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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

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Toddler life: Almost 18 months

Dear baby girl,

I was going to wait until 18 months to write an update, but with so many changes in your world lately, this seems long overdue.

The past few months have been a whirlwind as I have had one foot surgery and now another, keeping me off of my feet and unable to do as much as I used to. As hard as it has been for me as a momma who may have slight control tendencies, I have come to realize that there is more than one way to do laundry, and your daddy can still pick out a pretty cute outfit for you to wear for the day. There may be days where you’ve been in PJs most of the day, but those are also the days I’ve been able to spend with you while your daddy does yard work and projects around the house all while doing laundry and making dinner in between getting you up in the morning and ready for bed.

I read this quote in an article today, which made me even more incredibly thankful for your daddy through this process:

“Throughout these trying times, I’ve come to find out that marriage and parenting is never 50/50. And you know what? Thank God for that. There are so many times one of us feels as if we’re giving more than “our share,” but the truth of the matter is, when one of us isn’t able to give our owed portion, the other makes up for it. And that’s the pure beauty and absolute phenomenon to an ever-changing and an ever unequal balance of this thing called family.”

Needless to say, our whole family will be ready for things to be normal again soon. It’s been harder for you after this second surgery, as you are understanding more that Momma has a “boo-boo” this time around and that I am unable to do some of the things with you that I used to.

You’ve also become increasingly aware of your surroundings and are able to communicate so much more than just a couple months ago. Your vocabulary has exploded from a few words to a few dozen, and I can tell you know so much more than you are able to say. It seems you are learning a new word each day, from telling us what the cow says to repeating “I see you!” when we peek at each other. One of my favorite new things you’ve learned is your name. We’ll ask you where mommy and daddy are, and you’ll point at each of us and say our names. Then we’ll ask you where Hannah is and you’ll point at yourself and say your name with glee. SO. CUTE.

You’ve enjoyed recent visits with family, seeing both grandmas and cousins. We visited Gammie in Omaha a few weeks ago, where we enjoyed a weekend of sunshine, eating good food and shopping. We then had a brief visit with your cousins Ethan and Brennan and Auntie Katie when they passed through town. We enjoyed a lunch together and a visit to the park behind our house. You and the boys loved it, and I enjoyed seeing you all spending time playing together and catching up with your auntie.

For Easter we visited your daddy’s family. It was a short but fun trip which included Easter dinner with your grandma, Auntie Laura, Uncle Kenn and cousins Sophia and Landon. You and Sophia are two peas and love hanging out together. We enjoyed a pancake brunch at church and grilling out before heading home. Our trip home was a little longer than normal, as we ended up having some car problems, leaving us stranded at a gas station for a couple hours. Ironically, you loved the adventure and exploring the area. Your favorite part was the tow truck ride home.

Easter with Daddy

Easter with Daddy

It seems to be never a dull moment around here lately, but for the most part we’re taking everything in stride. In just a few weeks I should be back to normal and we’ll be that much closer to summer. I can’t wait to get out and explore with you and do fun things together, like visiting the farmers’ market and the zoo. I love seeing the world through your eyes and the joy you experience through discovery and play. It reminds me to slow down, appreciate the simple things and every moment I get to share with you.

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.