Wednesday, July 18, 2018

a letter to my last baby

To my last baby on the eve of your first birthday:

Tonight as I gave you your last bottle, I can't help but reflect on this last trip around the sun.  This was the longest and shortest year of my life. I barely remember bringing you home from the hospital and remembering life before that is so hazy.  It's only at night as I put you to bed that I get glimpses of my once tiny baby. Every day you're less and less a baby and more and more a little boy and while I am so excited for each new milestone, my heart yearns for the baby to stay a little bit longer.

It goes by too fast.

Tomorrow, by definition, you will no longer be a baby.  You will officially be a toddler.  You seem so ready for this next part in your story and I am trying to be there with you.  You are so adventurous and wild. I feel like I am constantly going behind you and cleaning up the destruction left in your wake. You are lucky that you are so dang cute because you are definitely a little trouble maker.  You are so strong and you climb everything you can and have no problem moving things that are in your way. You are so close to walking and I feel like in a blink of an eye you will be running.    

It goes by too fast. 

Oh my sweet boy, you have filled places in my heart that I thought your sister already had. But that's the thing with a mother's love - it knows no end and my heart is so full of love for both of you. Ours is not a complete family without you. You are a wondrous endpoint to our family with your toothy grin, perfect giggle and sweet soul.

And tonight, as if you knew my heart was heavy, you said Mama. Clear as day, you called for mama. So while I am so sad that I put a baby to bed for the last time tonight, I am so excited to wake you up tomorrow morning and hear my toddler say mama.

So on the eve of your first birthday, I want you to know this: I will love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I am living my baby you will be. I love you, Everett Grey, more than I could ever truly put into words.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

the joy in comparison

There is an old saying, "comparison is the thief of joy". I am here to tell you that is not always true. While it holds true in some things like comparing your life to the seemingly perfect lives people project in their instagram squares or comparing your body to those airbrushed ads in a magazine, it absolutely does not apply (in my opinion) to your kids during the adorable tiny stages (obviously school age is a whole different ball game). 

I have found myself constantly comparing Natalie and Everett. It started early in my pregnancy. The two pregnancies were so similar: no morning sickness, breakfast binges, watermelon and pineapple cravings. I often wondered how similar the two kiddos would be... I was also convinced because my pregnancies were so similar that Everett was a girl. I could not have been more wrong!

Now that Everett is on the outside, I still find myself comparing them: their likes and dislikes, their sleep habits and facial features and expressions. I swear, if you put a bow on Everett and took his picture, you wouldn't be able to tell which of my sweet babes it was! I compare eating habits and appetites, first foods and favorite foods.  

I find that I am remembering things about Natalie as a newborn that I had completely forgotten about, like how she would sleep with her arms above her head in her little touchdown position and how she very quickly took a loving to her paci (something Everett didn't do until almost 3 or 4 months).  Her bedtime routine was so different than his - she loved to snuggle in for books before going into her crib awake, he likes a bottle and to fall asleep being held.  They crawled within weeks of each other - Natalie hitting the milestone first.  Neither of my babies enjoyed tummy time; however, Everett had the advantage of tummy time with his sissy and I loved to watch her cheer him on. He took to it much faster than she ever did. 

His milestones almost seem bigger than hers because he is the last and because he has her watching. I love how excited she is for him when he does something.  She is his biggest fan and I absolutely love what a little mama she has become. Natalie loves talking about her milestone moments as we discover Everett's and it is making me see her in a new way.  She has grown up on me so much in the last year and I was just not prepared for it, at all.  

I know there will come a time when the comparisons will not be so innocent and I will have my children forever rolling their eyes at me, but, for now, I will soak in these tiny firsts for the last time and remember the first firsts while I do. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Everett | Eleven Months

Age: 11 months

Weight: B weighed him this morning and (unofficially) the little chunk is weighing in at 24lbs, which means he apparently did not gain any weight in the last month.  He is wearing size 18 months clothes and size 4 diapers (size 5 at bedtime). 

Likes: Sissy, trucks and cars, Dada, eating, stealing Mama's water cup, taking all the snacks out of the snack drawer, Hank

Dislikes: diaper changes, staying still, taking a nap on the weekend 

Milestones & Big Moments: We are still cruising along. He is standing unassisted for a couple seconds and then down goes Frazier. I keep thinking his first steps are right about to happen, but he seems perfectly content not walking yet and I am totally ok with that.

We had a surprise visit from Unkie this past weekend which was so dang nice. The kiddos absolutely adore their Uncle Evan, we all do. 

Looking forward to: We have a lot of fun planned in the next month. Everett's first 4th of July is right around the corner!  It's hard to believe that's his last first holiday.  Cue the mom tears.  I am especially looking forward to a visit from my college girlfriend, Emily, and her boyfriend. It will be the first time she is meeting Everett and the first time she has seen Nat in 3 years, which seems crazy. Oh, and you know, celebrating Everett's first birthday is right around the corner.

                             •               •                              •                                               •                    

Sometimes I have these moments with Everett where I feel like I don't know him. I feel like we're just keeping all our heads above water. It really hit me when Natalie went to her first sleepover for her best friend's birthday.  B, Everett and I went to the grocery store.  It was the first time since we delivered him at the hospital that the three of us had done something together without Natalie.  B and I have done so much divide and conquer in that one of us runs around like a crazy person doing all the things and the other person is a crazy person trying to entertain both kids. It doesn't leave much time for quality interactions, so recently we've been trying to divide and conquer in that both kiddos get 1:1 time while we run errands or gets things done around the house. Here's to hoping that it helps us all feel a little more connected and, perhaps, a little less crazy.   

