Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday, Lyla Beans!

Dear Lyla,

I have so many thoughts on the eve of your third birthday.

I guess I'll start by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sweet Girl! We've heard, "I'll be fwee on August 19th" for the last six months, and that day is finally here.

Three years, and I can still remember every vivid detail of your birth day. The moment you were first placed on my chest, the way I stayed up all night that first night putting my finger under your nostrils to make sure you were still breathing, the comfort I felt as I cradled you in my arms, how proud I was to be your mom.

This is why I adore birthdays. I love the thought of celebrating everything about you, and I love reflecting on the year.

This past year in our house can most accurately be described as, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. There was laughing and joy and exploring and moments so sweet I nearly melted into a mommy puddle of mush. But there were just as many tears, melt-downs, time-outs and power-struggles. Who knew such a tiny human could elicit such strong feelings of anger? Luckily those feelings are fleeting (for both of us), but I guess that's why they call it the terrible twos (now is not the time to tell me the year of the threenager is worse).

To be fair, this was also the year of change. We started potty training the week you turned two, (WHAT WERE WE THINKING), brought home a new baby, and mom started a business. It took most of the year for you to adjust to potty training, and some days, I think you're still adjusting to your sister. You love her more than anything in the world, but you don't love change (or sharing).

Both good days and bad, I love everything about you. From your physical features - like your pudgy toes to your protruding belly (that gets smaller by the day and makes me sad) to your amazing curly hair that you get compliments on everywhere we go. And I love seeing your personality develop, still resembling the same characteristics from when you were a baby - cautious, thoughtful, playful, sensitive and very independent. You've never been much of a cuddler, but some days, you act out until I finally figure out that you just need to be held. I love those moments. And every night you demand (we're working on this) "snuggle me, mom/dad." The day those requests end is the day my mommy heart will shrivel up.

I do not want to forget who you are on your third birthday. You are such a delight and our pride and joy!

- You are just like your dad in so many ways. You are a processor and I can see the wheels turning, as you take time to really think about things. Like upon the mention of any of your little friends, you like to talk about their moms and dads. Or anything Addie does, you point to yourself and say "I did that when I was a baby?" Or how you always want to know if our activity for the day will be before or after your nap - "I'm going to swimming after my nap, mom?" It's your point of reference for everything. Well, nap and lunch of course.

- Also like your dad, you love to have a good time. But you have your limits and hit a point when you immediately need some alone time to recharge. This is something that taken me three years to finally figure out, and I always want to respect this need. You like to explore new places but prefer to be a homebody who enjoys reading and quiet time. And you are sure to tell me (usually after a weekend full of activities), "I'm feeling grumpy today, Mom. Everybody gets grumpy sometimes."

- I love how you say "Wywa" and "Adawine", "Hickory Ickory Dock", "skeeto bite" and "Addie say umph *mimicking her grunting noises*.

- You are very particular with everything. The way you color, the way you eat and even how you play with your toys - it's so methodical. You do not like anything out of place. You can't stand sand on your feet, anything in your shoe, or water on your clothes. You notice if a piece of fuzz is sticking out of the carpet or if a blanket has a snag. Those things drives you crazy.

- You have become quite the negotiator. With everything. "No mom. I want 3 more grapes. No, I want 2 more stories. No, I want 5 more minutes of snuggle time."

- Two has been so fun because you get excited about the smallest things : You jump up and down and squeal to watch the TRASH TRUCK every Thursday. You light up when you get new socks/underwear/cup (anything new) and talk about it for the rest of the day. Or like, when Dad and I decided to take you and Addie to KC for the night just to get away, you found everything amazing : the hotel bed, the indoor swimming pool, the elevator. That was a parent win for sure.

- Your grandparents are everything to you. And the feeling is most definitely mutual. You love to pray for your Grams and Papa and GiGi and Bots. And you like to tell me, "I'm my Bots' Lyla."

