Thursday, July 23, 2015

dear luca

sweet boy,

Here it is, a big milestone of sorts - at least in my head.  Nine months.  You have been in our family on the outside for the same amount of time that I was pregnant with you, back when I was pregnant for twelve million years (tomorrow, will be the exact same duration: 39 weeks, 1 day).  You weigh in at 19.2 pounds (23rd percentile).

I have started looking at themes for your big birthday bash.  This can't be happening!

You are all over the place - I guessed 10 months for walking, so we'll see how this all plays out.  You are quick at crawling and now play that really funny game of crawling at impressive rates of speed when I tell you I am after you.

It took foreveeeer, but your first top tooth finally broke through a few days ago.  When it comes to sleep, all bets have been off the table for the last several weeks.  And it just so seems that you take your best naps when we are late to get somewhere.  Naps have strengthened my ninja rolling to Olympic-level perfection.

You love to eat, and I don't think we have discovered anything you won't eat.  Recently, you stole a rather strong raw onion off of my plate and ate the whole thing!  You love pasta and watermelon quite a bit, and you recently tried a lemon, a pickle, homemade pizzas, and strawberries.

You learned to clap this month, and you can now clap on command.  It's so fun to watch you process verbal cues - we are working on some sign language now, too.  You mimic the screaming your sisters do and you can RAWR!  You have been experimenting with your voice and babbling with various syllables.

Some of my favorite things about you -

the smiles, all the time.  Even through the whining.

The way you bury your head into me when someone talks to you, still smiling.

The way you take your best naps at the pool.

The way you light up when you hear your sisters.

The way you open your mouth when I take a drink or a bite of food.

Your chubby, chubby feet.

My very thing about you is your sense of humor.  You know you are funny, and you enjoy making people laugh.  You hear laughter and add your own sweet little laugh into the mix.

You seem to be our first baby that we think twice about outings with - I have never seen someone so busy and so curious, which evidently makes sitting in high chairs (and grocery carts, and on laps) extraordinarily painful because you can't stand the thought of missing anything in the world around you!

You have been such an amazing addition to our family - life seems so different now, and so completely perfect!  We are so crazy about you, and blessed to watch you grow!

Love you to the moon!


Friday, July 10, 2015

a slow down

 This is the best day! 
-Ruby,  upon learning the art of braiding

Two weeks ago, we set out on a summer adventure.  Car was full, snacks in tow, husband in the driver's seat, and I had a good book to sweep me away.  I put my phone away, and I read 400 pages in peace and without distraction.  This began as a silent boycott for AT&T and the fact that we were nearly over our shared data usage (again) despite various measures to avoid that.

It turned into something else entirely.

Several months ago, I ordered Hands Free Mama after discovering some of her blog posts.  The book arrived, I noted the fun cover and tucked it away for a time when I could devote the appropriate time and undivided attention.  I liked what she had to say, but was intimidated to confront the guilt of old habits grown strong by a bed-ridden pregnancy and now, nursing.

I wish I had started the book sooner; it's a gently inspiring read about slowing down in this fast-paced world by turning away the temptation to be absorbed by others' lives.  I circled and underlined and read and reread.  Jimmy and I both took away so many things from her honest perspective, I feel like I want to shout to the world about it - the people eating in a restaurant with noses buried in brilliant screens, the moms that sit on the park benches, phone in hand, and miss their children's pure joy.  The ones at stop lights (or not!!) that can't put their phone if an open moment arrives.  I have been there before, replying to a forgotten text or checking email.  Just this week, my phone sat quiet and unreachable as I drove.  I stopped at a light and saw a woman bring two homeless men ice cold waters from the nearby gas station.  It reminded me of the love that gets overlooked in the world, something I need to be reminded of often.  And I could have easily missed that.

 Life slowed down as technology made its escape, as we spent a week with friends, family, Power Wheels, and foods that don't make the grocery cut at home.  We spent time with my grandma and grandpa, and I left with an overwhelming sense of peace and thankfulness.  Just a few months ago, I contemplated the circumstances under which or if I would ever see them again.

There's something magical about the smells of summer, the places to run alongside the dreams in your imagination, the sticky popsicles, the cousin get togethers, and the s'mores.  Oh, the s'mores.  Time seems to stand still, just for a moment; I wish I could bottle it up and keep it on a shelf forever and ever.