It's so funny when I sit and think about the kiddos. Everett is much harder than Natalie was; however, he is still a pretty easy baby. Natalie was just a dream boat first baby. She slept through the night. She went into her crib awake and put herself to sleep. She was the queen of quiet play (and honestly, still is). She took scheduled naps. Everett is just all boy. He doesn't want to miss a single moment so he refuses to nap for us. He takes a bottle before bed (something Natalie kicked around 8 months - she stopped bottles altogether by 10 months). And I'm not really sure how weaning the bedtime bottle will go for Everett, or me.  It's something I love about our bedtime routine - it gives me a chance to savor these last baby moments with my last baby. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Everett | Ten Months

Age: T.E.N. Months. Double digits.

Weight: (unofficially) 24.4 pounds. He is wearing 18M clothes and size 4 diapers.

Likes: bath time, eating, the play kitchen, the dogs water bowl, removing outlet covers and the kitchen floor vent cover, annoying Sissy, playing with Sissy, really anything involving Sissy.

Dislikes: diaper changes, being hungry, sleeping through the night, long car rides

Milestones & Big Moments: He is thisclose to walking, and I feel like I was just having concerns that he wasn't crawling yet. Whomp whomp.  He has mastered cruising around by holding onto furniture and things.  He will walk anywhere when holding onto my hands. He loves pushing around the activity table and occasionally gets brave enough to push the shopping cart and the little lion walker. And y'all, I am 100% not prepared for it.  

He is definitely more advanced in his motor skills than his verbal as he is still a fairly quiet child. He only really says hi, dada, yay and the occasional, very rare, elusive mama. (And I know that this is actually considered quite a bit, BUT I am doing that whole compare to Sissy thing and, by comparison, the kid is basically mute.)

We have more teeth. We officially have seven teeth with #8 coming in soon.

Looking forward to: Getting our pictures back from Liz of Hough Photography :)  We had them taken on Sunday and the previews are super dreamy. Liz had a sale on mini sessions and Everett's godmother, Kerri, got him the cutest picture worthy outfit so I figured it was a good reason to get some more pictures of the kiddos. I feel like I literally cannot have enough pictures of them. Clearly there are no #secondbabyprobs when it comes to his life being well documented.

                             •               •                              •                                               •                    

I cannot believe this little stinker has been around for 10 months.  I also cannot believe how fast 10 months have flown by. He is really starting to get a little personality and he is 100% a mama's boy and I love it.  Natalie has always been incredibly affectionate with me but the way Everett loves is completely different. It has been one of the most interesting things to watch unfold and grow.

Party planning for Everett's first birthday is in full effect.  I am so excited for the theme we have picked and to see it all come together. I have created and ordered his invitations. I have started work on his milestone board. We have scheduled his one year pictures with Liz. It is crazy to think how quickly it will all be here!

Overall, I am just really excited for our first full summer as a family of four.  B and I have been doing 710 house projects to really make our house feel more like home and as the weather has started to get nicer, we've been working more on the outside. I am excited to basically live outside with the kids for the next 4+ months so we needed the space to be more functional and fun. I can't wait to show some before and after pictures of that project!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Everett | Nine Months

Age: 9 months, 4 days. I was waiting to post so that I would have Everett's official pediatrician weight but then our internet has been down at home since Wednesday so I had to wait even longer. Whomp whomp. 

Weight: drum roll please, Mr. Chunk-a-monk is weighing in at 22 lbs 14 oz.  He is wearing size 12M clothes and size 4 diapers. [Fun fact: he weighs 3 ounces less than Natalie did at her 9M well visit and stands 1/2 an inch shorter.]

Likes: Sissy (still his favorite person), Puffs, Bath time, taking rides in Sissy's "van", his swing from Nanny and Farge. 

Dislikes: Diaper changes, not being able to walk, being hungry

Milestones & Big Moments: We hit the 38 weeks out mark. April 15th marked Everett being earth side as long as he was inside. It's so crazy to think about.

We have a crawler! For awhile there he was the king of the army crawl but he has finally figured it out and is constantly on the move!  

Everett also took his first dip in the pool and, just like his big sissy, he is a total water baby. He loved it!

This last month also brought a visit to the Easter bunny and Everett was a champ. Not a single tear!

Looking forward to: warmer weather and playing outside more often.

                             •               •                              •                                               •                    

We took our second trip to NJ with two kids for Easter weekend and B and I both agreed that it would be quite some time before we would be mentally prepared to do that again.  Traveling with two kids under five is hard - road tripping more than 2-2.5 hours away with two kids under five is downright brutal and exhausting. Everett did not do well on the car ride up and I ended up having to squeeze between to the two car seats for the majority of the drive to soothe him [hindsight being 20/20, I wish I had gotten a bigger car after my accident].  Then Natalie slept the last hour plus of the drive up and did not understand it was not morning when we got there, but rather 10:30pm and still time to sleep which made for a long night. Overall, once we got to NJ, it was a nice trip filled with lots of memories :)

I know I just talked about how hard the two kiddos thing is BUT, honestly, I think we are finally hitting our stride with this haha. It's still a lot of divide and conquer, which I don't see changing, but it's getting easier.  I am sure that is in large part due to Everett getting easier. He is eating more and more table food. He is getting better at independent play. He and Natalie are interacting and playing more. It's just starting to feel so good and so. much. easier. 

I have said a thousand times since Everett was born that our family is complete now.  Honestly, I felt this way mostly because the end of my pregnancy with Everett was so scary and so hard that I really wasn't sure if I could do it again mentally, but this last weekend I had this moment where it truly felt complete. [You were waiting for a pregnancy announcement or a we're trying again hint, weren't you - not happening.] We were sitting outside on a blanket on the deck, enjoying the perfect weather, having cocktails and the kids were playing together and it just felt so right. That whole having babies chapter of my life feels so done and my little family so whole. I had been waiting for that moment.