- You constantly blow my mind with the things you remember. Like the other day when dad was wearing his argyle socks and you told him, "Dad, you got your new socks from Uncle Zac's wedding." (which was six months ago). Or how every time we go to the zoo and the hippos blow water out of their noses and you say, "The hippos get the bees out" because of the time months ago when Grams and Papa took you, and there were bees flying around. Or how you say things like, "where'd my little back owie go? Is it in the trash? Or in the sky with my balloon? (in reference to a balloon that flew away almost a year ago now). It's absolutely amazing (and slightly terrifying) the things you remember, kid.

- You LOVE food. This is both a good and bad thing. Good because you will eat absolutely anything. Well, anything except pizza. (I know, what kid doesn't like pizza?) Bad because food is the cause of all fights/tantrums/melt-downs. You don't have an off-switch and make yourself sick if we don't stop you. Which you do not appreciate.

- You are so innocent and sweet, and I want to preserve that as long as possible. You say things like, "I feel sad today, Mom" (usually because I won't give you cookies or something) or "Mom, will you fix my balloon? It doesn't feel very good (when the helium came out). And I often find you helping Addie when she can't reach something or "nursing" your babies or rocking your Teddy Berry and saying "shh-shh-shh" like I did with Addie when she was a newbie.

- You absolutely love all things girl right now. Like putting on my makeup, trying on my shoes and dressing up in play clothes. But, I absolutely love that you also play with trucks and trains and tools. And you love playing with all your little boy friends.

- One of the things your dad and I have noticed over anything else this year is your newfound confidence. You've never been much of a risk-taker (it's quite alright, neither is your mom) and are definitely not the first to try something new. But since we started swim class last winter, you have all kinds of confidence and love to tell us all about "stream line" and "I go back to the wall!" The first time I saw you confidently jump in the water, roll to your back and swim to the wall - my eyes welled up with tears. I was so proud and you had no fear! Swimming has helped you grow up and face your fears. (So much, in fact, that you try to jump in the water without floaties and without mom and dad present).

Oh my sweet Lyla Girl. What a wonderful year it has been. I feel a bit weepy as this year has gone so fast. And I presume the years will only continue to go faster. That's life, I suppose. But, I am so thankful to be home with you and spending quality time with you every day! I have completely and finally found my place and my comfort, and you are the one who helped me find it.

I love you more than I can even put into words. Happy Birthday to my best girl!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Adaline Mae : 9 Months

Late to the party.

Which is par for the course around these parts.

But here we are, celebrating my sweet baby Bug's nine month birthday. Because after enduring the torture of losing and then paying a lot of money to try to recover thousands of pictures off of an external hard drive, I am dedicated now more than ever to keep on keeping on with this little blog of mine.

- At Miss Bug's 9 month wellness check, she weighed in at 20.6 lbs (83%) and 28.5 in (84%). Big girl with some delicious rolls. And those little rubber band hands and chompable cheeks. I die.

- Littlest lady has developed quite the personality. She's the sweetest little thing with a side of dramatic flare. (Where did she ever get that trait?) She sure let's us know when she's feeling left out, wants more food or doesn't feel like sleeping. Oh, and she definitely puts up a fight when big sis takes her toys. (We love these little-big personalities SO much and love how different they are!!) She's feisty & determined and still the sweetest little cuddle bug. And the thing she has most in common with big sis? A strong-willed nature. It was the first thing Dr. Reddy commented on, "Well Angela, you've been blessed with two VERY strong willed little ones." (sigh)

- Addie (sort of) started clapping and waving this month. She gets so excited when people wave and say "Bye Addie". She starts waving her hands and flapping her arms and drooling and gurgling about. It's quite cute. And she thinks clapping is almost as cool as her big sister.

- Adaline Mae started officially crawling the day after 9 month birthday! After weeks of rocking back and forth, she's finally on the go. She is everywhere and happy as a clam now that she is on the move.

- From birth, Addie has been the easiest baby. So easy, that I've felt like I could have 5 more children. She slept through the night from the get-go, rarely cried and has always been super easy going and flexible. But this month? Girlfriend decided to give us some trouble. It all started with refusing to take a bottle. To the point that after trying for an hour each time, every single day for weeks, it was finally time to give up. The bottle wasn't happening. (Which, by the way, she used to take a bottle. Until I didn't bottle feed her for a good month or so. Now, she's too old and knows what she wants. And it's not the bottle.) I swear I've bought every brand of bottle, sippie and nipple ever invented. And since she's not drinking from a sippie much (something we work on all day long), she's developed quite the bowel issues. I'm that mom on the phone with the nurse every other day asking questions about poop. Let's just say we're up to our ears in prunes and pear juice, and we're experts at giving suppositories.