Our little adventure held firsts for everyone - orange soda (I know.) A ride on the swing and a tea party for Luca.  Fireworks, American flag pizzas, fish feeding and frogging for Jimmy. And of course the summer staples we know and love: dress up, campfires, fishing, sweet cousins, plenty of lemonade, late-night snacks and bed time stories, kitties, sand, vintage toys, and a whole lot of love and laughter.

This slow life?  It's one I want to keep.  The way the girls collapse into their beds and barely make contact with the pillow before the snores begin.  Their heat-inspired wispy curls, their sticky mouths and chalky feet, they way they light up at the mention of ice cream. 

I'm so thankful. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

dear luca

Luca Love,

Eight months old - you are sprawled across my lap resisting sleep, charming the socks off of me (a frequent thing) with the way you keep reaching your chubby little hand up to be kissed, pacifier crooked from the smiles.  I always kiss your sweet hand, but sometimes, it turns into tickles on the backs of your arms or neck and it always ends in giggles. 

You are a busy boy these days, and always curious.  You weigh 18.8 pounds (29th percentile) and you are 27.75 inches long (43rd percentile). You are fairly certain you should be walking around and have gone to the appropriate lengths to begin doing so.  You pull up very easily now - something you first started eleven days ago.

It's like a life-sized game of Mouse Trap to keep you in an area where you can find limited trouble.  You love shredding magazines, attempting to destroy the fireplace cover, opening cabinets, and Eisley's teeny tiny toys. 

Now that you are up and scooting along things, nothing is safe. And we have already had to lock up cabinets, a new territory for us.

You recently decided to scream in protest at baths, so a sink bath happened and you found it magical.  Everything within 15 feet shared in the magic.

Your timing with bath-hating is a little unfortunate with the way you destroy your food.  This month, you have really enjoyed cucumbers, apples, blueberries, and lettuce.

Your sleep continues to be unpredictable and I'm afraid to say one word about it out loud because I always jinx something.  We have played around with routines, clothing, blankets, and just about everything I can think of in attempt to help.  I'm hopeful for consistent sleep before three years old (like Eisley).

You are a mama's boy - I have been known to crawl through areas that I am at risk of being in your line of sight if I am not quite done doing something, otherwise you scream your protests about me being without you. 

This month, you took your first airplane ride and were an angel; you definitely prefer traveling when not in your car seat.

You went swimming for the first time this month, too.  You enjoyed watching people and were as still as I have ever seen you.  You ended up taking a nap in the pool!

We love you, sweet bubba!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

shape of a mother

 Once upon a time I wrote something about my outward appearance after nearly ninety-two weeks of pregnancy.  I wrote this, and while I whole-heartedly believed every word I typed, I was still wading through a pool of unknown transformation within my self to believe the hype and promotions about loving your body.

I have since added an additional thirty-nine weeks of pregnancy, another family member, chapters upon chapters of life and love and wisdom.  And further body transformation.  Aside from well over one hundred months of growing humans (!!), I have provided somewhere close to 12,000 meals with this body;  I should very well expect that it's different now.

Here I am, minus 95 percent of the baby weight and most of my clothes don't fit.  My jeans don't pull over my hips, and some can't even be convinced to move past the thighs.  I'm still wearing my forgiveness jeans - the ones I bought with full intention to wear for approximately two weeks until the baby weight just melted off and my body returned to the identity it held at about 17 years of age.

Do you know what wouldn't fit right into my 17 year old self?  My heart.  I can't imagine trading my now self for my then self in hopes of being more beautiful in the eyes of a society weighed down with airbrushes, photo editing programs, and unrealistic perceptions.  I owe it to my children to appreciate my body, to celebrate it.  I owe it to myself to be realistic, and I owe it to society to be above the hype of false perfection.  Wouldn't it be amazing if the mama at the pool that embraced her body wasn't an internet sensation?

I have a little bump, and though my babies are now on the other side of that bump, the remaining evidence of my powerful body will travel with me forever.

Sometimes, I still lovingly refer to it as elephant skin.  Sometimes, I still have to remind myself of the three beautiful reasons my jeans don't fit, and sometimes I struggle with comparison to society's impossible standards.  But this much I know: my worth in this world is hardly determined by the shape of my body.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

tales of summer

The dishwasher hums through its daily cycle of work and I can hear the sound of Eisley sleeping soundly from the living room: her claimed sleepover spot.  Luca sleepy sighs beside me and the house has this sleepy aura of summery bliss.

