Monday, May 25, 2015

dear luca

sweet boy,

Two days late, but Aunt Moo and you have a special connection with dates.  She got engaged the 23rd and wanted to get married on the 23rd too, so we were in the middle of wedding festivities this weekend.

You are seven months old!  Very shortly after I posted your six month letter, you got your first tooth, began crawling, very sadly, took your first tumble (from your high chair - a hard lesson learned for me, the scariest moment of my life!), and started foods.  You now have two teeth and are a master at getting to where you want.  You are a wobbly sitter because there is so much to see. You are 18 pounds (31st percentile) and 27 inches long (37th percentile).

Just yesterday, we wrapped up our weekend with family and you mastered the adorable art of waving (at yourself).  You are still practicing on fans, lights, and anyone that might catch you willing to perform.

You are also making concrete connections - so fun to watch.  You can drop your pacifier, and look for it.  You can also grab it and bring it to your mouth.  You hear the girls down the hall and you are off to find them.  You know where Kirby the dog likes to lay, and you always look for him there.

People marvel at your smiles - the most common question we get about you aside from how it is with three kiddos or our first boy is Is he always this happy?  You are.  And I joke to them that you owe me after such an awful pregnancy, but the thing is - that time in my life is a blur now and it feels so right for you to fit right into our family.

Your sisters are crazy about you and the feeling is mutual.  You love to touch their faces and their hair, and you light up when you hear them near.  It's fun to watch your relationships develop differently with each of them.

We started foods this month, and it's new territory for both of us.  We ditched the pureed foods this go (your sisters never loved them) and went for the baby led weaning.  You have had apple, banana, pear, watermelon, carrot, rice, toast, tortilla, macaroni noodles, cheese, and crackers.  You are doing well at trying, and you are figuring out various textures and what to do when you get a bite in your mouth.

Favorites things at the moment: door stoppers (BOING!), sisters, dogs, walks, music, watermelon, rice, and remotes.

My favorite things at the moment: your chubby feet, wispy duck fluff hair, the way you smile always, even when whining, your snuggles, the way you turn your head in after charming someone - a little shy.

I can't believe we are closer to your first birthday than we are to your birth.  Life is an adventure with you, and you are such a treasured part of our family.  You are the sweetest, happiest baby and we are so crazy about you!

Love you to the moon and back!


Sunday, May 10, 2015

mother's day 2015

I got lost in a sea of old pictures this morning - I can't believe most of them are so far gone, some tucked away permanently while others have been forgotten.  Thousands and thousands of life's snapshots as proof of time's transforming abilities with wispy curls making their way into buns, chubby, toddling feet modeling a variety of shoes and those newborn pictures adding a doting sibling, and then two.  The lives that once bloomed within my very body are the lives that now sing and run and read and snuggle.

It's hard for me to believe this was my seventh year being celebrated as a mom.  I am living my childhood dream and it doesn't feel real.  I never heard people talk about how hard it would be, but I never heard them talk about the ease of it all either.  But, boy am I learning to find the beauty in every single bit of it.

Just tonight, we went to dinner with my mom.  We ordered our food and then Luca decided nothing was going to make him happy, so we left.  I sat in the car while my food sat with everyone else at the table.  I wasn't upset or frustrated or wondering why it was today of all days.  Instead, we found fun places for pictures, we figured out how to eat saltines and slime them everywhere, and we inspected tree leaves.  It was unexpected time spent with just my baby and I loved it.

I don't know of a job that would evoke a wider range of emotional capacity, but I'm thankful for the humbling and very raw nature of it all.  And I am ever so thankful for the string of women that inspire me to be a better mom, the friends that love my babies like their own, the people that advise me, and the moms that came before me.  

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

things of the moment

The weather outside seems perfect for too much coffee, a book read cover to cover, and some DVR catchup, maybe possibly with a side of thin mints.  But I have little people which means it will probably mean too much coffee, a Disney movie, and snuggles and a thin mint in the bathroom.

It seems to give the fireplace a sense of purpose today - perhaps one last hurrah before the heat of summer settles and it's out of a job until fall.

We are rapidly winding down the school year and penciling in our summer plans.  My sister gets married at the end of this month which is highly anticipated and the reason I shouldn't be eating any thin mints.  I'm ready for the after party in which the details of florists and cake flavors and color schemes are a memory.

Yesterday, as I sat getting my hair done (which you know ranks right up there with a solo trip to Target) I thought of how many details of life haven't been penned and later become lost in the days swiftly passing.  I am in a chaotic season of life with a never-ending list of gratefulness.  I have the best friends, the sweetest family moments, entirely too much laundry and a whole list of small things that bring me smiles.  I want to remember them!

-I chopped my hair in February which was probably fairly self-explanatory with pictures.  It was nine inches and a self defense move for tiny, grabbing fingers.

