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6 months in.

Dear baby girl,

And just like that, it has been six months since you came into this world and made me a mom of two beautiful girls.

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It has been long, and yet it has flown by. A year ago at this time, I was a few months pregnant, and I didn’t even know yet that you were a little girl forming in my belly.

And now, your 3-year-old sister is asking me if there’s another baby in my belly because I still haven’t lost my post-baby gut. 🙂 I digress.

My favorite part of being a mom of two girls is seeing the two of you together. Your big sister, Hannah, just loves playing with you. Whether trying to make you laugh, read you stories or just plain being silly and playful, she adores being with you. And you eat it up. You give her the biggest gummy grins and belly laughs. It just melts my heart to see the two of you love one another.

A lot has changed in the first six months of your life, and it’s so much fun to see your personality shine as you become your own person. Here are a few updates on life lately:

You’re a great eater. We’ve been nursing since day one, but just past your 6 month birthday we introduced solid food. You’ve always nursed like a champ, so I knew you would enjoy solid foods. Sure enough, the first time I fed you oatmeal you were ready to do it all by yourself! Since then we’ve also tried pears and apples, which you’ve gobbled up. I don’t imagine you’ll be too picky of an eater. 🙂

You’re not such a great sleeper. I knew it was too good to be true when you started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks old, but I certainly enjoyed it while it lasted (until you were about 16 weeks old. The four month sleep regression is very real.) It has gotten better from the four-times-a-night wake-up sessions, but I am still up typically once in the middle of the night and again around 4:30 am. During the week this usually means I start my day reeeallly early. It’s hard. And exhausting. But I am enjoying the snuggles and the time just the two of us while I can.

You love bath time. Oh my how you love the water. You are not quite sitting up by yourself yet (you last about 5-10 seconds before starting to tip over), but you love to lean forward and drink the water as it comes out of the sink faucet. Or stick your hand up to it and make a big mess. 🙂

You’re working on getting teeth. It looks like your two front teeth could break through any day now, which has made you a little more fussy lately. To distract you and cheer you up, I’ve been bringing you outside. You love to go on walks and look at everything around you. And you just tried sitting in the grass today and enjoyed pulling it out by the fistful.

You are trying so hard to crawl. You have such a fierce determination to move. You’ll do a little mini push up and pull your legs under you, but you just can’t seem to figure out how to propel yourself forward. But you have figured out how to go backwards and sideways. You almost ended up under the coffee table the other day. 🙂 You get frustrated when you can’t go the way you want to. I wish so badly I could help you! Your sister likes to show you how it’s done and will crawl and scoot on the floor by you. It’s pretty adorable.

There are so many things happening in your world right now. I’m sure your little brain is overwhelmed by it all, which is why you’ve been a little extra clingy to Momma lately. While it can be exhausting, I’m not complaining. I actually kind of love it. I love being able to be there for you. Provide for you. Love you more than anything.

The past 6 months have been some of the most exhausting, but also the most beautiful and rewarding of my life. I love you and our family so much.

With love,

Momma

 

 

 

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Welcome, Hailey Rose!

Dear baby girl,

You are here!

After 39 weeks of expectantly and eagerly waiting for your arrival, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect little angel. Our beautiful Hailey Rose is here!

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Our beautiful Hailey Rose

We couldn’t have planned for a more seamless labor and delivery process. My doctor gave me the option to be induced a week early, so I took it. I worked right up until the day before you came, and early in the morning 18 days ago your daddy drove me to the hospital. We dropped your big sister off at daycare on our way, and she was excited that her baby sister would be joining our family later that day!

I was originally planning to deliver at the same hospital your sister was born at, but they called the day before and asked if I would be willing to deliver at a different hospital or wait to be induced until the following week. I was SO ready for your arrival that I didn’t hesitate to switch locations.

We checked in to Methodist West shortly before 7:30 am. The hospital was peaceful and quiet on the maternity floor, and it matched my emotions going into the process. I had this sense of calm within me leading up to and throughout my labor, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the staff and nurses at the hospital making sure everything went smoothly.

