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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.

the girls

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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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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New mom nursing.

Dear baby girl,

One of my favorite times of the day is the quiet stillness of the night when I am alone with you, feeding you and putting you to sleep.

Whether it is at the end of the day or even in the wee hours of the morning, I find so much peace in the moments when you are wrapped perfectly in my arms. Even if I have a lot on my mind, or even if I am completely exhausted, I just look down at you and my heart smiles. With you I find rest and peace; the cares of the world float away for a few moments as my heart is filled with thankfulness for you.

Nursing is not something you can really prepare for when you are pregnant, and no one tells you how hard it is. It takes time, patience and the support and knowledge of others to get you through. My biggest support has been our local La Leche League group, as they have been able to answer my tough questions and provide support when I needed it.

It took a couple months to really figure things out, but I am so glad I stuck with it. Even currently, when things are difficult – whether you are teething or distracted by the world around you – I know it is just a phase and we’ll get through it. These harder times are far outweighed by the others we share, the moments when you and I are the only two people in the world.

The moments when all I hear are your soft breaths as you eat.

The moments when you reach up towards me, wanting to touch my neck and face, as though you are memorizing the details of your momma.

The moments when you pause, stop eating, slowly look up at me and smile. Though it can be frustrating (and painful), I can’t help but smile back at you.

The moments when your hands draw near to your face, your tiny fingers covering your eyes. I slowly study your wrist rolls, where your hand and arm meet together in a small roll and don’t quite form a wrist yet. It is literally the most adorable thing ever.

The moments when you close your eyes and I study your perfect little features: your long eyelashes resting against the tops of your cheeks, your tiny nose pressed against me, your chin slowly drawing up and down.

The moments when you hum softly as you eat, making your own music.

The moments when you fall asleep in my arms, your pursed lips still sucking the air after you’ve stopped eating. I watch you as you fall asleep, your beautiful face completely at rest; your small frame pressed against me. I could watch you and hold you like this forever.

There is something beautiful about these moments, and I will forever cherish them. I know that these days are numbered, and I am thankful to be able to share these moments with you.

I treasure what you and I share together and will carry these moments with me always.

With love,

Momma

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Happy Due Date Day!

Dear baby girl,

You’re finally here!

As we celebrate your due date today, it’s hard to believe it’s been 11 days since you entered this world. We were so surprised and overjoyed when you decided to arrive early. Our perfect little girl, Hannah Katherine, is here!

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Our Hannah Katherine

Your daddy says the look on my face was priceless when my water broke at the doctor’s office last Monday. I couldn’t believe it; although we had a feeling you might be joining us early. At my 36 week appointment my doctor said you were measuring on the small side, and if you were still tiny at 38 weeks, there was a good chance I would be induced. When we found out that you were still measuring small, we headed to the doctor’s office to find out what was next. Turns out, my doctor would have induced me the next day – but you came on your own time instead!

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Me holding you for the first time

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Daddy holding you for the first time

The past 11 days have been a whirlwind as I adjust to life as your momma. We’ve had lots of help and visitors along the way. Your Gammie (my mom) visited for the first week, taking care of you, me and your daddy, helping us adjust to life at home. You also met your daddy’s family – your Grandma, Uncle Brian, Auntie Laura and Cousin Sophia. Sophia was so excited to meet you! She was thrilled to read your first book to you.

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Auntie Laura and Cousin Sophia reading to you

Your Auntie Katie (my sister) came to visit for a few days and just left today. I called her the baby whisperer because you were so calm and peaceful whenever she held and took care of you. We miss her already!

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Momma and Auntie Katie holding you

When you get older, you will hear lots of stories about your Grandpa (my dad) and Pap Pap (Daddy’s dad), who are now in heaven. Two days ago was four years since your Grandpa passed away, and now that you’re here this picture of me and him has so much more meaning. The way he looks at me is the same way your daddy and I look at you, our hearts filled with love.

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Your Grandpa reading to me

We’ve also had a few friends visit at the hospital and at home, bringing treats and gifts for you. We have ventured out to the doctor’s office and even made it to Target and Old Navy yesterday. You did a great job for your first of many shopping trips. 🙂

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Our first shopping trip!

As the cloudy, sleepless haze of the first few days begins to lift and I become accustomed to a new normal, each day feels more joy-filled than the last. Your daddy and I can’t get enough time snuggling with you.

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My perfect little angel.

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Daddy snuggles.

I could say so much more, as my heart is full with love and thoughts I could pour out to you. We are so in love with you, our precious little angel. Welcome to the world, Hannah Katherine.

