Sunday, December 20, 2015

Big Sister Prep

I really wanted to put down "on paper" some of the cute things Felicity has done since we told her about the baby. I really didn't think she would absorb as much as she has, and it is SO much fun to watch. We told her that mommy has a baby in her tummy right after we found out we were pregnant, and she almost immediately grabbed onto that concept and has run with it. If I talk about mommy's baby or the baby in my tummy she usually will pull my shirt up and either point to, tickle, or kiss the baby. She sometimes will come over to me and out of nowhere say baby and lift up my shirt. Often the first thing she does/says in the morning is "tiny baby!" followed by rubbing her hand across my belly. One of my favorite moments has been her lifting up my shirt, kissing my belly at my request, and then saying all on her own "night night baby" about 15 minutes before her bed time. She tries to "feed" baby with her toy baby bottle through my bellybutton, and also uses her doctor kit to give the baby a checkup. When I go tot he OB, she says I'm at Dr. Anna's (any Daniel Tiger fans out there?). My heart is so, so full and I can't imagine how full it will be once the baby is actually here for her to love on! Yes, I know there will be lots of tough moments for the big sister, but I will live for these sweet ones.

Dr. Felicity will see you now.

We have bought her quite a few books to help her prepare, since she spends 80% of her day reading or looking at books now. We chose:

I'm a Big Sister  I liked this one because it's a cross between a board book and a "real" book so it's pretty sturdy. The story is light and quick, but good for young toddlers.

Daniel Tiger: The Baby is Here This book was a no brainer because Felicity is obsessed with "Kitty" and "Baby Margaret" but I do like that it covers that mom and dad going away to have the baby within the context of her favorite characters. It also shows Margaret crying and Daniel trying to help. My only concern is Mom Tiger walking home from the hospital and introducing the day old baby to all the people in the Land of Make Believe, but I guess when you live there that's feasible ;). 

The New Baby at Your House I got this one because it was the only book at Barnes and Nobles (where we looked first before buying some on Amazon) that showed breastfeeding, which was important to me for her to see in books, especially once we weaned and it wasn't as 'normal' of a concept for her. I find it more boring because it has real pictures, but books with pictures of real babies are consistently her favorite and this one is no exception! It's also very wordy and I figured we'd just have to read a page here or there, so imagine my surprise when she listened to the whole thing the first time through, and every time after! It was definitely a great purchase.

Waiting For Baby  These next two books are very simple, but very cute. The wording is pretty minimal, but also allows you to talk about the pictures easily on your own and adapt it to your own family and situation. The artwork is simple but cute. 

My New Baby  This is another that shows breastfeeding and really opened up a conversation for us about how babies have nursies and/or bottles, and only drink milk. These two were so affordable and great additions to our baby prep collection! 

27 weeks! 

Felicity is now really into pretending she is a "tiny baby" (what she calls her sibling and any other child under the age of 4 haha!), which is both cute and, if I'm honest, slightly annoying. She will come over to me and, in the most hilarious voice, almost like she's sick, say "tiiiiny baby", and then back herself up so she's laying across my lap. I then hold her like a baby and she requests blanket and (doll) bottle, which she "drinks" from. Sometimes she says "wahhh wahhh" and asks me to rock her. It's hilarious and cute the first 5 or so times a day it happens... maybe a little less cute after that ;). Felicity also likes to play with her tiny babies- 3 baby dolls she has, although recently downgraded to 2 due to one losing a leg permanently. She will rock and shush them, and feed them their bottle. Love that girl! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Toddler Talk

I think Felicity learning to talk might be my favorite part of toddlerhood, besides snuggles. Or it might even overtake snuggles. Just don't make me decide. Again, I want to write down some of these that I won't remember when she starts using the words or phrases correctly (*sob* not soon, hopefully).

My have it: when she wants something that someone else has. Or sometimes when she's arguing with her own self over a toy.

My mine: similar to above, but she uses this when she doesn't know the word of said item. So where she'd normally say "my ________" and name the toy, she says "my mine" if she doesn't know the name.