- She LOVES swimming so much. She splashes and squeals about. And I love it too because she sleeps hard and well after a day at the pool!

- Addie and Lyla are completely developing this incredible sister relationship that I always wished I'd had. It's a love-hate as they play and fight. Just like sisters do. And I love it!

- This child is into everything. Everything. I can no longer take a shower while she's awake, and I most definitely cannot leave her in a room by herself. We found pennies in her mouth 3 different times, she wrapped herself in a lamp cord, dove out of a baby pool onto concrete, and Gabe had to dislodge a ball of plastic wrap from her throat. Needless to say, we were (obviously) completely unprepared for the whole baby proofing thing. We've since covered all the outlets, put up cords, and lowered her mattress. (All of which, we never did ANY of with Lyla). And we still rack up an average of 3 or 4 injuries per day.

- I'm such a believer in teaching children to sleep. And I am quite confident all children, regardless of how much they fight sleep, can be taught to sleep well. Well Addie-Babe is going through a phase where she is fighting sleep really really hard. So hard, that I usually give in and let her stay up and play. She crawls all about for a good hour or two, destroys a few things and then (maybe) gets tired enough to finally go to sleep. It's maddening. And I'll let you know when I figure it out.

One thing's for sure. This stage is SO MUCH FUN!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Adaline Mae : 7 & 8 Months (The Fun Begins!)

It's getting more and more difficult to blog in this precious space of mine.

For me, it's by far the most important and meaningful piece of my motherhood duties - to share the happenings of life with my littles. But when life is moving so quickly and being enjoyed so deeply, and when I spend the majority of my creative energy on my business, there is little left for me to pour into my personal blogging like I prefer. And to my sweet Addie, who is in the midst of her first year of life, I'm so very sorry for that.

6 Months

Much has happened in the last two months, and I so desperately want to document each moment because it's going far too quickly for my liking. There has been an amazing amount of growth in all areas, especially in the personality department. Adaline is our sweet cuddle-bug, but she's also developed a little sass. Particularly when it comes to impatience for food (de ja vu?) and the latest refusal in going to bed. From day one this girl has not liked to be left alone when she knows socializing is going on somewhere without her. Lately, she's developed a proclivity to playtime instead of sleep time because gilfriend loves to party. Her dad and I have finally caved and usually give her toys to play with or get her up altogether to play and tucker her out (terrible habit, I'm aware.)

7 months
7 months

Here are a few more things that have happened in the last two months - I just have to say, I LOVE this age. It really is when the fun begins!!

- Baby Bug is in love with three things these days : 1. My red hospital cup - yes. I'm still drinking from that infamous take-home-souvenier from the hospital. And Addie-Bug gets so excited when she sees it - she jabbers on and on as if to tell it a story, chews on it and nearly leaps from her high chair to play with it. 2. Beards - she especially loves Papa's beard and likes to bite it. 3. Flying backwards - this kid laughs in the face of danger and loves being flung backward. Just like her big sis at this age.

- Adaline is the sweetest little thing, and the bond we have is unreal. So much, that the kid refuses to take a bottle. (Bottle training shall be a post for another day). But she reaches her little arms out when she sees me, which makes me want to scoop her up all the time. And she reaches out to touch faces, carefully stroking and staring intently into the eyes of the person holding her. And she's got "the gaze" while I'm nursing her - that sweet, bonding gaze that I don't want to forget. Ever.

