Eli is having to adjust to a much less available Mama.

My husband is proving that, as I always expected, he is a superhero in disguise.

I am spending my time hugging mattresses, feeling incredibly hormonal (I’m usually not much of a crier but these days even car commercials seem unbearably touching), watching way too much television because I’m too tired to read, trying not to be insanely jealous of those who glow their way through the 9 months of gestation, dreaming of all things baby, and hoping eventually I’ll be able to become reacquainted with my sewing machine to make a few things before this baby comes.

But, really, if feeling this wretched now means we are in for another child as sweet as our first… BRING IT ON!

So, little one, years from now, when you get around to exploring the archives of your Mama’s blog to see what she wrote about you, please know that while getting you here wasn’t easy, it was worth every bit of torture discomfort and then some. We can’t wait to meet you, but wait we shall for a good long while yet. And while this first post announcing your existence isn’t exactly pin-worthy (will Pinterest still even exist?) it is written full of love and longing.

Grow well, little one!

« Older entries