Appy peez. Mook peez. Watuh peez: Pacifier please. Milk please. Water please. Not only are the words cute, but I am so in love with this phase of saying please for EVERYthing. I know it won't last because she had a prior phase of saying thank you constantly that didn't stick, but it's so cute. She will even wake up in the middle of the night requesting "milk please" or even "bless you, mama" the one time I woke myself (and her apparently) up snoring.

Color and cuddle both sound the same. And she loves to do both so figuring out which one she is intending can be quite the challenge!

Airplayin': Airplane. This is my current favorite, and thankfully she says it a lot since we have 2 toy planes a puzzle piece airplane. She said airplane correctly for a month before switching to airplayin' and it makes me smile every time!

Kihee: kitty, which is actual Daniel Tiger. Though she knows his stuffed animal is named Tigey and does not call him a kitty lol  All of her DT character pronunciations are wrong and so cute!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

18 Week Bumpdate

How far along: 18 weeks as of Friday 

Baby Size: Over 5 inches! 

Weight gain: Ugh. 10 lbs at the last doctor visit, where he reminded me I should probably only gain 15. Yeah, unless this baby is only going to be like 3 lbs that's not happening. I had no sweet tooth with Felicity and such a sweet tooth with this one, but I'm trying to reign it in. Sort of.

Maternity clothes: I've been in maternity pants since about 11 weeks but I'm just starting to add in some maternity shirts, though I still have a few regular ones that work well.

Stretch marks: No new ones yet. 
Sleep: The pregnancy insomnia has hit! It's pretty much like last time- I'm up for about an hour in the middle of the night (usually 2-3 or 3-4). Luckily not every night, though! 

Gender: It will be a surprise again!

Movement: Started feeling movement on October 6th at 16.5 weeks. Thank God! It eases my anxiety so much. With Felicity, I was 17 weeks, I think, and only felt her once a week for the first few weeks. I've felt this baby at least once a day almost every day (except 2 in a row) for a week and a half now! Go baby! 

Best moment this week: Seeing Felicity love on my stomach without any prompting. This week she's been obsessed with the idea that the baby is playing with cars (lol!). She loves to lift my shirt and check my belly, then will kiss, hug, and offer her appy (paci) to the baby. It makes my heart so mushy.

Looking forward to: Our 20 week ultrasound. Can't wait to see the little one again!
  Anything making you queasy or sick: Still fighting nausea but it's at least slowed some.
Labor Signs: No, thank God.
What I miss: Right now nothing. I'm on a 2 week trial break from morning progesterone and I am so happy and feel so good! I've gotten tons of stuff done around the house and Felicity has her mom back. I almost feel like my old self! Hoping my numbers are decent enough that I can continue. Edit: I wrote this earlier in the week and never posted. Back on morning progesterone, womp womp.
Symptoms: Nausea, tiredness though that's much improved, heartburn, insomnia
Nursery: Sorry 2nd baby. You'll get a nursery when big sister moves rooms a few months after you're born ;).
Belly Button in or out? In.

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Mood: Steven says I'm more emotional. I guess so ;). 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

From Baby to Toddler

My sister inspired this post because she has written some about things she'll miss about her baby as she gets older and, now that the baby book is down to one page to summarize a whole year (sniff, sniff), I keep thinking about all the cute things she does and wondering if I'll even remember them! So I figured I might as well write a few of them down :). And also Jellybean has kind of taken the blogging spotlight lately so this one's for you, my sweet first born.

