Thursday, February 11, 2016

{Dear Elijah | 18 months}

Dear Elijah,

I cannot believe that my baby is now one and half years old! Don't mind me….I'm just sitting over here bawling my eyes out. Seriously, where has the time gone?!? Your baby-ness is pretty much completely gone at this point and you are now an insanely busy little toddler. You are so full of life and energy and while it can be exhausting at times for sure, it is mostly FUN!! You are truly just the coolest kid ever and I more madly in love with you than ever!

We had your 18 month checkup last week and you now weigh 24lbs 8 oz. You are in mostly 12-18 month (and some 18 month) sized tops, but 18 month pants are way too big. You are 32 1/2 inches long and it's becoming apparent that you are going to probably going to be shorter than your sister (she is ALL legs at this point!) I honestly can't believe you don't weigh more than you do at this point because you eat SO much!
Speaking of food, we've yet to find something that you really just don't like which is totally awesome and amazing. While your sister is also a great eater and not very picky at all, she is definitely a grazer and we sit at the dinner table begging her to take each bite so we are not sitting there for hours (which does happen sometimes!) But that does not happen with you. You get an adult sized portion for dinner most nights and you gobble it all down like nobody's business. There are some days, though, when you're feeling extra ornery and decide that you'd rather feed the dog. This explains why she loves you so much. You absolutely love using utensils and get rather mad at us if we put your plate down without one. So funny. 
You are insanely verbal these days and I feel like you are learning to say new words every single day at this point. I've really lost count of how many words are now in your vocabulary, but you sure are pleased with yourself when you can just tell us what you want and get your way. And if you don't get your way, you don't hesitate to share how unhappy you are about it! :) Some of your favorite words these days are "Rora (Aurora - the dog), "Woosey" (Lucy), "Mama", "Dada", "Nana" (banana-your most favorite food), "Ba" (ball), "shoe" (you want everybody's shoes on your feet all the time), "choo choo" (you are absolutely obsessed with trains), "more" (you still always do the sign when you say it)….the list goes on and on. You are one smart cookie!
You are still a rockstar sleeper. You go to bed around 8pm and usually wake up around 7:30. You go to daycare in the mornings (so that I can get some work done) and then come home around 12:30-1pm and take about a 2 hour nap. Like I said, rockstar status. And even more awesome is how easy you are to put to bed. You love to be rocked and sung to for a bit while snuggling up with your lovey. Then we lay you down fully awake and off you drift to sleep all on your own. Seriously, you are just a dream.
You are so incredibly funny and entertaining and there is truly never a dull moment when you are around. I just love to watch you play and we are constantly in awe of how incredible your imagination is at this age. You are always watching what your sister is doing and you love to try to copy her. Whenever you see her looking at a book, you will grab one off the shelf for yourself, plop down next to her and babble away as if you are reading. Whenever she is playing with the dollhouse, you sit down in the chair opposite of her and play with the little dolls and babble on as if they are talking to each other.

You love to run, jump and climb. You love to color. You love dancing. The moment you hear any music at all, your little booty gets to shaking and you just get the biggest grin on your face. You love playing banging on the piano. You love playing with the dog (and she actually lets you, which she never did with Lucy when she was little). You are completely obsessed with trains and spend all day running around the house saying "choo choo!" Cutest thing ever!
You love brushing your teeth. You love bath time. You love building with blocks and magna tiles. You love throwing balls. You love stealing shoes and wearing/hiding them all over the house. You love spinning around in circles. You love washing your hands. You love baby dolls….and real babies. You obviously find them incredibly interesting and get the sweetest smile on your face when even you see a little baby. You love making animal noises. You love playing in and eating snow. You love cooking in the play kitchen. You love watching Gigglebellies and Thomas the Train, but your most favorite movie right now is Mary Poppins. You love snuggling. You love singing. You LOVE giving hugs and kisses and it is just the best thing EVER!
You really are just so amazing that it is hard to put into words. How did I ever get so lucky to be able to call you and Lucy mine?! I may never know…but what I do know is that I am so incredibly grateful and never want to take one second for granted. I love you to the moon and back, sweet boy…and there and back again.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