I had every intention of detailing the weekend of Meredith's wedding, but I was pulling off a rather significant life facade and got slightly sidetracked with a lengthy list of to dos (and lies).  Maybe I will manufacture the minutes to make it happen before the details slip.

 Luca and I flew to Texas last weekend, a surprise to one of my favorite people in the world.  I loved my little travel buddy and he was up for most anything, except for the hotel shower - who can blame him?  We spent a really hot few days shopping and eating and frequenting Target and Starbucks.

I talk to Rebecca about everything, everything.  She knows my life story and every one of my day stories.  I seek her advice on important life decisions like nail polish colors and Starbucks drinks.    Not talking to her about my plans was harder than I imagined, and I tried my hardest not to lie until she pinned me on a few things.  I'm fairly sure the slight untruths are forgiven.

We spent this weekend with family and a whole lot of friends, plus a side of calories.  Like a lot.  (hard to see pictured: skillet cookie that was basically destroyed).

The girls often ask to hold Luca - Eisley will say, "Can Luca snuggle me?"  He doesn't sit still with them for long, but he does love books (and hair), and he finds them absolutely mesmerizing.

some catch up things that I don't want to forget:

this sweet group of friends that I get to do life with - I am so thankful for them!

 This girl makes me so proud - I mostly can't believe she's mine! She did so great in her dance recital last weekend.  Her second tooth gave way to childhood and she sent it off to wherever tooth fairies take teeth.

 Luca's first time in our pool - he people-watched and then fell asleep.

This kiddo figured out how to pull up this week and now it's old news, he is a master!  We joke about knocking him over because he is seven months old and I'm not ready for this!  He is so curious, he doesn't even have time to watch what he's doing; I think this is just the beginning of a boy-themed circus in our house.

and a couple of patriotic Eisleyisms:

United States of America: "Lion States of America"

"Mom, that's me on the America go round (merry-go-round)."

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

real life

It has been weeks since Luca has slept well.  My mind feels like mud and my patience is low - not a great way to start out the summer, and most especially the summer where I feel like I'm making up for last year's lost summer (also known as: the summer I spent in bed thanks to pregnancy).

Yesterday, after another horrible night, I wrote down the nitty gritty details of Luca's day.  I still am not sure, but I hope I have pinned it to tummy troubles which aren't uncommon for him.  And the timeline of recent, not - coincides with the introduction of solid foods.  Every nap was fought, and seemed less than worth it at a whopping forty minutes each.  My nerves were frazzled and I felt like a failure.  My baby was unhappy and I didn't know why, my other kids received unfair portions of a short temper that stemmed from frustration and exhaustion.  Bed time came and went that left me with a messy house, a mystery rash, a mosquito bite that would swell my eye shut, and a lot of regrets. I may have entertained the idea of a solo hotel stay. 

Last night, he had probiotics right before bed, slept until 5 this morning, ate and went back to sleep.  Can you hear the angels singing?  My mind was made of HALLELUJAHs at just 11:30 last night when he had been sleeping for two hours in which I did my best imitation of a statue, not daring to move.

I spent quiet time with coffee, uninterrupted breakfast, my bible, and some mom inspiration this morning while my kids all played together and my baby wasn't screaming for me.  I feel renewed, grateful for little victories, and inspired to allow mom guilt to be a thing of yesterday.

little moments that bring joy.

My house is clean, I'm armed with encouragement (and coffee, of course), my kids are happy and loved.  Today is a new day, and one that offers forgiveness and grace.  I will love my family, savor the moments and know that I'm not required to make up for lost time.  The world has a whole lot to offer, but inside of our little home is my favorite, safe and uncomplicated haven.

Things that have inspired me recently:

Women in the Word - I can't wait to start each morning with SRT - I have studied with them for a few years now, and enjoy the bravery, inspiration, and truth about Jesus.

Slow Parenting - I read this last weekend and caught myself saying, "Come on, hurry!" within the hour.  Savor the moments, they are all special.

Start anew, today. - I could spend hours reading her blog entries.  Meaningful, honest, and great foundations for a wholesome, family-centered life.

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!


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