19 Month Old Cuteness

  • She's already lost this but I have to say it! For months, Felicity called kitties "tih tih" with sort of a lisp on the front end (almost a "th" sound). It was one of our favorite things ever and we were so sad when she learned the word kitty!
  • Speaking of the word kitty, she has trouble with double consonants in the middle so kitty is actually pronounced "kih-eee" and cuddle is pronounced "cuh-uhl". Ahhh so cute.
  • She is very into helping, but mostly with vacuuming. When I vacuum, Felicity pushes her stroller around the house the way I do with the vacuum. Then she insists on handing me the cord as I wind it up and says "Hepping!". 
  • Felicity is the cutest copycat. If we are on a play date and the other mom sits on a bench, Felicity goes and sits beside her. If I sit on the ground against a wall, she comes and sits beside me with her back pressed against it. If I stand with my hands behind my back, she scurries over beside me and puts her hands behind her back. And if the neighbor toddler lays on the ground to examine a bug, she lays on the ground and giggles. 
  • When she wants to eat and I tell her it's not time (for example, in gymnastics class) she goes through every word she has, hoping I'll say yes to one of them. "Eat. Nack. Suppuh. Mook. Eat. Nack."
  • Felicity just started getting into her play kitchen and now makes me 'soup' daily. She brings a cup or bowl with a spoon and feeds me, making a slurping sound. 
  • When I give her a hug, kiss or cuddle, she starts a "my" war with "my huggie! my cuddle! my kissy"! I know I shouldn't encourage it but I do because it's the cutest thing ever! She is also gaining bodily autonomy which I'm super proud of and will say "my arm!" or _____ insert other body part here if someone touches or grabs her. 
  • She can put her number puzzle together and name the numbers, which blew me away the first time she did it. She confuses 9 and 6 of course, but otherwise does stunningly well. She's so little that I can't believe she sits there and says her numbers! Love that little muffin! 
  • When I sneeze (or cough lol), she stops what she's doing (even if she's watching "kitty!" Daniel Tiger) to say either "bless you mama" or "bless you mommy". My heart melts every time! 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dear Baby #2, Letter 4

Jellybean,                                                                                                  10/6/2015

You really deserve so many more letters than this! But I wanted to make sure I wrote to you today because you are finally kicking me!!! I can't even tell you how excited I am. I panic so much in that time where nausea and exhuastion have left but movement hasn't started yet. Thankfully (trying to be positive here), nausea isn't all the way gone and exhaustion is just starting to improve since I got to stop morning progesterone as a trial, so I've been less panicky than I was with your sister, but I still thought I'd feel you before now. If you google (why do I ever google?), it appears that most 2nd time moms feel their baby super early. I felt Felicity around 18 or 19 weeks so I thought I'd feel you maybe around 14. But I'm 16 weeks and 4 days today and I know it's normal that I am just now feeling you. I'm just super excited that it's happening. You may really like activity because this is the most active day I've had in a long time (especially since it's our first day of sun in two weeks!!!). Felicity had her first mommy and me gymnastics class today which was an insane workout, plus we went on a long walk, plus we played at the playground. I felt you as I rested after gymnastics and as I rested after putting Felicity to bed tonight. I know it could be days until I feel you again, but I'm glad I have this to hang onto :). We have our "big" ultrasound in just over 2 weeks and I can't wait to see you again! I know most people prefer less ultrasounds, but since I have to have them anyway, they really help my anxiety. I cannot believe I'm almost 17 weeks pregnant. This pregnancy is FLYING. I'm definitely in maternity pants full time but still in most of my normal shirts, but for some reason I often still don't feel pregnant. It still hits me over and over again that you're in there! Daddy talks to you every night just like he did with your sister and I love that special time you two share. We love you so much and can't wait to meet you and see who you are. We both kind of have a feeling you're a boy, which is bizarre since neither of us really had a feeling with Felicity. At the very end I had an inkling she might be a girl but it was so fleeting that I doubted myself. But this is a strong feeling and I don't know where it comes from! Felicity has a LOT of clothing that you will fit perfectly into if you're a girl, but if you're a boy that just gives us all an excuse to go shopping ;). Love you so much and can't wait to see you again in a few weeks!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lessons and Teams and Practices, Oh My

On Tuesday, Felicity starts a 3 week career in gymnastics. By 3 weeks, I mean 30 minutes one time a week for 3 weeks. And by gymnastics, I mean likely running amok with other children of similar age. I'm really excited because she is such a physical kid, so having equipment to climb on (instead of the cushions on the back of my couch or on my kitchen table) will be a perfect outlet for her.