7 months

- Lyla and Addie got into their first "fight" this month. It was over a toy that Addie was playing with, when Lyla decided she wanted to play with it instead. So she fulfilled her toddler duty and took it away from the baby of course. I watched all of this unfold and was so happy Addie stood her ground with a lot of kicking and screaming (literally.) The two carried on for a bit and both ended up crying and I finally had to intervene. And Lyla is already tattling on her younger sister letting me know in her whiniest voice that Addie pulled her hairs. #sisters

- Our Bug has been nothing but easy in every aspect...until we introduced solid food. We started at the 6 month mark, and it gave us a bit more trouble than we anticipated. Her first bite was mashed avocado, which she seemed to enjoy, but the rest went downhill from there. We experienced a lot of gagging, which got sort of scary at times. She didn't seem to know what to DO with the food. Teaching a 6 month old to chew and swallow isn't quite as easy as it sounds. But after a lot of persistence and a lot of different textures, she's finally at a point where she grunts and squeals for "more". Her palette has included peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, kiwi, spinach, prunes and pears. But her favorite is gnawing on an apple slice while her big sister eats lunch.

6 months:: (First Food - Avocado!)

- I'd be lying if I said I didn't look forward to our alone time on Tuesdays while Lyla is at Kid's Day Out. Of course I adore our afternoon adventures with the three of us before dad gets home, but I miss one on one time like I got with Ly when she was a babe. Of course I utilize every ounce of Tuesdays to work, but it's also nice to have that special time with Addie.

- She's finally reached the point where it's difficult to take her 1. anywhere during her morning nap (as she no longer sleeps in her carseat) and 2. to any sort of work meeting. It has been so fun having her as my little "co-worker" where she'd nap on the couch next to me or go with me to a coffee meeting. But, we're officially at the point where we have to be home for nap time, and I have to get a babysitter for meetings. Except when we are invited by friends to fun things...then naps are out the window. Second kid has to learn to be flexible. Right?

- We've reached the stranger danger phase. This child rarely cries, but when she does, it's pretty much the same as taking my heart straight from my chest and running it through a blender. It's quite sad. And lately, when she's around others (mostly men) she doesn't know, she looks around in a panic and bursts into tears. It is so sad. Until mom or dad swoops in to the rescue!

7 months

- Everyone everywhere we go comments on how "huge the baby is". I mean everyone. Today, some lady walking into the same building as our swim lessons went on and on about "oh my gosh your baby is so big" and "how much does your baby weigh" and "how do you carry her carseat". Sure, she's a roly poly and has cheeks for weeks, but she's not that big. And yes, I do try to eat her cheeks and delicious rolls. All day.

- I nearly die from all the sleepy cuteness when it's time to wake up in the morning. Seriously, why did we never have a sleep sack with Lyla? I just might keep Addie in hers until she's 7 because of the sweetness. Oh and then there's that sweet baby breath smell - yes, she still has it. And I'm not afraid to get up in there and smell all day long. *swoon*

7 months

- Can we talk about physical gross motor movement for a second? We are not used to a mobile baby. Sweet Baby Ly was happy sitting all the livelong day until she crawled at 12 months. TWELVE MONTHS. I mean, we never baby proofed our house with Lyla. Oh,  but Addie Babe is a different story. This one has been scooting backwards for about a month now and often gets stuck under chairs and tables. And she most definitely is not content just "sitting" like her big sis was. She wants to go! and move! and be in on action! Our little party animal.

7 months

- Addie is our more outgoing babe, and girlfriend loves to chatter. I'm desperately trying to get her to say mama, instead she just says "gee-gee-gee-gee" all day, everyday. Lyla thinks it's pretty much the most hilarious thing on earth and loves trying to teach her new "words".

Have I mentioned I love having sisters?

Have I also mentioned I love this phase. Let the fun continue!

8 months

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Sweet Life.


So sweet. Sometimes bitter.

So emotionally scattered. And so completely wonderful.

I'm sad for my absence on this personal little blog of my mine, really since Adaline's birth. Or actually, more since I hopped on the entrepreneur train and started a business with a two year old and a two month old at home. There have been so many times I've desperately wanted to listen to my begging spirit and write about all that's going on. But instead, I pour my energy and creativity into the rest of my day, leaving my brain vacant and incoherent after the girls go to bed.

Life has been busy. And exciting. And incredibly sweet. And hard. But I'm not even sure I could begin to explain all that's gone on in the last six months. SIX MONTHS. I just can't even believe how quickly the span of months flies by.