I was induced shortly before 8 am, and it felt like time flew before I knew I was ready to give birth. Sure enough, you were born just a few short hours later at 11:33 am.

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Mommy and Hailey

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Daddy and Hailey

Your daddy stayed with me for a few hours after delivery before going to pick up your sister from daycare. I was so excited for Hannah to meet you for the first time.

When Daddy and Hannah arrived you were getting your vitals checked, and your big sister loved seeing and being a part of the process.

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Hannah holds Hailey’s hand while she gets her vitals checked 

Words cannot describe the feelings I had when we had our whole family together. Seeing your big sister covering you affectionately with kisses. Watching your daddy help Hannah hold you. Seeing him fall naturally into his new role as a father of two precious girls.

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Daddy and the girls

My time in the hospital went by quickly, and before I knew it I was getting ready to go home with my two girls.

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Mommy and the girls

We came home the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and we were so thankful to have family come be with us the following week. Your grandma visited for a few days, and then Gammie, your Auntie Katie, Uncle Brad, Ethan and Brennan came up to celebrate a belated Thanksgiving. We loved having everyone visit.

After a full week and the Thanksgiving holiday, your big sister went back to “school” and your daddy stayed home with me for the second week. And now, we are on our own, just the two of us, for the rest of my maternity leave.

I’m grateful for all the things I learned the first time around. And I’m even more grateful that you are letting me get a little sleep at night. I don’t expect it to last. 🙂

I’m a lot more calm this time, and I have an amazing tribe of family and friends around me. We are so blessed to have them surround us with love. And we are beyond blessed to have our second daughter, we are so in love with you. Welcome to the world, Hailey Rose.

With love,

Momma

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38 weeks.

Dear baby girl,

You’re moving like crazy right now, and as I sit here envisioning what you look like and praying for a healthy baby girl, I can’t help but feel a little sad that very soon I will no longer be pregnant.

There’s something special that happens when you’re pregnant, feeling tiny life forming inside of you, watching your belly slowly grow bigger and bigger from week to week.

I no longer view my body the same way that I used to. It isn’t just mine anymore. It is a vessel. A home for you. I provide your nourishment. Your sustenance. I am all that you know right now, and only from the inside.

Very soon you will know me from the outside. My voice will be more clear, and you will begin to see and know me as your mother. Even though I will be sad to no longer be carrying you on the inside, I am so excited to hold you in my arms for the first time.

I look forward to the moment when we will finally meet; I will stare at you as I memorize your eyes and your gaze, holding your tiny fingers in my hand. You have been knit in my womb, and very soon I will see who God has been forming for the past nine months. You are His. And you are mine.

Our days are numbered as a family of three. When I first got pregnant, I was anxious about all of the changes that meant for our family. I didn’t know what to expect (and I still don’t). I was (and still am a little) nervous about how stressful it will be.

But the farther I have come along, I have felt thankful. Blessed beyond measure. So fortunate for the opportunity to bring a second daughter into this world.

The closer I get to your arrival, the more my worries subside, and the more excited I become for the changes ahead. I can’t wait to see Hannah become a big sister, and I am looking forward to seeing your daddy fall in love with you just as I already have. And I couldn’t be more excited to be your mommy. To have you in our family. To become a family of four very soon.

With love,
Momma

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Transitions.

Dear Baby H,

I rocked with you in your chair for the last time tonight.

I ran my hand through your hair, and we whispered quietly together in the dark as I tried to help you wind down for sleep. At first, I didn’t want to cave to “sitting in the chair for a minute” because I don’t feel well and just wanted you to go to sleep already. But then it hit me.

Tomorrow isn’t just the first day of your new big girl bed. Tonight is the last night in your crib. The last night of rocking with you in the chair, snuggling in next to you since you don’t want to sit on my lap anymore. The two of us barely fit together in there side by side, as your baby sister is taking up a lot more residence these days and my hips are slowly getting wider.

