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Almost 18 months.

Dear Hailey Rose,

You are full of so much life and personality these days, and I just can’t get enough. The older you get, the more zest for life you seem to have. Your exuberance brings so much joy to our family.

As you near the 18 month mark, I can’t help but reflect on just how much you’ve changed. As the months fly by, I see you not only becoming your own person, but with each day I also seem to see more of myself in you.

Hailey Rose, you mischievously grin when you know you’re pushing boundaries and testing my limits. You never cease to stop trying to go after what you want. As trying as this can be, your persistence that you get from me is a trait that will carry you a long way someday.

You don’t take no for an answer. Even though your favorite word seems to be “No!” these days, you get upset when Momma and Daddy tell you no because you want to go your own course and are determined to go after it. You get that determination from me.

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You insisted on sitting like a big girl today.

Hailey Rose, I am in love with your tiny curls starting to grow in your short, thick hair. I can tell already you are going to be a blonde girl with lots of wavy hair like your momma.

You babble endlessly. You are speaking so much more these days, and I can’t believe how much you know, from images in books like animals and food to body parts and more. You love to repeat things we say, which is absolutely adorable. Phrases like “uh-oh” and “ta-da” and words like “color” and “please” and “thank you” are just too cute for words. My favorite is your little “grrr” noise you make for just about every animal. You love to chatter, and I am pretty certain you get that from your momma. 🙂

You look up to your big sister. You just love spending time with “Nana” and miss her and are looking for her as soon as she leaves the room. It reminds me of my own childhood and playing with your Auntie Katie. You want to do everything Hannah does (and of course play with all of the same toys). As trying as the moments can be at times, it melts my heart to see the love you have for each other.

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Coloring at the big table just like Hannah.

You love to read. This is my favorite thing to do with you these days. You love to sit with me on the couch with a giant stack of books. Sometimes I will read to you, and sometimes you will name the pictures and sometimes you will point and want me to tell you what I see. I have loved to read for as long as I can remember, and I hope you continue to love reading just like your momma and big sister.

You don’t have the greatest moves, but you sure love to dance. Your signature move is spinning in a circle with your hands straight out at your sides like an airplane. It is hilariously adorable. I’m pretty sure my dance moves aren’t nearly as entertaining to watch.

You love to do just about anything. You always seem to be up for whatever your big sister does, and you want to be a part of what she is doing. You seem to have no fear when it comes to playing and trying new things. You get your sense of adventure from your momma, but I wouldn’t quite call myself fearless, either.

Though it may seem like you are my mini, Hailey Rose, you’ve definitely got your daddy’s playfulness. Roughhousing is near the top of your list of favorite things to do, and your daddy offers plenty of it. Seeing the two of you play and laugh together just fills my heart with so much joy.

I am so filled with love for you my sweet girl; what a whirlwind this past (nearly) 18 months has been. I look forward to the summer, spending lots of time outside and making lots of fun memories together as a family. It’s going to be a blast with you, my little firecracker. 🙂

With love,

Momma

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Attitude is everything.

Dear baby girls,

There really is never a dull moment in our house.

Sometimes, when life hands you lemons you just have to make something resembling lemonade. And sometimes, you just need to have a good cry first.

I never imagined I would be in this position again. Booted up. Parting the sea of toys so I can use my crutches in the living room. Riding a scooter around my office. Depending on other people to help me out. Watching your daddy do everything around the house and feeling helpless and guilty for his exhaustion.

And we’re only a few days in.

For two weeks I’ve been instructed to not walk. And I am in this boot for at least four weeks.

How did this happen, you ask?

Well let me tell you. I don’t do anything small. A simple trip and fall on the stairs led to a pinky toe/metatarsal fracture that has left me pretty helpless.

This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve had three (yes, three) surgeries on my right foot. Two of them were three years ago, when Hannah was about the age Hailey is now.

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Mommy and Hannah, May 2015

Thankfully, this one doesn’t require surgery. And is on my left foot, so I can at least drive. I’m just wishing it didn’t happen and am frustrated at the situation. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from your daddy, it’s that dwelling in things, feeling guilty, doesn’t change what’s happened. We just need to roll with what life has handed us. Deal with the challenges, face them head on. Learn and grow. Have your moment if you need to and press on.