I have to say though, I had some trepidation in signing her up. I actually was so wary that I missed the first sign up/session and had to wait for the next one to roll around. I feel like we live in a world that is totally overscheduled. Kids are on too many teams, in too many activities, doing just plain too much. I can see that there is a lot of benefit to some activities, but not at the cost of the two things I find most important for childhood for our kids: 1) family life and 2) independent/free play. The main reason why we are aiming to homeschool is for those 2 reasons right there. Our kids will be able to see Daddy on his days off (since they are primarily week days) and if they need to stay up a little later and sleep in a little later to see him on weekdays, that won't matter because we can adjust our schedule. They won't be in school for 8 hours a day so they will have more chances to play outside, play inside using their imagination, and go to parks. With Steven's work schedule and my desire to be home, it just makes sense for us.

Hands down our favorite place to play! The local children's museum is $100 for a family membership, regardless of family size. We go a LOT! The entire place is based on learning through play.

So back to extra-curriculars. I think that homeschooling also will lend itself nicely to that as we'll have more free hours in a day, so hopefully plenty of time to be with each other, play, and diversify the kids a bit depending on their interests and abilities. However, from what I've seen activities can snowball pretty quickly, especially when you have multiple children. So my fear in signing Felicity up for lessons in something at a year and a half of age was that it might get that ball rolling. I'm aware that I'm responsible for choosing or not choosing activities, but I find them fun, too! I enjoy seeing her do new things, seeing her play with other kids, and being out of the house. But that doesn't mean I want her in lessons from now until she goes off to college. And I was kind of afraid that, if gymnastics went well, that might be where I take it!

However, after I found out I was pregnant, my gears changed a little. I really want to up our chances to bond together before the baby comes, especially since Felicity doesn't really "get it" and her whole life will be upside down for a bit. I want to make sure I fill that love tank as much as I can. And, people, she has a BIG one! She requests "huggies" probably upward of 50 times a day and that's on a slow day. So things like this- because, oh, did I not mention that it's mommy and me gymnastics???- give us an opportunity to bond in a way that won't be possible even as I near the end of the pregnancy and especially when I have a brand new baby to care for. I realized that lessons and scheduled activities just won't be practical for a bit as we all adjust, and that actually made me feel better. I think the longer we can delay that type of thing, the better- especially while she's so little. When she's 5 or so I would have no qualms about putting her in (limited) lessons if she wants. But as a toddler I want to make sure she's spending the majority of her time playing, "reading", doing crafts, and snuggling mommy and daddy! So while this type of thing will be fun, I'm glad it's short lived for now!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Baby Prep

When I was pregnant with Felicity, I felt I was busy the whole time. On top of all my pregnancy issues and worries, and a full time job, we had a nursery to prepare, registry to complete, showers to attend, doula to find, books to read.... you get the idea. By 6 weeks, I was already stocking up on gender neutral clothes since I knew we weren't finding out the sex. This time around, at 14 weeks, the most I've done is make a teeny stockpile of milk in my freezer (however, Felicity appears to be weaned so YAY for a few months of a break), and I bought a 25 cent organic romper at a thrift store. We just don't have nearly as much to do! I do think I will buy Husband Coached Childbirth because we simply don't have the funds for a doula this time around (sniff, sniff) but reading that is about all that's on the docket for the next few months, besides appointments.

Anyway, I got to thinking that as much as we needed to prepare last time by getting things done during pregnancy for the baby, I actually do this time as well; the preparation is just vastly different because it's more for our existing child or for myself. I have things to think about like who will keep Felicity when we're in the hospital (probably a variety of people, so it will take some scheduling), how to help her with the transition, putting some plans in place in case we deal with the same feeding/weight issues, and mainly how to make my life as easy as possible (ha!) with a toddler and newborn. I struggled a lot more last time than I anticipated I would, so I'm going to try to be as proactive as possible this time around. Here are a few of the things I've been thinking about and pre-planning for, and I'd love input from those more experienced moms!

