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Life lately: 8 Months

Dear baby girl,

Its hard to believe that summer is already starting to wind down and we’re approaching back-to-school season. (And the Iowa State Fair!) We’ve enjoyed a pretty mild summer, with just a few days of blistering heat. We have taken advantage of the warmer days and taken you swimming, and on the cooler days we take a lot of walks.

After a big milestone month in June, from starting solids to sitting up on your own to scooting around, I thought things might slow down a bit this month. A few weeks ago we hit another sleep regression as you started to fight naps and bedtime, which made me think another milestone might be near. Sure enough, just a couple weeks ago, in the midst of a bedtime battle, your daddy and I found you standing in your crib. I went from frustrated to proud momma in a matter of seconds!

The month has been filled with a lot of excitement, family and friends. Over 4th of July weekend we road tripped to Davenport so you could meet your new cousin Landon, who was born just a couple days before. He is such a little sweetie! You also caught up with his big sister Sophia. You two are definitely going to be great friends when you’re older!

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You and your cousin Sophia

After spending the first day of the weekend with your daddy’s family, we continued on to the Chicago area where you got to finally meet your cousins Ethan and Brennan for the first time.

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You and your cousins Brennan and Ethan

It was fun to watch you play together and see your Auntie Katie and Uncle Brad’s new house. It was a short visit, but we had a lot of fun. We’ll get to see them again in a couple weeks at my cousin’s wedding. A lot of my family is looking forward to meeting you!

After our Chicago visit, we returned to Davenport for the last day of the weekend before heading back home. We’re planning a weekend for your grandma to come visit us here again soon. She misses you so much already!

Just two weeks after that road trip, you and I headed west to visit my lifelong best friend Andrea, who was just a couple hours from us visiting her brother. We hadn’t seen each other in three years, so it was fun to see her, catch up and meet her youngest daughter Joelle, who turns two in just a couple weeks. You enjoyed playing with her as well. You like making new friends!

This weekend was a little more low key, filled with swimming, taking walks and playing. Oh, and of course, you were practicing your new standing skills! You’re starting to grasp crawling but haven’t quite mastered it yet. I imagine we’ll be seeing that happen in just a matter of weeks. It’s crazy to see just how quickly you learn and develop over such a short amount of time. I’m one proud momma and love seeing you grow and discover the world around you. I look forward to the adventures the next month holds!

With love,

Momma

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Motherhood.

Dear baby girl,

Every night before I go to bed, I check to make sure you are okay. I peek inside your bedroom door and watch you sleep in the soft glow of the night light, waiting to see you shift in your crib, listening closely for the softness of your breath in between the ticks of the bathroom clock.

I sometimes creep into your room quietly for that certainty, placing my hand lightly on your back (you love to sleep on your belly even though I place you on your back every night), waiting to feel the rise and fall of your breath. Sometimes you’ll let out a high-pitched sigh as you exhale, your sweet tune lingering in the air.

There is a peace that fills me as I watch you sleep, and for a moment my worries vanish, because all that exists in that moment is my love for you.

As much as I’d like to tell you that every moment is pure bliss as a mother, that wouldn’t be true. Every day has its challenges, whether it’s fighting naps and bed time, dealing with inexplicable fussiness or the pain you’re experiencing from getting new teeth. Add in the stress of trying to make the right decisions for you, from your sleeping patterns to your eating habits and everything in between, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.

Every day, at the end of the day, I have to remind myself that I am your momma, and I am making decisions that I feel are best for you. In your peaceful sleeping state, I am reminded and know that you are loved, cared for and thriving because of how your daddy and I are taking care of you.

Some nights I may have spent a couple hours trying to put you to bed, watching as you try to play and are distracted by everything around you, rather than going to sleep. Sometimes I may get up and leave you for a few moments, either letting you cry and settle yourself down or waiting and going back in if necessary. It never gets easier letting you cry, which is why I am not always consistent. I want nothing more than for you to be a happy baby, and I strive to make decisions I feel are best in the moment. It may take a few tries and some patience, but when you settle down, you and I share the most beautiful time together before you go to sleep. There is nothing more perfect than watching you and holding you in my arms.

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered about parenthood, it is that there is no one right way to parent a child. I look at you and your needs, trust my instincts and do what I feel is best to help you grow and thrive. Some decisions are more difficult to make than others. Some days I feel like I have reached my limit, not wanting to listen to you cry but not wanting to rescue you, feeling like I just need to breathe for a few moments.

As a parent, just when you think you’ve reached the end of yourself and you have nothing more to give, you are filled with an inexplicable strength, joy and unconditional love for your child, far greater than you ever imagined possible. This is my every day life. This is motherhood.

That is why every night, before I go to bed, I don’t just check to make sure you are still breathing. I also catch my breath and slowly exhale, letting out my worries. I inhale strength and let my spirit be restored and filled with peace as I watch you sleep. I can’t help but smile as I watch you, your perfect, pure innocence captured in your closed eyes, pursed lips and soft breaths.

My smile lingers as I go to bed, and I close my eyes thinking of you, looking forward to sharing tomorrow together.

With love,

Momma