-Luca got his first tooth and began crawling the weekend after he turned six months old.  He also decided to have the biggest blow out known to mom and take a tumble out of his high chair within the week - not that I want to remember that, but I will for the rest of my life.  The images in my head are still on a repeating reel and I am horrified by the idea that it could have been much worse.

-Eisley has imaginary animals that fit perfectly into the palm of her hand.  We began with very detailed descriptions of her dog: Lucy, black and pink, wore shoes, and chewed gum.  Holding Lucy with her hands cupped together began interfering with daily activities such as eating and getting dressed.  She also told me she sank in the bathtub.  Lucy hasn't been around as much lately.  But she will suddenly say things like, "Watch out for my baby tiger!" as her hands are cupped together.

-Eisley recently stumbled across a potential eternal hardship as we drove in the car.  "What if there is no food and we can't go to the park in Heaven?"  I wish that completed my list of worries.

-Ruby loves to read, and she has moved onto books that are much more difficult than the beginner books that started this adventure.  I hope she always loves it as much as she does now.  She loves to read Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons, but she often surprises me with reading a sign or a poster.

-Luca is about as charming as he could possibly be.  People stop to ask me if he always smiles (yes.) and I rarely have him if my friends are around.  He is so loved, he has no idea, and yet he always looks as though he has the world in his hands.  He is such a joy to our family.

We went to the zoo this weekend where Eisley displayed her bravery around chipmunks.  I'm positive she would have picked one up and taken it home had I not stopped her.  The girls also fed giraffes and an elephant (banana peel and all!) which was a fun experience.  We marveled at the resemblance between the baby orangutan and Luca and later discovered they are six days apart in age.  Both seemed to favor climbing, stroking faces, and pulling hair.  Mama orangutan seemed to one up me with her state of relaxation.

I recently redid my table after months of consideration.  One week before hosting a bridal shower which was great motivation and a little bit of stress.

We have decided that nice furniture will come later in life, and while this table was our favorite when we bought it, it has seen it's share of playdough, markers, and day-old yogurt.  I love end result and put less than $100 into it to spruce it up!

that time a group of mamas jumped into the pit, took a photo, and barely got out.

Here's to more documenting between the big moments, because I know one day, these memories won't be as concrete as they are now.

And more thin mint.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

dear luca

mr. handsome,

Half a year.  There is a slight chance I have a mama's boy on my hands, and by slight, I mean 110%.  You are so full of personality and joy, I can hardly put it into words.  You are growing so quickly which is a bit sad, but it's thrilling to unveil the pieces of your personality as you discover new things.  You grew like a weed in a month - a wiggly baby may have played into the measurement, but you are 27 inches long (82nd percentile) and you weigh 17.2 pounds (66th percentile).  We haven't tried any solid foods yet, but you are very interested in the things that happen at the table - you sat in your first restaurant high chair this week and that was a lot more pleasant for all of us!

Gone are the days where I set you somewhere and expect to find you in the same place.  You can scoot! It's sort of a rolling/spinning/inching method that you use to get whatever you want.  If you see something you think you ought to have, you're gonna get to it and promptly put it in your mouth.  You aren't quite sitting, but are very close - you can sit for several seconds, but the distractions are cause for tumbles and plus I want you to just be little a bit longer.

Teeth - they're coming.  I expect the first one within the week - I can see it's right beneath the surface.

You have decided you have things to see, people to charm, and stuff to demolish so nap times are basically about thirty minutes of frantic catch up for me before you are discovering things again.

I went to read your sister's 6 month updates today - you are more mobile than they were, but my favorite part was discovering this was the month the fake cough made its big debut with both you and Eisley.  You and Ruby shared the tongue discovery this month.

My favorite thing about you is how excited you get to see me (or anyone else that stops to talk) - you smile almost constantly and you have smiling with a pacifier in down to an art. I also love the snuggles and just watching your little wheels turning.

You find your sisters to be amazing, probably moreso than previous months.  Your favorite game is tossing things from the high chair and bonus for me: they love to get them and give them back to you.  The wood floors are not quite so enthusiastic about the toy launching.  You also love their faces, hair, and kisses - Eisley is very concerned about your amount of drool.

Most days I still can't believe you are mine - I have a boy.  And it's so, so amazing to have someone steal your heart and fit into your family like you were always there.

I love you to the moon and stars!


Monday, April 20, 2015

heavy heart

The words floated across my phone screen -  I love you big guy.  I swallowed the lump in my throat and replied, "I totally just heard your dad saying that."

We have this thing - it started a couple of years ago when Jimmy was gone.  The girls love to send messages using emojis.  I let Luca in on the fun when we were away for Meredith's bridal shower.  Jimmy told me that he caught himself saying that every now and then and thought the same thing.  I sat and stared at the message - boy things followed the message in exchange for the girly emojis he sends the girls.  Sometimes, I still can't believe it.  I can't believe his dad is gone, I can't believe I'm a boy mom, I can't believe the way life arranges itself.