  • Some back up care for Felicity once my mom leaves and Steven goes back to work. By back up care I also mean play dates because though it will be super helpful for me, I think it will be equally good for her since she's used to seeing friends a lot. We have 3 friends nearby that we primarily spend time with so I'm thinking if each one keeps her for an afternoon, and she goes to one each week, that gives me a quiet afternoon to myself with the new baby once a week for 3 weeks. Luckily my friends are pretty awesome and would likely be happy to do that and more.
  • Allllllll the freezer cooking and prep! When my mom was here last time, it was so nice that I had things in freezer bags that she could throw in the fridge one day and in the crockpot the next day. I broke my own rule on crockpot liners and we used them for a few weeks, which made clean up a cinch. We were eating home cooked meals with no one having to slave over a stove or sink. I also had things like burritos frozen for lunches. This time I want to have even more stashed since we have a deep freezer, and include breakfast items and more lunch items. It took me MONTHS to get back into the hang of cooking and I don't want Felicity (or us!) living on fast food or convenience food that long. 
  • Speaking of freezer prep, continuing to stash milk/donor milk. The biggest hurdle I had with Felicity was who is out running around for donor milk with a super brand new baby? So I ended up using formula to supplement about the first 2 weeks until my doula brought some donor milk. After that ran out, I was able to seek out/pick it up and we were good to go from there. I'm hoping to avoid formula from the get go (for at least 6 months but that's a whole other post!) so planning in advance will really help that. Luckily my sweet sister has already given me some for the deep freezer!
  • This is a total luxury and we may or may not be able to swing it, but I think we may set up a one time house cleaning a couple weeks post birth. The house should be nice and ripe by then (*shudder*) and it would take that off my plate. It would also ease things up for Steven because, while he was a huge help last time with the house for quite a while, he will primarily probably be needed to help keep life normalish for Felicity. 
  • And last, one for the new baby, "Jellybean". We aren't going to move Felicity into the other room until after the baby comes (probably 3-6 months after) so we need a space in our room for a changing table and the baby's clothes. The actual space isn't a problem because our room is pretty big, but we need to organize a bit and find a changing table/dresser for our room so I have somewhere to store all the itty bitty items!

I'm sure this list will get ridiculously longer over the next few months, but that's what I've put together so far based on my experience with Felicity as a newborn... and Felicity as a toddler haha! 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Jellybean Bumpdate: 12 Weeks

I hope this baby forgives me, but I haven't been documenting things nearly as much as I did with Felicity. I'm, of course, not any less excited- just so busy with big sister! I thought I would do a "bumpdate" at least a few times though because I like to remember some of the details.

How far along: 12 weeks

Baby Size: Size of a lime, a little over 2 inches (of cute)

Weight gain: I'm not sure but I will tell you this. I had just gotten to my pre-Felicity weight when I got pregnant, but I'm already only like 13 lbs from my highest pregnancy weight. Cue horror, panic, and anguish. I hadn't gained even an ounce by this point last time! 

Maternity clothes: Still wearing normal shirts (though my looser ones) but moved into maternity pants between 10 and 11 weeks.

Stretch marks: No. Didn't get any (and just 2 teeny ones) til the very end last time so hoping for a similar outcome but.... see above about weight gain lol.
Sleep: Not that much different than normal at night besides the added potty trips. I'm sleeper during the day because I'm taking even more progesterone than last time, which I didn't know was possible. I try to nap when Felicity does, and I've been going to bed early.

Gender: It will be a surprise again!

Movement: I swear I've felt movement 2 different times but I could just be making that up. I know you feel the 2nd one earlier but it still feels too early.

Best moment this week: Our ultrasound last Tuesday, for sure! Then announcing on facebook.

Looking forward to: The bump growing. I love having a pregnant belly :).
  Anything making you queasy or sick: I'm just generally nauseous this time around. Sometimes the mention of any food does it. 