{a letter to my daughter on her first day of preschool}

Dear Lucy,

When you were born, I knew I was going to have to go back to my full time job when you turned 3 months old. It broke my heart, but it needed to happen. So, we scrambled around trying to find childcare that was not only affordable to us but that we felt great about. We didn't want to just send you anywhere. It was important for us to really find the right fit. Someone that would really show you love, patience, and kindness. Someone that would really be there for you in the hours that we could not be. There came a point in the search that I felt maybe we weren't going to find the right fit. Everything seemed to be either too far away or too expensive to make it worth it for us financially. That's when I started to think that maybe I should just quit my teaching job and be a full time stay at home mama. I knew it was important, though, for us to have my income. Plus, I really loved my job and looked forward to going there every day. I never thought I was really cut out for the stay at home mom thing anyway - and boy did I feel guilty for thinking that!! In any case - we forged on with our search for the right daycare provider and just in the nick of time, my mother-in-law told us that a spot opened up at Miss D's house. I immediately wanted to know everything about this Miss D. I found out out that she is the step daughter of a woman from our church and that she lives right down the street! As soon as I met her, I knew it was the perfect fit!

So, at 3 months old, I left you in her care and we have counted our lucky stars every day since. She has definitely been like another mother to you. She has gone above and beyond in the amount of love, patience and kindness she has given you. She has given you bottles and changed endless diapers. She has rocked you to sleep and wiped away your tears. She watched as you learned to crawl and then as you learned to walk. She cheered you on as we all worked through the potty training process. She has comforted you when you've been sad and celebrated with you when you've mastered new skills. She has sat next to you at her kitchen table as you worked on learning your colors, letters and numbers. She has taken you on countless field trips to wonderful places and would send your mama pictures to let me know how much fun you were having. What an amazing blessing she has been in our lives.
Yesterday was your last day at her house. I'm not sure that you've fully processed the change yet. In fact, I'm absolutely sure you haven't, but that's okay. That isn't your job right now. We are lucky that we don't have to really say goodbye to Miss D yet since Elijah is going to start going there for just a few hours/days a week. Also, we live just down the street which means it will be easy for us to visit at anytime. will never be the same as it was. You beamed with pride as you gave her the picture frame you decorated (with the picture above inside of it) and the flowers that you picked out for her. Then you gave her a big hug and yelled "I love you, Miss D" as we walked out of the door. Yup. It's been a pretty incredible 4 years.

....and now, here we are on your very first day of Preschool! You woke up this morning filled with the same excitement as Christmas morning. "I'm going to school today, Mommy!!" You jumped out of bed ready to immediately put on the outfit that we had picked out together the night before, complete with your new pink patent leather ballet flats. You didn't even mind one bit when I asked you to come outside on the front porch to take pictures. "Sure mommy! Let's go!" :)
Daddy went to work a little late this morning so we could all go to your new school together. You absolutely loved that. When we arrived at school, you immediately strapped on your new pink, light-up princess backpack and walked with the sweetest pep in your step all the way to the door. We signed you in, hung your backpack on your special hook and then went up to meet your teachers in the gym area. You gave each of us a big hug and kiss and sent us on your way. You were so ready for this. 
I held back my tears as your daddy, brother and I walked back to the car. The whole thing just felt so momentous to me. I couldn't stop thinking about how grown up and confident you looked as you ventured into this new place filled with new people and I suddenly felt myself realizing how much I wish I could be more like you sometimes. You look at the world in the such a beautiful and wondrous way. You live in the moment. You are not yet filled with the worries and anxieties that will eventually creep in as you grow older. Instead, you are filled with magic and amazement at the world around you. 
I continued to hold back those tears for most of the morning. I dropped your daddy off at work and Elijah and I sat outside of a coffee shop while we shared a bagel and I sipped on a latte. It was a beautiful morning and I couldn't stop thinking about you. I smiled at the thought of how much fun you were going to have on your new adventure. I prayed that you were having a great first day and that you were already making new friends. I fought the urge to just go back and pick you up ;) 
As Elijah and I were driving home from the coffee shop, I peered into my rear-view mirror and caught a glimpse of him (thanks to the mirror hanging above him) clapping and grinning from ear to ear. That is when it finally hit me. I just felt this huge rush of gratitude wash over me in that moment. I am so incredibly blessed to be able to call you and your brother my own. The amount of pride I feel about getting to be your mama is impossible to measure. 
So, my sweet wish for you today, on your very first day of school, is that you'll never lose your desire to learn and explore. The possibilities are endless and there are adventures around ever corner. I hope that you will always know how loved you are and how much you have to offer the world. I hope you will always stay true to yourself and treat others with kindness, love and respect. Dream big and work hard. I know there are amazing things in store for you. And always remember, I will be here with my arms stretched open wide whenever you need me. I will always want to hold you close, but I promise to do everything I can to give you wings to fly. 