With love,

Momma

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37 weeks: The Final Countdown

Dear baby,

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind as Daddy and I prepare for your arrival. I can’t believe your due date is just three weeks away!

This month has been full with football, family and fun. Your Uncle Brian is a kicker for the football team at Simpson College, and he and the team are having a great year. (It makes up for the fact that the Steelers are not.) Just so you know, baby, you are being born into a family that has some pretty serious Pittsburgh Steelers fans. You may have some Steelers onesies already. Your Grandma and Pap Pap Schaaf grew up in Pittsburgh, and most of your daddy’s extended family still lives in the area.

When I haven’t been tailgating and watching football, I have been celebrating your arrival with family and friends at two baby showers. You wouldn’t believe how much people love you already! Your nursery is now full of clothes, books and toys, and we’re fully stocked on onesies, blankets and bath time items.

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Family decorated homemade onesies just for you!

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Gammie, me and your Aunt Katie. And you hiding in that bump!

Speaking of your nursery, your daddy spent some time putting the furniture together and getting it set up. I am so happy with how everything came together.

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The before picture of the nursery…

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After – the nursery furniture set up.

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After – your crib looks just as I imagined!

We’re waiting to put some finishing touches in your nursery after you’re born, including your name on the wall. Believe it or not, your daddy and I have names picked out for you! Just a couple hours ago we picked our top two boy and girl names. It was a long process with a lot more disagreeing than I expected, but Daddy and I are both happy with our final choices. We are not sharing these names with anyone, and we have decided to wait until we meet you to decide which name suits you best.

At 37 weeks, it’s crazy to think that you could be born at any time now, and I will be a mom in just a few short weeks. I’m showing signs that you’re getting ready and am starting to feel a lot more pregnant. I think about you all the time and hope and pray you’re doing well in there. I know it’s up to you whenever you are ready, and I just need to patiently wait for you to get here. Just make sure to make your arrival easy on Momma, okay? 🙂 I know the wait and the labor will all be worth it.

I can’t wait to see you soon!

With love,
Momma

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Kicks.

Dear baby,

It’s hard to believe we are less than three months from your due date and that I am just days away from starting my third trimester. It seems this journey just began when I saw that faint blue line and when I heard your heart beat for the first time. My heart smiles at those first special moments and soars as I get that much closer to your arrival. Three months feels like a long way off, yet I know the weeks will fly by.

Within the past couple weeks I’ve really felt you growing and becoming more mobile in my belly. What started as a few occasional flutters has now become a continual reminder of your presence with each little kick or jab against my stomach. As uncomfortable as things are starting to become, I take so much delight in feeling you move around in there. In a way it makes me feel at peace, knowing you are growing and strengthening each day. And at the same time I feel a connection to you, one that I cannot describe with any other word than special.

Even as you manage to pinch my insides or kick my side (I swear you were lying sideways for a few days!), I have to admit, I love being pregnant. There is something so magical about this process: watching my body change, feeling you grow and move within me, and learning about how to care for you and myself while pregnant, all while I prepare for what’s ahead.

There is still so much to do (like pretty much everything), but your daddy and I have started planning and getting ready. We’ve visited some daycares, gotten our registry set up and narrowed down some furniture options for your nursery. Now we just need to make some decisions and purchases – the hard part!

In due time, we will have everything ready for you. Whether we will emotionally feel ready is another story! I am so thankful for these nine months of pregnancy – not just to plan for what’s to come, but also because of this amazing journey and blessing it is being your momma.

With love,
Momma

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Family first.

Dear baby,

Did you know that you are already the center of my world?

I made a decision recently that could potentially change things, or it could change nothing at all. I am taking a risk, a step out in faith, trusting that God will provide the right direction for you, for us, for our family. Sometimes you just don’t know until you try, but you have to ask for God’s provision. And I am asking for God to take care of you first and foremost, as well as your daddy and me.

Planning for an unknown future is both exciting and a little bit scary. I am beyond elated for you to join our world, while at the same time the unknowns fill me with worry. Will I choose the right day care provider? Do I really know what I am doing? Will I be a great mom? The fun unknown: are you my little princess or my little prince? (Side note: everyone is bugging me and wants to know. But I don’t care. You’re my little angel no matter what.)

I am not one of those people who is convinced I can do it all. I don’t know how people can juggle so many projects and commitments at once in addition to having a full-time job and a family. I can’t imagine they have much balance in their lives or are able to put their families first. Because to me, all that matters more than anything in this world is our family. You. Me. Daddy. Our families. Our dear friends. The people I care about the most. And I am trusting that God will take care of us.

With love,
Momma