Labor Signs: No, thank God.
What I miss: Not being jabbed with a needle twice a week ;). 
Symptoms: Typical stuff mentioned previously. And heartburn. Already. 
Nursery: Sorry 2nd baby. You'll get a nursery when big sister moves rooms a few months after you're born ;).
Belly Button in or out? In.

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Mood: Normal, and much more at peace than I was last time. I've had some worries and anxieties, but over all much more peace which has been wonderful. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dear Baby #2, Letter 2 and Letter 3

Dear Jellybean,                                                           08-01-2015

I've been putting off writing this letter because writing it makes it feel more real. Two weeks ago, I had my hcg levels drawn (about a week after the initial appointment). I called the doctor that Friday after a Monday and Wednesday draw since I hadn't heard from him. He said that my Monday level was good but that my Wednesday level had not doubled. He grimly said that he knows something is in my uterus but the next diagnostic tool is an ultrasound. At that point we had a week and a half to go (now only a few days). Daddy, myself, and Felicity were at a farm playing when he called me back, and I started crying as I told Daddy what the doctor said. We immediately began googling, and it seems as if my numbers could be completely normal. So I'm not sure why the doctor was being such a downer. My only thought is that (and he was this way with your sister, too) he wants me to be prepared for the worst since I'm at a higher risk of complications anyway. I appreciate being realistic, but would also have appreciated the knowledge that things could potentially be just fine. So of course Daddy and I have been struggling since then. During the day we're both busy and pretty positive. But quite a few evenings find us sad and upset about the possibility of losing you. I know it's not a guarantee at all, but I have had more nausea with you than with Felicity, so I'm choosing to take that as a good sign! We are praying so hard to see a heartbeat on Tuesday. And, if not, praying for peace and acceptance. We love you so much whether we meet you on this earth or not. We went ahead and had our now-traditional celebration meal at Outback (bc mommy craves ALL the meat when pregnant), and got our rosary to pray on during this pregnancy, no matter how short or long it may be. You are a member of our family no matter what, and we want to celebrate you and pray for you just like we did for Felicity.

We love you so much.


Dear Jellybean,                                                   08-10-2015

We had our appointment last Tuesday, and there you were! Our sweet little jellybean of a baby, with a flickering heart. Almost as soon as the doctor started the ultrasound, he pointed and said "there's the flutter". I signed the biggest sigh of relief. With your sister, it seemed like all those early ultrasounds took FOREVER to get an image and then even longer for the doctor to say something to let me know all was ok, so the immediate affirmation was wonderful. As I thought, you were measuring small, so we adjusted the due date by 5 days, from 3/13/16 to 3/18/16. I like even numbers and I like growing my babies as long as I can knowing you will be at least a week if not 2 weeks early, so I was happy with that. Of course my fairly severe nausea basically stopped the day after and has only returned in short, light spurts, so I'm nervous again. But, as I felt so peaceful during our 45 minute drive to the doctor as we prayed on your rosary, I feel peaceful now. I don't like to guess what that means; I just accept the peace for what it is. We get to see you again on 8/31 and I am counting down the days! Luckily we have a visit from friends and a week at the beach between now and then to help pass the time. And, as I am guessing will be the norm, your big sister keeps me so busy that the days pass fairly quickly. I am betting 2nd pregnancies, generally speaking, go by much faster than first! We love you tons and if you want to make me sick to let me know you're ok, mommy is fine with that :). Can't wait to see your sweet little arms and legs moving in a few weeks. The 12 week ultrasound will always be my favorite!