All my heart, 
Love, Mama

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

{Dear Elijah | 12 months}

Dear Elijah,

I'm weeks late in writing this post, but I am here to wish you a very happy first birthday, my love!! I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was holding your beautiful, tiny, squishy newborn body in my arms for the very first time?! I think back to that day now and I can remember so clearly the exact feeling that I had the first time I laid eyes on you (even after 28 hours of intense labor). My heart had exploded with joy all over again just as it had when your sister was born. And now...a year later, I still feel that same joy every single day. I am head over heels for you, sweet boy...and I always will be.
 You truly might be the happiest baby that ever lived. Your smile and laughter are just so completely infectious and people are constantly stopping us when we're out to say hello to you. You are a big charmer, for sure. You love to wave and give high fives at any chance you get. You LOVE to shake your booty, clap and dance whenever you hear any sort of music. Your favorite thing to dance to at the moment are any of the songs from the Giggle Bellies. Seriously, you just squeal (very loudly) with glee whenever we turn it on for you. The cutest! You also currently love the Baby Einstein Number's Nursery video which was your sister's favorite when she was your age. But truly - I can start humming any tune in the world and you will start moving and shaking. It is just the best.

I'd say that as of this week (which is actually 2 weeks after your birthday), you are officially standing on your own and walking! You are only doing about 3-4 steps at a time at the moment, but you are suddenly super interested in mastering this skill and it won't be long at all before you're really taking off. Your daddy, sister and I spend hours these days passing you back and forth, having you walk from one person to the other. The reaction you get out of us each time is enough to send you reeling into a giggling fit! Watching your little butt wiggle as you take those tiny steps is just the icing on the cake for me ;)
 At your one year checkup a few weeks ago, you weighed 20.3 pounds which was only 1 pound more than your 9 month checkup! I couldn't believe it. You LOVE to eat and if anything, I thought maybe we were feeding you too much! The doctor was not at all concerned, though, especially since you did grow 2 1/2 inches in that time. But yeah...back to food. We still haven't found anything that you just won't eat, though you definitely are starting to have preferences. I'd say your favorite things at the moment are yogurt raisins, any sort of fruit (but especially blueberries and bananas), frozen peas and cheese. Lately you seem to not be as interested in tomatoes and hard boiled eggs - I'm suspecting that it's a texture thing...but who knows! You no longer drink formula and have since moved on to whole milk. Your big sister had a really hard time with whole milk when she was your age (I'm talking screaming from belly aches and the worst diaper rash you have seen in your life) and could only drink 1%. You, on the other hand, aren't minding the switch one little bit :)
 Other 12 month happenings: You love to throw balls and I must say that you have one heck of an arm! Future pitcher? maybe. You're still a great sleeper - thank goodness! You have finally picked up the sign for "more" and you're not afraid to use it. We are currently working on the signs for "thank you" and "please beautiful mommy" ;) You are obsessed with the iPad and you love to hold our cell phones up to your ear and start babbling away. You LOVE playing with the play kitchen and you've recently started taking pretend bites of play food. Hilarious. You love giving us bites of your real food and sometimes you even fake us out by putting it in your mouth instead of ours at the last second. Silly boy! You've also started to recently enjoy feeding the dog your food despite our efforts to try and teach you not to. You will look me straight in the eye and reach your hand out over your high chair tray and giggle as you drop the food to the floor. My stink eye and a firm "no" means nothing to you as of yet ;) You are still obsessed with opening and closing doors. You are also obsessed with emptying cabinets of their contents (especially the dish towels and tupperware). You love to be rocked to sleep (after a book and a lullabye) while snuggling up with your blue bear lovey. It's the best part of my day. You are still a great car baby! You live for bath time and for the lathering of lotion that comes after. You are so incredibly sweet, but also demanding when you really want something. Your big sister is your best friend.
 Happy 1st birthday, handsome boy! I love you to the moon and back. Forever and always.