 It was an emotional weekend anyway as we realized how sick my Grandma was and were thrown for loop after loop of news, mostly bad.  I'm struggling with the spontaneity of it all - what if my favorite things are now packed up, only to remain in the boxes of my memory?  I don't ever take my moments with my family for granted, but I never prepared myself for the way life actually works, which is to say not the way I had in mind.

It serves as a painful and humbling reminder, this life that is but a vapor.  She's alive and fighting for every ounce of strength and energy after a virus capitalized on a weakened immune system.  Damaged vocal cords have left her with a voice I can hardly recognize and 2 AM brings me haunting thoughts of the letters I should have sent and the phone calls I should have made - will I ever write her address again?

Sixty-five years of marriage between her and my grandpa - the way he speaks about her leaves me emotional and thankful that I know love like that.  Life looks a lot different at the moment with her in the hospital and him in the nursing home.  I don't know what the future holds for them here, but I know they are looking forward to eternity together, with healthy minds and able bodies, and that gives me great comfort.

Be thankful today.  We don't know about tomorrow.  That breath you just took, that word you just spoke? A gift.  Treasure them.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

because He lives

 With each consecutive Easter celebration, I find myself far more emotional and grateful from the previous year.  I will never understand or grasp the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us to have hope in this broken world, but I am so thankful that He lives in me and his mercies are anew every single day.  He chose me.  And he chose you, too.

Bonus - I got to sit through an entire service in church.  Living intentionally came up, which has been a goal of sorts for the last two years.  Alongside the subject of intentionality came helpful habits that I hope to carry with me:

-be fully present (distractions aside)
- go through the open doors
-live with gratitude
-treasure relationships; pour into them
-be a lifelong learner

We're closing out an eventful, blessed weekend with a quiet night at home.  We're going to venture into the new mini series A.D. The Bible Continues where smoked gouda popcorn and baby snuggles might also be involved.  (Seriously, go buy the popcorn (the brand is Oogie's - the popcorn love moved up a level with this one.)

This handsome boy mostly watched the action for his first Easter - he did ride in the ergo for some cupcake construction, egg painting, and other preparations.  For last year's Easter celebration, the girls found dresses that would label them in their promoted sibling roles, and we told them about "the baby" for the first time.  I was terrified, excited, and incredibly nauseous.

This year, they don the labels proudly and we love on him as if we have been for years.  I can't believe the turns life takes in a short (or incredibly loooo-ooooooooong) year.  I'm thankful for these blessings and the inexpressible and glorious joy life brings.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 23, 2015

dear luca

Luca Jack,

Five months old today - how can it be?  I feel like I just sat down to write you at four months, and yet you have discovered new things since then and you have grown even more.  You tip the scales at a whopping 16 pounds, officially doubling your birth weight (34th percentile) and you are 25.25 inches tall (21st percentile).  You're my smallest baby and so delightfully chubby and dimpled, I can hardly help but eat you up.

You light the world up when someone smothers you with smooches, and you have the best laugh.  You love to be lifted in the air and bounced around - I'm slightly worried that the giggles that come from gentle tosses will transform into laughter elicited from jumps off of things in the near future.

I love the way you like to snuggle in close, and the way that you can't resist sleep as I trace the outline of your face--just like your sisters.  I love the way you wrap your chubby little arms around my face when I lean in next to you.  I also love the way you wake up smiling - everyone should wake up that way.

You are grabbings things fairly well now.  If it touches you, you can get it; if it's in front of you, it takes a minute to get the message to your little fingers, but you can usually do it.  It won't be long before we are putting things up and out of reach before little things find their way into your mouth.

Sleep is as predictable as the weather.  It's a gamble each night, and I'm looking forward to being more consistent with that.  Some nights, you sleep all the way through the night and others you wake up more than you did as a newborn.

I used to carry you around the house as I did things and you were along for the ride but just content to be touching me.  Now, you still need to be carried but you are very curious about the things that I am doing.

You are close to sitting!  A little more work on the core muscles for you to sit up straight, and you will be able to sit longer than a few seconds.  You can't get your arm out of the way to roll back to tummy, but you try so hard.  Keeping things honest - you don't spend much time on the floor to practice.  You can spin full circles if you are on your back and I know the days that you are mobile are right around the corner.

Your daddy gets the most laughs, so I expect "mama" to be your first word.  I get the most snuggles, which I'll happily take.  There's something so special about being your comfort - I am thankful for that role and hope I will fulfill it for your entire life.

You are learning new sounds, some cute, some extremely loud and not telephone conversation friendly.  Or any conversation really.  Most of the time, you sound like the most precious owl I have ever heard - "Whooo. Ohhhh. Whooooo."

Precious boy, I cannot believe you are mine.  You are the best addition to our family and we love you so much, I cannot possibly begin to put it into words.

Love you to the moon, lovebug.


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