But I’m so glad I caved to sitting with you. Even though I was exhausted, worn out and just needed to lie down. I won’t forget your sweet smile as you looked up at me. I won’t forget the kisses and hugs you gave my belly and your baby sister.

After a few minutes, you all of a sudden wanted to stop and wanted Daddy to put you in your crib. “We’ll sit in the chair later,” you said to me. I knew in my heart that later wasn’t going to happen. I let myself dwell in the few moments we shared together, and I held and squeezed you as you slowly slid out of the chair to go get Daddy.

So many memories of you being in your room. Planning the nursery. Bringing you home from the hospital and putting you in the crib for the first time (petrified and checking on you 10,000 times). Lying down on the floor next to your crib during rough nights (and seasons). Rocking with you in the chair, whether nursing, reading books, or simply winding down at the end of the day. Reading stacks of books sprawled across the floor. Playing with your baby doll and stuffed animals. Practicing your somersaults and dance moves. Seeing your face peering at me from inside the crib, so excited to see me the first thing in the morning.

There are so many moments to remember, and there will be so many more to make in your new big girl room. Even though I am nervous, I know I need to trust that we are going to get through this transition. You love being a big girl and doing things on your own, so I am hopeful that you will enjoy going into your new big girl bed.

Though it’s a big transition and an end to a room with many memories filled with you, I am excited for you to be a big girl, and a big sister.

With love,

Momma

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My new baby girl.

Dear baby girl,

Today, I write not to my big baby girl, but to the baby girl yet to join our family. The one who is squirming and kicking around inside my belly, as though you are eagerly anticipating your arrival into this world.

Baby girl, I feel like I owe you an apology. I’m sure it’s completely normal, but I feel like I have been so busy and exhausted this pregnancy, it’s been hard for me to just rest and completely focus on you. Your life inside of me. You becoming ready to enter this world and our family.

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I couldn’t be more thrilled for Hannah to have a baby sister. I just know she is going to love you as much as your Daddy and I will. She will care for you and want to help you just as much as she wants to help Mommy and Daddy. I can’t wait to see how the two of you are together.

I feel like my days are currently consumed with work and mom life, and it’s been such a whirlwind that I’ve hardly been able to just enjoy being pregnant. Feeling your very excited kicks flutter around within me. You are much more active than I remember your sister being. I have a feeling you are going to have even more energy than your sister and will keep us on our toes!

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The second half of my pregnancy (which is actually more than half over, I’m 23 weeks already!), I hope to slow down more. Notice you. Feel you. Talk and sing to you. Actually start planning for your arrival-I should probably figure out your big sister’s room and get a few special things just for you for the nursery. And of course finally come to an agreement with your daddy on a name. We’ve got a little time on that one.

It feels like this pregnancy has flown by, and I know it’s just going to keep getting faster the closer I get to my due date. With each week, my belly grows bigger and your movements become more regular. I seem to be growing at a much faster pace than last time!

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Everything seems to be going more quickly. I am hardly counting the weeks, in fact, I have forgotten at one point already how far along I am. I guess that’s a sign this isn’t my first time. 🙂 But that’s OK. Instead of counting down the weeks, I am embracing them. With a thankful heart filled with joy and anticipation for your arrival. I couldn’t be more blessed to have another beautiful girl.

With love,

Momma

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Perfect love.

Dear baby girl,

This week, I experienced one of my favorite moments with you yet.

I was getting you ready for bed a couple nights ago (Monday, April 11 to be exact) when you looked at me, gave me a hug and said, “I love you” as you squeezed me tight.

My heart melted on the spot.

You’ve said I love you to me before, but from what I can tell you were mostly just repeating it or saying it because I’ve asked you to say it. I figured you kind of had an idea of what it meant since I show you affection through kisses and hugs as I say I love you. But for you to willingly offer those words to me out of the blue, in a way that made me know that you meant to speak them intentionally to me, made my heart soar.

I am so thankful for and blessed by our mother-daughter relationship. The way you look at me and love me with such reckless abandon. The way I love you unconditionally. This is the relationship that God longs for me to have with Him. And for you to have with Him, too.