Love, Mama

Friday, July 17, 2015

{Dear Elijah | 11 months}

Dear Elijah,

We are officially planning your 1st birthday party and I just CAN'T EVEN handle it!! You are such an incredible blessing in our lives and I am constantly thanking my lucky stars that you chose me to be your mama. You and I have such an awesome and special bond and I just don't know what I ever did without you. You are a mama's boy for sure and it melts my heart every single time that you reach out your arms for me and snuggle your sweet little head into my chest. Pure heaven.
You are so incredibly active these days and I know you'll be taking steps on your own any day now. When we let go of your hands to see if you'll stand on your own, you bend your knees and collapse to the ground. But when you're not paying attention, you'll stand on your own for a few seconds. You even took a single step yesterday while we were at the park. Your daddy and I just looked at each other and asked "did that just happen?!" Any day now, bubs...and it will be a whole new ballgame.
I just adore watching you figure out the world around you. You are very observant and always want to be right in the middle of things. I love the way you will hold an object in your hand and study it ever so carefully as if you're trying to figure out how it works. I love the way you turn pages in books and look at the pictures so intently. I love the way you reach up to higher surfaces and poke your little fingers around to find out what we're trying to keep away from you. I love the way you babble on and on as if you're telling us the most amazing stories. I love the way you follow Lucy around and giggle with glee when she includes you in whatever she is doing. I love the way you splash around in the bathtub with pure joy - leaving me completely soaked by the end of it.
I love the way you throw your arms up way above your head whenever someone says "Sooo Big!" I love the way you chase the dog around even though she pretty much just tries to get as far away from you as possible. I love that you are completely obsessed with clapping and giving high fives. I love the new game we play now where you put your pacifier in my mouth and then quickly grab it to put back in yours (repeat x50). I love the way you study my face with your eyes and fingers when I'm laying down next to you. I love the way you give big, sloppy, open mouth kisses. They are the BEST.
You finally got to go in a swimming pool for the first time this past weekend and it was amazing. You were in total heaven - splashing around to your hearts content! You also got to go to your first fireworks display on the 4th of July. I was a little nervous that they would totally freak you out (and that you would be going to bed so late!) but you actually enjoyed them! (I just can't resist throwing in this picture of you and sissy - how did I get so lucky with you kiddos?!)
Happy 11 months, my darling boy.
I love you with all of my heart and soul. 


Friday, June 26, 2015

{Lucy's Superhero 4th Birthday Party}

When I asked my girl many months ago what kind of a birthday party she wanted to have this year, I kind of expected her to pick a girly theme like a ballerina tea party or Frozen. But just like last year, she got an awesome idea in her head and stuck with it. "Mama- I want a superhero party!!" That's my girl.
The forecast was not looking so great on the day of the party, but we prayed super hard for good weather so that we wouldn't have to cram 50 people into my in-law's house (who had very graciously offered to host again this year). They have an awesome patio/backyard and we were hoping to keep most of the party outside. Well, the party god's were working in our favor and the weather ended up holding off for us. Hooray!
My mother in law and I collaborated on making capes for Lucy and Elijah, and we even made one for Ellie (my in-law's adorable little pup). Elijah and Ellie made awesome little sidekicks for Super Lucy.
We had lots of delicious food and of course mom and I went a little nuts again this year with the dessert table. We just can't resist! My mom baked the delicious cake and my niece, Caley, and I decorated it. I made the cupcakes and Caley and I also decorated those. Mom made the awesome sugar cookies and cake pops and I went to a local candy shop for the rock candy (aka "kryptonite") and the huge assortment of taffy (aka "super elastic taffy"). I'd say the kids were more than sufficiently sugared up by the time they left. You're welcome, parents ;)
 I found tons of superhero word bubble printables online (thank you Pinterest) and used them on just about everything. I even made a few of my own. I also got some old comic books from a friend and used pages out of them to decoupage the big "L" and to make the pendant banner. I love how they turned out!
All that was left to do after all of the prep work was to party, party, party!
It was one heck of birthday celebration for our amazing little lady. Everyone had an awesome time while I was secretly wanting to run off into a corner to cry my eyes out about the fact that my baby girl is now 4 years old! 
 And now I have a first birthday to plan for baby boy. come those tears again!!

Happy 4th birthday, Super Lucy!
We love you to the moon and back!