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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. ūüôā

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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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.

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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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First Father’s Day : Part One.

Dear baby girl,

Father’s Day has not been an easy holiday for your daddy and me the past several years.

I lost your grandpa, my dad, nearly five years ago when he passed away from brain cancer. Your daddy lost his dad, your pap, more than six years ago, to skin cancer. It was a very difficult time for us, both personally and in our marriage. We still miss them and wish they were here to delight in their grandchildren, but we know that they see you from heaven. It is our hope that you will know them as we share stories when you are old enough to understand.

As I write this, your daddy and I have been married for nearly seven years, together for almost 11. Going through losing parents and other family members seemed to be the theme of our marriage the first few years. There was a point when your daddy said he was ready to start adding to instead of subtracting from our family.

We got through the losses together, thankful for each other’s love and support through the process. It seemed as though we would go through similar losses of family members so that we might further understand and be there for one another.

I tell you this not to make you sad, but to help you understand why I write this blog. I don’t know when my day will come, but there are so many things I want to share with you while I can. I tell you these stories now in hopes that you will be able to read them someday.

I look forward to tomorrow, celebrating your daddy’s first Father’s Day. While we will still remember our own dads, we also get to¬†celebrate the day with you. As we remember life passed on, we will also celebrate new life, your life. ¬†I may have a few special things planned for your daddy, and I look forward to spending the day together.

Your daddy is an incredible dad, and seeing him love you makes me fall even more in love with him. I will share with you more tomorrow about him and our special first Father’s Day together.

With love,

Momma

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A momma’s love

Dear baby girl,

The snow has fallen, we’ve got sub-zero windchills and I’ve been baking up a storm. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Even though you’re obviously too young to know and understand the holidays, I am very much enjoying celebrating the season with you here. From baking cookies to shopping for your gifts to listening to Christmas music with you, I am having so much fun getting into the holiday spirit. You have made this season that much more special.

At our church Christmas party a couple weeks ago, I was talking with a friend about being a new momma. She is married but doesn’t have kids yet, and she told me that she loved just how “obsessed” I am with you. As a proud momma, I do post a lot of pictures of you in addition to sharing this blog. To some it may come across as a bit much, but to me it feels natural to show you off to the world. I want nothing more than to share your beauty for others to see and know just how perfect you are.

There’s something inside me that changed the moment I became your momma. With each day you grow and change, I become that much more enamored with you. My heart leaps at the sight of you, and it overflows with you in my arms. Words cannot describe the love that I feel for you. It is a kind of love that I never knew was possible. The love I have for you, which I am sure all mommas have for their children, is one that is sacrificial, unconditional, never-ending. It makes me understand and appreciate my own momma that much more.

It is with this love that I share you with the world. As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, I have that much more of a grasp of the depths of God’s love — for His son that He brought into the world and for us as His children. God so loved the world that He wanted to share Jesus with us, for Him to become God in the flesh, love personified.

Love is the reason for the season. The love God has for us, and the love we are to share with one another. Love for our families, love for our friends and neighbors. As I look forward to celebrating Christmas with family the next few days, my heart is filled to the brim. I am so thankful and blessed this holiday season. And you are the best gift of all.

With love,
Momma

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5 things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving

Dear baby girl,

I can’t believe you’re 3 weeks old already!

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I can hardly handle your cuteness. ūüôā¬†

It’s been a crazy and amazing few weeks as I adjust to life as your momma.¬†I have to admit, that first week was a blur. Since you were born at 1 am, that meant 30 minutes of sleep that night for me. (Sleep didn’t happen much in the hospital.) I am finally starting to get used to catching sleep in short intervals. ūüôā

Life as I know it has forever changed, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with your daddy’s family tomorrow, I am thankful for so many blessings in my life.

1. You. This is pretty obvious, but I am so incredibly thankful for you. You are our little precious angel, a gift from God brought to us at just the right time. My heart is filled with more love for you than I ever thought possible.

2. Family. I am so blessed to have the support and love of our family. Your grandmas have been helping take care of me and your daddy (and spoiling you of course), and your aunts have been full of encouragement and advice. You’ve got some pretty wonderful grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family.¬†They mean more to me than anything in this world (besides you of course) and they have been incredibly helpful as I have been preparing for and adjusting to life as your momma.

3. Friends and community. I am thankful to be surrounded by a great support system of friends, neighbors and our church community. From visiting us to bringing gifts to dropping off food, our friends and neighbors have blessed us as we have welcomed you into our home and our community.

4. Your daddy. He has always been there for me, but from the moment I went into labor, your daddy has been nothing short of amazing. He is quick to help wherever needed and has been incredibly giving of himself for you. And what makes me love him even more is the way he loves and cares for you. It is so wonderful to see what a great father he already is.

5. Love. I know this sounds cheesy, but I am thankful for the ability to experience love in a whole new way that I never imagined possible. A love that is beyond myself, that can only be described as a gift from God. I feel like I have a better glimpse of God’s love for me in the way I feel about you – a love that is sacrificial and unconditional.

When you get older, I hope to show you the value of having a grateful heart rather than one that is full of negativity or complaining. We must always recognize the blessings we have been given and know that they are a gift. Just like you. I am so incredibly thankful for you, today and always.

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