So on we press. I had my good cry the night it happened. Because I just knew that it was bad. But dwelling in it and feeling guilty about it doesn’t change the situation.

Attitude is everything.

So we make something resembling lemonade.

It means not being afraid to laugh at myself as I ride a scooter around my office. It’s a great conversation starter, let me tell you. It’s made for some entertaining emails and shared meals in the lunchroom.

It means movie nights in Mommy and Daddy’s room where we snuggle up with each other in bed.

It means extra snuggles and extra patience for everyone.

It means an extra helping (or five) of grace for Daddy as he does projects during naptime and hustles for everyone when we are awake.

It means not being afraid to ask for help when I need it. But it also means being mindful and realizing what isn’t really necessary. (Do I really need to drink that third cup of coffee?)

It means pausing and resting. Taking stock of what matters. Enjoying the time with my loves. Even if it is spent mostly laying down with my boot on a pillow. It’s amazing the things I’ve learned can entertain while lying down. We’ve done lots of snuggling and book reading. A visit to the library or bookstore is in our future when I can walk again!

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Hannah sitting next to Momma with a stack of books this morning and reading me books. Melt my heart.

This time is challenging for all of us as we are learning to adapt. But we’ll get through it. It is my hope that you girls see our attitudes and faith as your guide. So that when you face challenges someday, you may be resilient, strong and filled with gratitude in the face of adversity.

Attitude is everything.

I am so very thankful for your daddy and all he does for us. His love language is acts of service, and he sure is doing a lot of that right now. Once I’m back on my feet again, I look forward to planning something special we can do for him as a thank you.

I am looking forward for things to be “normal” again soon. It’s been a long winter and there will be so much to explore this spring and summer.

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March 24 snowfall. Where did spring go?

I am excited for trips to the zoo, park and farmer’s market and setting up the pool in the backyard.

And of course Easter is next weekend! Hannah has picked out her outfit already:

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Hannah was so excited to pick out her outfit for Easter next weekend, down to the yellow barrette with Easter chicks on it. 🙂

As we navigate the crazy of these next couple weeks, in addition to the crazy that is our lives, we know that we’ll get through it together. It’s just all a part of life’s never-ending adventures. Never a dull moment! You girls keep us on our toes, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

With love,

Momma

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Stop growing so fast.

Dear baby girls,

Well, it’s official. I am no longer a parent of a baby, but of two little girls.

I’m not sure when it happened, but it feels like I blinked and now I have a toddler and a preschooler.

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It’s a bittersweet transition as we’ve packed away bottles and baby clothes, but it is also exciting as we see the two of you become best friends. You love to play together, albeit for short periods of time. The bickering over toys and the joys of toddlerhood keep things interesting to say the least. But the moments where the two of you dote on each other, give each other hugs and kisses and play so well together make the hard moments worth it.

At 15 months old, Hailey is into everything. Literally. Discovering all the things you should — and shouldn’t. We keep you from scaling furniture and grabbing everything out of accessible cupboards and drawers. When you’re not keeping busy playing, you love being a big helper. In the morning you will help get yourself dressed (if you’re not running around the room half-naked 🙂 ) and you will grab your shoes, coat, hat and gloves when it’s time to go. This morning you were so confused when we tried to tell you we didn’t need your hat and gloves!

Reading books has become one of Hailey’s favorite activities. You love to grab the books and thumb through them quickly, resting in your “reading seat” or grabbing one and itching to climb up on Mommy or Daddy’s lap to read. It melts my heart to snuggle up with you and read. You’ve learned so much and can point out many objects, from blocks to cars to shoes to your belly and nose. Your favorite words to say these days are “Hi,” “Nana” (Hannah), and “NO!” We couldn’t be more proud. 🙂

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Hailey Rose, your zest for life and joyful attitude fill our hearts with such love.

At 4 years old, Hannah has such a big heart. Your love for your family and friends shines through, and you say the sweetest things these days. From telling me I’m the best mommy in the whole world to saying you want to be a nice mommy just like me someday, you are melting my heart on an almost daily basis. Tonight at bedtime, I hurt my hand. You asked me if I was OK, said you were sorry I got hurt and then wanted to kiss and rub it to make it better. Your kindness and empathy just make me so proud to be your momma.