God doesn’t want us to love Him because He asks us to. He wants us to love Him because it is our response to His love for us. Just like your love for me is a result of me pouring out myself and showing you my love.

I pray that I would continue to see and experience God in new ways as I grow as a mom. And I pray that you would know and experience this same love of God someday. We’ve started saying prayers together every night, and you love to sing the Jesus song.

Baby girl, I pray that you may experience the kindness and goodness of our loving Father. I pray that you will find your identity in Him and not in anything in this world.

I love you so much, and I am so thankful for your love for me. Thank you for showing me just how beautiful and perfect love can be.

With love,

Momma

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Almost Two.

Dear baby girl,

Here we are, almost 22 months in. But I no longer speak in months — I say “almost 2” or “she’ll be 2 in November” to those who ask.

School has started and we are in the “dog days” of summer, soaking up every last day of sunshine and warmth until cool, crisp days of fall settle in. While we will still be able to enjoy being outside on the weekends, pretty soon the days will be short and the evenings will be spent attempting to burn your energy indoors before winding down for bed.

Energetic. That’s one word I would use to describe you these days. You are constantly on the move, whether walking, running, climbing or even dancing. As you would say, you like to “Go go go” and it’s never a dull moment with you. Whether we are playing at the park, going for walks together or dancing in the kitchen, we are finding ways to be active and burn off your loads of energy.

Talkative. You continue to amaze me with your rapidly expanding vocabulary. You speak in full sentences these days, ranging from “Thank you, Mommy!” to “Daddy takes a shower; Hannah takes a bath.” What amazes me more is your ability to comprehend even more than you speak. I can tell you understand most of what I am saying to you, and you continue to ask me “Wa-wa” (What’s that?) so you can learn more about the world around you.

Curious. You’ve always had a desire to learn about and see what’s going on around you. You have a natural curiosity to know what Mommy and Daddy are doing, and you want to be a part of it. You want to know everything and everyone around you. You are an avid people watcher, and once you overcome your initial shyness of meeting people, you will talk to anyone. You want to learn names and love to tell me about your friends at daycare and in the nursery at church.

You have such a zest for life these days, enjoying so many things. Here are just a few of your favorites (cue Julie Andrews):

Going to the park. You love the swing (aka “sing sing”), going down the slide and constantly being on the move. You are asking on a daily basis if you can go swing at the park. And if the weather’s great, how can we resist?

Elmos and monkeys. You just recently started watching TV, and it seems to be on a pretty regular basis that you are asking to watch Elmos (Sesame Street) and monkeys (Curious George). You don’t typically watch much during the day, but it’s really cute to see you get excited and dance along to the music of your favorite shows.

RIce Krispies (aka “Krissies”) are your number one food request. A close second: bars. Granola bars and breakfast bars. Your love for Cheerios is slowly fading and being replaced by other breakfast foods. Yet you still won’t eat eggs. Maybe someday. Your favorite dinner menu item is still spaghetti (aka “sketties”).

Balls in all shapes and sizes. Since a young age you have loved playing with balls – small ones you play with indoors and larger ones you play with outdoors. Your daddy and I invested in a basketball hoop that you’ve used a few times, but you mostly just enjoy rolling and throwing them around, or simply holding them in your hands. Sometimes you like to play the game of seeing how many you can hold at once. I think your personal record is four. 🙂

Puzzles (aka “pubbles”). You have gotten really good at putting together your favorite Elmo and Big Bird puzzle, plus you enjoy a few that grandma gave you when she recently visited. You like to do your “pubbles” just about every day.

Affection. You are full of affection and love giving hugs and kisses to Mommy and Daddy. You even blow kisses to others and hug your friends. One of your favorite things to do these days is hold hands with both Mommy and Daddy when we are walking together. I love the affection you share – it makes me feel so loved and that I’m doing a good job at showing you love as your momma. More than anything, I want you to be secure in my love for you, for you to know that you are so incredibly loved by me and your daddy.

We’ve seen so many changes in you in just the past few months —  I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

With love,

Momma