The few times I have stopped, if even for a moment, I've felt such raw sadness at the passing of time. Like I haven't fully captured every adorably mispronounced word spoken by Lyla or the way Adaline gazes intently and reaches out for our faces. I can't help but feel that I'm living to check off the to-dos, lost in the whirlwind of schedules and meetings and laundry and feedings. But life keeps going, regardless of the fact that I'd like it to pause. It's busy for us, and everyone else I know, and doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

But this time period has also been so very sweet. I've never in my life been so sure of a decision, with me getting to stay home with the girls. I'm living a dream I never knew existed in my heart - so grateful to be home, while also building a business and relationships in a community I've grown to love so much.  

I'm thankful for so many things that staying home has given me.

Our slow-to-rise mornings, that ironically begin before 6 am. Lyla's eagerness for breakfast immediately upon waking. Her desire to help make my morning coffee {but only after demanding to sit on the counter, while checking her and Adaline's seedlings we planted in pots on the windowsill.} Staring at Adaline while she takes her morning nap, kissing her and taking in that sweet baby scent that I never want to forget. Listening to the girls play while Lyla talks in her best "mommy voice", telling Addie to be careful and good job rolling over. Getting the out of nowhere I wuv you, Mommy and Hug me Mommy. Receiving the reassuring baby smiles that let me know I am everything to my babes. Toting my baby buddy with me to meetings and coffee dates and bible study.

I try to remember those moments over the 20 minute maddening where's-your-other-shoe hunts when we're running 20 minutes late. Or the dead-weight, drop to the floor like a wet noodle tantrums. Or when both girls are crying hysterically, which then makes me cry hysterically (at least on the inside).

Another something that has made my heart so full lately is the time spent with my mom, the girls' Grams. This quality time has been so precious as it's something we rarely got when I was growing up, due to never-ending work demands. But, we've been making up for lost time, and it's been so special to see the bond forming between my mom and the girls. Lyla runs around in circles, and yells throughout the house "GRAMS IS HERE" the moment she sees her car pulling up in the driveway, knowing that it's time for Monday morning story time. They run errands together, eat lunch together and Lyla always comes home to tell me all the people she prayed for with Grams.

So getting the completely unexpected and heartbreaking call that my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last week shook me to my core. Gabe was out of town, and the only other person I wanted to talk to was my mom. Which didn't seem quite right, so I really just held myself together during the day, only to surrender to my emotions at night after the girls were asleep.

My mom has cancer. And we're in that incredibly frustrating phase of tests and waiting for results. Weighing pros and cons of all options and praying for guidance and strength. Hopeful for a strong, healthy life with family and grandkids.

But that doesn't make it any less scary. It's been hard. And an unwelcome interruption in this sweet time of life.

But life is life. And it has a mind of its own.

So here we are, juggling and balancing, leaning on faith and each other, and enjoying all of our moments.

Because every moment with the people I love is a treasure. And this life is sweet and one I'm so very thankful to be living.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Adaline Mae : 6 Months (I'm Sorry. Come Again?)

I can't believe it either.

Halfway to the year mark. I remember Lyla's first year going fast. But nothing like this first year with my sweet baby bug.

It honestly stings. Hard.

But this age. Oh, this age is oh so sweet. Just like every other age and stage that I adore so much. Adaline is 100% smiles for miles and cheeks for weeks. I don't think she's ever not smiling. Or talking. Or flailing her chubby baby legs in excitement. I have a feeling she may just be our vibrant wild child.

And it's so fun seeing the differences between her and her big sister. Both such unique personalities and equally fun and special in their own way. But there is one thing they definitely have in common - they adore each other. It's so touching to see their sister bond starting at such a young age. I love it more than anything.

This has been a significant month all around. Several firsts, so many changes, so much FUN!

- This little gal has her social pants on all day everyday. Big sis Lyla was smiley and talkative with those she knew well, but Adaline jabbers and squeals and makes happy yells all the livelong day! She loves all living things and likes to party. My mom tells me all the time that Adaline is so similar to how I was as a baby. I think we may have a mini-me on our hands.