We do have our moments, however. This age can also be trying as you are becoming more and more independent. Not quite being completely self-sufficient makes certain activities more time consuming than they need to be and more frustrating for you (and let’s be honest, for me a little bit, too). But I love seeing you become your own person. One of your favorite things to do these days is pick out your own clothes, and each day your outfit seems to include a skirt and something pink, your favorite color.

You also love to play games, read and have movie nights with Mommy and Daddy. You crave to learn so much, from spelling words to asking questions about anything and everything. The questions are never-ending, but I love your thirst for knowledge.

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Hannah Kate, you bring such a sweet, kind-hearted and loving presence into our lives, and we couldn’t be more proud of you.

Being momma to both of you girls just fills my heart to the brim each day. You’re growing up so fast, and I am soaking up every minute of it. I wish for time to slow down, and yet at the same time, I look forward to what’s to come.

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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Mom life with a 15 month old

Dear baby girl,

I don’t know when it happened, but I feel like I blinked one day and stared at you, realizing you are no longer a baby, but rather a walking, talking toddler.

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And I couldn’t be more in love.

While a small part of me misses the snuggly newborn stage, this age is so much fun. You’re no longer just a baby for me to hold and care for, you are becoming your own person for me to interact with, and your personality is starting to shine.

You are such a happy baby – er, toddler. Unless you are sick or teething, your general disposition is always full of smiles and laughs, and you love giving hugs. I recently taught you how to blow kisses, so now you enjoy blowing kisses at momma and daddy, or even during mealtime, which makes for a fun cleanup.

One of your favorite games at the moment is peek-a-boo, and you will hide behind the curtains in the living room, pop out and yell “Boo!” before running into my arms, smothering me with kisses. It is pretty much my favorite thing ever.

You seem to be absorbing and learning a lot these days. You can speak quite a few words beyond your adorable baby babble, from momma and dada to shoes and boots to go, hi and bye. You’ve finally got the waving thing down, too. Sometimes you’ll wave towards yourself. 🙂

The other night we were playing and discovered you knew way more than we realized. Your daddy and I would ask you where certain toys were, and you easily would grab your different animals and toys, bringing them to mommy and daddy. You’re also starting to learn different body parts, pointing out your nose, belly, ears and hair.

It is so much fun to see you discover all these new things about yourself and the world around you, and I couldn’t be more proud. I know that every child learns things at a different pace, so even though you seem to be catching on to these things quickly, I’m sure that means something we’ll really want you to learn quickly – like potty training – is going to be a battle. Ha.

It’s been a crazy past couple of months, as I recently had surgery on my foot and couldn’t walk for about four weeks. Your daddy did a good job taking care of us, even though we spent about six weeks taking turns being sick. At least one of us was sick between Christmas and now! I am thankful we are all on the mend and close to the end of cold and flu season. Even though I am still wearing a boot on my foot to get around, things are getting back to “normal” around here – as much as they can be with a toddler!

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Although it’s not nearly as quiet around here as when you were a baby, I wouldn’t trade this stage for anything. Every age has its challenges, from sleep deprivation to teething to mealtime madness, but every age also has its rewards. Watching you learn and discover the world, seeing your adorable little personality shine and experiencing your love as my daughter are what brings me joy each day. It is a blessing to be able to love you and be your momma.

With love,

Momma

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Mom life: One year in.

Dear baby girl,

Happy birthday to my favorite one-year-old!

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I had another mom recently ask if it was hard for me when you turned a year old, as she had a difficult time when her daughter did. I felt like it should have been a more emotional experience, but honestly, I was more excited than anything to celebrate your first birthday. We had a blast celebrating with family, and you loved hanging out with your cousins and devouring your cake.

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This year has been the most rewarding and challenging of my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful for where we are today. Someday you’ll better understand the journey we’ve been on this year, as I’ve gone from working mom to stay-at-home mom to work-from-home mom. I got to spend the first three months of your life at home on maternity leave, returned to work for a few months, and even though I was laid off from my job, I wouldn’t trade the nearly six months I got to spend at home with you for anything in the world.

As a work-from-home freelance momma I have the flexibility to be with you on a moment’s notice, like when you recently got sick with an ear infection (thanks, daycare). My favorite part of the day is picking you up from daycare and seeing you light up with excitement when you see me. You wrap your arms around my neck and give me a little squeeze, and your dimples show as you give me a toothy grin.

