Letter to Zoe, 3 1/2 Months

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

Mama

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Happy Father’s Day 2013

Dear Jeff,

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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).

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

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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.

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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

Happy Father’s Day!

My beloved husband,

Before I ever met you, when thinking of the sort of man I wanted to marry, the most important characteristic was that he be a good father.

Over the past two years you have surpassed any vision that I had of what that would look like. You were with me the entire time during the labor and delivery, giving me so much support through your calming presence.You have never flinched during or deferred from diaper duty. You know how to sooth and comfort even when the object of your kindness sounds like a fire siren 3 inches from your ear. You endure nightly encounters with a restlessly sleeping toddler’s fists, knees and elbows without complaint. You have spent countless hours dancing, bouncing and singing Eli to sleep when I feel like I can’t nurse another minute. You are so patient and help to ground me when I’m at my wit’s end after a long day of toddler care.

You know how to cut a rug with Eli in a way I could never do. You delight in your son in so many different little ways, and make sure I share the moment as well. You spend quantities of time giving Eli focused attention in a way many other fathers don’t until their children are much older. And many other fathers never will at all.

And I could go on and on, but you are coming in the door with Eli after spending time together outside.

I thank God that he answered my prayer said for so many years, so many years ago. In you He gave me all I asked for and so much more!

Happy Father’s Day!

Paleo Breakfast Bread

In my search for gluten-free recipes, I came across this recipe for Paleo Breakfast Bread.

I had previously not heard of the Paeolithic diet, but since adherents don’t believe in eating grain any Paleo recipe will also be gluten-free. This amazing bread is made of almond butter, eggs, honey, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and a touch of stevia. It ends up having the moist consistency of gingerbread cake. Which makes me thing that with the addition of a few spices maybe it could be gingerbread cake. My husband thought they were brownies, even after he had eaten a couple. Yep, they are that good!

We first made this bread on Monday. I say “we” because Eli and I did it together. He also helped by cutting the bananas for the fruit salad. You should have seen how proud he was of his accomplishment when it came out of the oven and the all three of us sat down together for breakfast! Eli and I will be spending a lot more time together in the kitchen from here on out.

We made it according to the recipe that time, but this morning Eli and I made up a second batch. One of Eli’s speech therapists has also recently gone gluten-free and I thought it would be nice if he could give some of this bread to her tomorrow. She has tree nut allergies though, so the almond butter was replaced by sunflower seed butter. Other than being a bit darker in color it tastes pretty much the same. Maybe if I did a side by side taste test there would be a more noticeable difference, but one would have to refrain from eating ALL of the first batch before making the second. I don’t foresee that happening around here.

Letter to Eli, 19 Months

Dear Eli,

This month you have become OBSESSED with the names for everything. You point and say “Mmmm!”, which translates, “Oooh! What’s this thing called?!” The thing is, it’s CONSTANT. Nursing you now generally sounds like this… “Mmmm!” “Glasses,” I reply. “Mmm!” “Eye.” “Mmm!” “Nose.” “Mmm!” “Eye.” “Mmm!” “Eli’s eye” “Mmm!” “Ear.” “Mmm!” Eli’s nose.” “Mmm!” “Eye.” It goes on but you get the picture. Each “Mmm!” is accompanied by your pointer finger spearing the body part in question, because when it comes to the parts of the face pointing just isn’t enough.

It isn’t only while nursing though. While walking, “Blue car.” “White truck.” “Black van.” With your books, Monkey… Monkey… Drum.” Puzzles, “Cow… Pig… Chicken… Cow… Goat…” Even when we are driving, from the back seat, at night, it’s “Mmmm!… Mmmm!… Mmmm!…” And while it does get a bit wearing, I actually love it.You are learning, and soon you will be talking. I LOVE that you are so motivated because I so want to hear all that you have to say.

Your other obsession is with the Baby Signing TIme DVDs. You have learned a lot from them; I think you currently are using 29 different signs and are able to make your wants and needs pretty clearly known. But you want to watch them ALL.THE.TIME. You wake up in the morning, stretch, look at me and begin to sign Baby!Baby!Baby! And so begins a day full of Baby!Baby!Baby! while I try to distract you with other activities because I don’t want my toddler to be the one who is constantly glued to a TV screen. (I actually feel a bit guilty that you watch any TV at all at your age.) The problem is that THAT toddler is exactly who you want to be right now. Even when we are out when you recognize our neighborhood through the car window on the way home you often start to frantically sign Baby!Baby!Baby! So this is one area where we are trying to strike a balance. I should have heeded the warning in Hobo Mama’s review of the Baby Signing Time series where she wrote that it is the crack cocaine of signing babies in its addictiveness. Turns out she wasn’t exaggerating.

One development this past month that couldn’t please your father and I more is that you LOVE Barnes & Noble! If we are at the Town Centre and try to walk by the store you will dart in the door if someone happens to open it at that moment. You might be distracted for a little while by the stack of hand baskets inside the door, but then it is off to the children’s section, or sometimes the cafe. It’s almost as if you feel at home there due to the many hours you spent there in utero, as until recently we haven’t been able to spend much time there since your birth.

It follows that this would also be the month when you began to show an interest in books. I always thought I would read to you daily right from the beginning, but you weren’t interested. You would vigorously slam shut most any book I tried reading to you. But now you come to me and sign “book?”, and of course I always agree that that is a wonderful idea. You have a set of Sesame Street board books and an ABC book that are your current favorites. (Your very first favorite book was Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb which for months was the only book you would listen to and look at.) You still don’t like to listen to books but like to point at the pictures and demand we name them.

We went to the Pumpkin Patch this past weekend. Here is a picture of you on the same ride this year and last. It’s fun to see how much you have grown!

This last photo I’m including not because it is a good one but rather because it so well illustrates life with you these days. You are a blur of near constant motion. In the time it takes to snap a picture, more often than not you have turned away or left the frame altogether. You are so full of energy and life! We are trying our best to keep up.

I love you so very, very, very much!

Mama