- She loves listening to music and her sister's silly songs. She mimics by singing da-da-da-da all day long. I'm pretty sure "dad" will be her first word. And that's ok. Because Lyla said ma-ma first. ;)

- I flew solo for the first time with baby to go meet up with Gabe while he traveled for work. Even with a suitcase, a duffle bag and a really chunky baby, I honestly wasn't nervous one bit. She did outstanding. Much better than our trip to San Francisco because sweet babe wasn't sick this time around. I nursed her at takeoff and landing, she napped the entire flight and I read my chapter for bible study AND got some work done. I was seriously more productive than in a two week span at home.

- I'm so happy we had some one on one time with Adaline in Atlanta while Lyla "vacationed" at BOTH sets of grandparents'. It was such a treat to give her undivided attention. Plus, she got to play with her newest little buddy, Liam while mom and dad had adult time. {HOW did I ever think having one child was hard? It was such a breeze.}

- Addie-babe sprouted her FIRST TOOTH this month. I noticed it after she bit down on my finger. And honestly, I had a hunch the week before because she had a super fussy day, which is completely unlike her. I had a moment of panic because I sort of forgot how to handle fussy babies. So, I gave her some baby Tylenol, Hyland teething tablets and Lyla's old amber teething necklace. Didn't really think about it again. Until a few days later, that little sucker broke through. Then, just before our trip to Atlanta, I noticed her SECOND TOOTH. I may have shed a tear. I'm not quite ready for all these changes.

- I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet. Girlfriend sleeps with her eyes OPEN. Did you know that's a thing? I googled it. We're talking wide-open. And it is terrifying. One afternoon as I was checking on her during nap time, she was "looking" right at me with glazed over eyes. I ran over to the crib and shook her and started yelling like a crazy woman, and she woke up. She had been in a deep sleep! GiGi and Bots witnessed it too one night when they were babysitting. Super creepy.

- Little miss personality loves to bend backwards. She does this for two reasons 1. to try to get out of whatever seated position she's in and 2. To make eye contact with you if she's faced outward. I'm not quite sure how she does it exactly. But she twists and bends into the most uncomfortable looking position so that she's upside-down looking you straight in the eye. It's hilarious and adorable.

- I was caught completely off guard this month when our little Bug started rolling over. I left her on her playmat, went into the kitchen for something, and came back to find her on her belly. Now, she does it in her crib all the time and sometimes gets stuck. So we obviously stopped swaddling. It was just so surprising because Lyla didn't roll until super late, and even when she did, it was only a handful of times. Addie is a lot more...motivated than her big sis. She scoots all over her crib and tries to get out of every seat we put her in, making it so we have to belt her in to everything. I don't think we buckled Lyla EVER (except for the carseat). We'll probably also have to baby proof the house with this one.

- Last month, she was all about the hands. This month is, what big sis likes to call, "her little feets". Oh how she LOVES those feet sweet baby toes.

- Nursing is still going great. I try to pump every now and again to stock up on bottles so mama can have some time away. But just like I did with Lyla, I don't respond well to pumping and get a very sad little amount. Which makes me so thankful to not have to be working full time and stressed about pumping. But she is entering the distracted phase which means she'll only focus when it's dark and quiet - too many other exciting things going on to eat!

- I remember Lyla doing this exact same catch-you-off-guard move. Addie sneak attacks by grabbing nearby body parts and gnawing on whatever is in front of her. I'll be cuddling with her and think she's asleep and BOOM. She starts eating my face or chomping my arm. She also grabs hair and cheeks really hard. I'll hear Lyla saying from the other room "Oww! Please stop. PLEASE STOP."

- Sleeping is going great too. Aside from when she's sick {and wakes every.single.hour.}Addie goes down around 7 and wakes up around 7 or 7:30. She's never really been a rockstar napper though. This could be due to the fact that we're out and about a lot, and she's not given the princess sleep treatment like Lyla received. Poor second baby. :( I do always try to make sure we're home for at least two really solid naps though. And she doesn't seem to complain. About anything. Ever.

Happy six months, sweet Bug. Goodness, this little ol' heart of mine is full to the brim.