We have a little mirror that hangs on the back window of the car in front of the car seat so that I can watch you in the rearview mirror while I drive. One of my favorite things to do is crank up the tunes and watch as you bop your head and laugh with the music. It is pretty much the cutest thing ever. You love music, and just over a month ago you figured out how to dance along. You love getting your groove on with momma, and we frequently have dance parties when we get home, whether you’re dancing on your own or I hold you and we dance around the living room. I’m sure the neighbors love it. 🙂

Another fun milestone you reached just days before your first birthday was taking your first steps! You were hanging out with me in the kitchen when you stood slowly, took a few steps and sat down again. It happened so fast I almost couldn’t believe it! Then a couple days later you did it again for Daddy. We haven’t see you do it since, but I’m sure you’ll be walking before we know it! You like cruising from one piece of furniture to the next, and you enjoy playing with your new toys you received for your birthday that help you walk. You also love reaching out to me and grabbing my hands, taking steps and walking towards me.

One of my favorite things about being your momma is seeing your joy and excitement as you reach new milestones and discover more about the world around you. I love experiencing each phase of your life with you. Perhaps that’s why I don’t feel overly emotional as you grow and get older. The best piece of advice I got from your Gammie is to enjoy every phase, each moment of your life. It’s easy to fondly look back at memories or excitedly look ahead at what’s to come, but there’s nothing like savoring the beauty of the present moment, celebrating each day and every milestone with you.

We’re one year in, and I couldn’t be more proud, more grateful, more blessed to be your momma. Here’s to celebrating every year together.

With love,
Momma

P.S. Just so you know, you will forever be my baby girl, no matter how old you are.

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Life Lately: 10 Months

Dear baby girl,

So much has been happening in your world lately, it is fun to see how you change from day to day. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of new things:

You fed yourself for the first time! We started with something simple and got puffs that dissolve on your tongue. It took you a while to figure out how to get them in your mouth. For the longest time you would just hold onto it, play with it, or just let it stick to your hand. We were so excited when you finally got it and kept doing it. We are still working on other foods…you’ll take them on a spoon just fine, but if I put them on your tray you just want to play with them, squish them or throw them on the ground. However, today we succeeded with our first attempt at Cheerios. 🙂 We’re pretty much done with purees these days and are eating lots of mashed and chopped foods. I made my first batch of homemade applesauce and baked apples that I’m excited for you to try. You were being finicky at dinner tonight, so all you ate were Cheerios.

One thing you started doing just after feeding yourself is clapping. We would always clap for you when you figure out something and say, “Yay!” and now you clap with us. You also like to randomly clap, which is pretty darn adorable. You’ll clap for yourself after you feed yourself, and you’ll clap anytime you hear us say yay. You’re a smart little cookie.

You (finally!) got two more teeth. You officially have your two front teeth as of today. The second one finally broke through. You have been working on them for a long time, and you’ve been pretty sore the past couple weeks. I’m glad these are in – I am imagining these are the worst ones to deal with. I am hopeful that teething will be much easier going forward.

You are taking “steps” while holding our hands. Now that you’re standing and more active, you want to keep moving. We’re showing you a little bit what it’s like to walk, and you’ll do it for a few steps while holding our hands and walking away from us.

You’ve become our little climber. You want to climb everything, from the couch to the bed to the stairs. You’ve been on the go since you figured out you could move. I couldn’t believe the  first time you climbed the stairs – you were just 8 months old!

You are one Chatty Kathy. You’ve started “talking” a lot more these days, imitating sounds we make and having little conversations with yourself while you play. I’ve noticed you do it a lot when you’re tired, but you’re pretty much chatting all day these days. You love to make a “suh suh” sound while looking out the window, which makes me think you might understand “outside” as a word, but that could just be me thinking you’re my baby genius. 🙂

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New favorites. One of your favorite things to do these days is to make a new version of “crazy baby face” where you clench your fists and say “Yay!” really excitedly. You also enjoy musical toys, opening doors and drawers (more baby proofing is on the list of things to do this weekend) and being momma’s sous chef in the kitchen.

We’re getting pretty close to 11 months…it’s crazy that I am already planning your first birthday! I am so not ready for you to be a toddler. Can you be a baby for a little while longer? I am loving this age and stage, taking it all in with you.

With love,

Momma