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1 year in: Happy birthday!

Dear Hailey Rose,

One year ago, I went to bed as a momma to one little girl. I eagerly anticipated the next day, knowing I was going to meet you and hold you in my arms in just a few short hours.

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Just two days old!

I had no idea how things would go that day, but I felt a sense of peace going into it. I knew that you would be perfect. And sure enough, one year ago, your heart melted mine. I saw you and fell in love. I knew just how special you are and how much joy you would bring our family.

It has been a long, short year in many ways. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I learned that I was pregnant. When I felt your kicks for the first time, which quickly turned into jabs. Little did I know just how much you love to move!

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4 months old

Since day one, you’ve been active, full of energy and so much life. Joyful is the perfect word to describe you. I just love your smile, and you radiate the joy that is in your heart. You squeal with delight as you play with your big sister and belly laugh as Daddy tosses you in the air and tickles you.

You have always been eager to move, whether rolling over, learning to crawl, sitting up, scooting, cruising around furniture and now finally walking. It’s hard to believe you were a tiny baby who slept most of the day.

It feels like not long ago when I was on maternity leave, sharing snuggles with you all day long while binge-watching Gilmore Girls, Friday Night Lights and Parks and Rec on Netflix. I soaked up those days (and also enjoyed the good nights of sleep while they lasted).

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9 months old

I didn’t expect some of the sleep deprivation challenges we faced, and I didn’t expect the chaos that is balancing working mom life with being mom to two girls. But you know what else? I didn’t expect to fall so deeply in love. With you. With how you love each of us. With our new dynamic as a family.

Though we have had our challenges, it has really made me grateful for our family. I love our time together and the love we have for one another. We’ve created some great memories this past year, and I look forward to so many more.

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1 year old

This quote from C.S. Lewis is so true: “Isn’t it funny how day by day, nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different?”

Everything is different. Life is crazy. And it is beautiful. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

With love,

Momma

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The nursery is complete!

Dear baby girl,

Even though you’re almost 11 weeks old and I still have one thing left on the to-do list for your nursery, it’s about time I post some pictures!

I just love the feeling of the calm, cozy space when you walk in the door. Your daddy says it’s the most decorated room in the house.

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The view from the doorway of the nursery.

The only thing left to complete is to fill the shelves on the wall and your bookshelf. I want to put some pictures in frames on the little shelves under your name and hope to get that done soon!

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Changing area. There are many “poo” jokes that have been said already.

I opted to go with a dresser to put a changing pad on top of, rather than purchasing a separate changing table. I love the convenience of changing and picking out your outfit for the day. Some days you are very patient with me when we play dress up. It’s fun to see what you fit into as you slowly grow. You’re almost fitting into three months clothes! That is the size I received the most of as gifts, so you will have lots of clothes when they all finally fit. Here are a couple that already do!

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               9 weeks old                                                 10 weeks old

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Your crib – I just love it. And you sleep pretty good in here, too!

I just love everything about your crib – the bedding set, the crib itself, and how well you sleep in it. I’m a lucky momma! We don’t actually keep the blanket on the crib, for safety purposes, but it looked nice for the picture. 🙂 When you are big enough you will get to sleep with the blanket.

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Storage central! Love the cubbies and the bookshelf we got at Target.

One of the things I love about your nursery is the book collection. You can see some of them in that basket, and we have almost an entire shelf full on your bookshelf. These are all gifts we received at showers from family and friends. We’ve read several already – you really love ones that have rhymes, like Dr. Seuss.

You can see a couple empty shelves that will soon be full of more books and toys as you get older. I can’t wait to see you grow into your room and enjoy it. One of the neat things about not knowing your gender is that this nursery will also work well for a possible younger brother or sister someday. Then you’ll get your big girl bedroom! Wow, I am getting way too ahead of myself here. 🙂

I’m so happy your nursery is complete! It was a lot of fun picking things out and watching Daddy put it together. 🙂 We make a good team. I hope someday you enjoy it as much as we do!

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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Families are like quilts.

Dear baby,

Your great-great aunt Evelyn wrote a note with your baby shower gift that has stuck with me:

“Families are like quilts: lives pieced together and bound by love.”

Right now, our lives literally are pieced together. It is the most amazing, indescribable feeling to carry and nourish you as your life forms inside of me. Feeling your little jabs, tiny hiccups and your body stretch in my growing belly are forever changing my perspective on my body. It is no longer just my body that I fuel and care for. I am now a vehicle that builds and sustains life – your life. You are a treasure that I must protect.

In about five weeks, give or take a few days, we will no longer be bound physically, but my heart to nourish, care for and protect you will grow even more as your momma. I can only fathom just how much this will continue to develop and change over the years as I watch you grow and become your own person.

For the first several years of your life, you will be dependent upon me for your survival. It is in these years that I will cherish the closeness that we share, with your snuggles and kisses you will need from momma. Then you will start to explore the world, realizing the freedom you have. These years I will want to protect you from getting hurt, but I will also want you to learn, discover yourself and become a strong person.

Before I know it, this freedom will lead you on your own adventures, and you will be writing your own story. You will no longer be dependent on me, but because our lives are pieced and bound together, you will still return to me. These years will likely break my heart because my baby no longer needs me, but they will also enrich my heart because I will be proud of the person you have become. As the years go by, we will forever be bound together by our love, no matter the changes or distance.

I know I am getting way ahead of myself here. I say all this not to fast forward through time or wish I could stop it forever; I write this to you because I need to. With every moment of being your momma, my heart will hold on to knowing that we will forever be bound by our love. No matter the circumstance, our bond cannot be broken.

Because families are like quilts: lives pieced together and bound by love.

With love,
Momma

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Dear baby.

Dear baby,

I cannot wait to meet you. It still doesn’t feel real, in spite of my growing belly, the dizziness you make me feel when I stand up or the constant pangs of hunger throughout the day. It’s hard to believe that after months of hoping and praying that you are now growing inside of me, and in just a few more months I’ll get to meet you.

I’ll never forget when I found out you were coming. It was the most surreal, joyful moment of my life. I cried and laughed with your dad as we held each other in disbelief. Our little miracle was growing. You were once a thought in our minds, a hope in our hearts and now you are a joy we are eagerly expecting to arrive. There’s so much to do and think about, but all I want to do is enjoy this time. Knowing you are waiting to enter this world just as eagerly as we are waiting for you.

With love,
Momma