As a follow up, because I'm a horrible blogger, the 12 week ultrasound went just fine, although way too fast! The baby was measuring a bit ahead (fine by me; Felicity was tiny!) and I had to do the early glucose test so he or she was kicking and wiggling like mad! The doctor kept trying to show me the heartbeat and all I wanted to see was those limbs wiggling around. Something about this ultrasound where the baby is moving and you can see the whole thing on the screen is just amazing to me. I could have watched it all afternoon! Thank you for those of you whose prayers have gotten us to this point. I'm still kind of in shock that my body did something correctly on its own, so this is a bit surreal. Also, it's going WAY faster than my pregnancy with Felicity (probably because of that cute toddler I'm attempting to keep up with!). Hoping to blog more regularly but we all know I probably won't :P.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Dear Baby #2, Letter 1

Dear Baby,                                       07-21-2015

Boy, how things change from baby 1 to baby 2! We found out about you almost a week and a half ago, and I am just sitting down to write my first letter! Your big sister keeps us on our toes, but you can't imagine the excitement you've brought to our lives in such a short time :). You know my favorite thing about you? NO DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS TO GET YOU! Actually, I had one set up for August 3rd and it seems, like last time when I got a positive right before surgery to further explore my infertility, that my body likes a deadline. Getting to this point has been so much different than last time.... barely any stress, so much more carefree, experiencing it the way you always imagine you will! I am not taking it for granted for even one second. I kept taking tests and kept getting negatives, and just told myself that's ok; that's what I expected based on my charts. Then I skipped Friday, and took another test Saturday... and Sunday, and Monday :). The doctor got me in on Tuesday for my much needed progesterone shot (though my chart looks way better, my levels are just as bad as they were with your sister!). Daddy and I have already had fun telling family about you, and it was quite a surprise to everyone. In 2 weeks, we have an ultrasound to check on you. I'm always so nervous about that one... will there be a heartbeat? But I do feel much more at peace this time than last. I am much more easily trusting in God's plan for us, and that we will be taken care of no matter what. Of course, we want you more than anything! But I know that we will be ok. But hey, I'm your mother and my first request is that you grow a nice strong heart so we can see it beating in 2 weeks, ok? We love you so much already, even if we can't come up with a nickname for you ;).


Saturday, June 20, 2015

16 Months!

16 Month Update

You are almost 23 lbs and 30 inches! We had to pack up the infant seat that we've been using as a back up seat in Daddy's car. Still a shorty, but the big change was how much chub you've lost. You went from 75th to 43rd percentile in weight, and it shows. Your face, legs, and belly have all thinned out some. Here goes the sad (for Mommy) transition from chubby baby to big kid. We stay so busy with play dates, babysitting, book reading, crafts/sensory play, and beating the heat with water play. You keep me on my toes, and I'm so thankful for how much more I experience life now that you're in it! Here are some of my favorite things from the past month or two:

  • Most times Daddy and I take you somewhere, you hold out your hand for me, then hold out your hand for him. We walk hand in hand, our family of 3. 
  • You know SO many body parts, mostly from your love of the My First Body Board Book. Daddy and I want to rip our eyes out when you choose it for the 50th time each day, but it really has helped. You know hair, ears, eyes (mostly), nose, arms, legs, fingers, toes, hands, foot,  shoulders, elbows and belly button. Hands down your favorites are belly button and nose. 
  • You have SO many words now. Of course you are obsessed with "no" but some of my favorites are choo choo, tttt tttt (kitty), apple, blocks, flower, and quack. You say them especially sweetly. 
  • You are all about mommy right now. Mommy better not leave your sight or there will be a price to pay! If you wake up from nap and I'm gone, you are fine and happy to be with Daddy. I just can't leave while you are awake without a big melt down. It's ok; I love you, too!
  • You have always been obsessed with books, but more so recently. We read the same book up to 10 times in a row, and multiple different 'sessions' per day. It is fascinating watching you pick up things (motions, words) from books. I will do something a few times, like sway you in my lap when we read "and rock and rock and rock to sleep", and from then on you do it every time we read that book. Your brain is a sponge!
  • You are just now starting to get into your Little People, which is SO much fun for me! Daddy and I have been collecting Little People items for months (and Gammy got in on the obsession, too!) without a ton of interest from you. Now you play with your pet shop, doll house, and farm almost every day. Seeing my girl in front of her doll house is a dream come true.
  • You are becoming very opinionated and learning to find your voice. Your budding independence is trying but oh so cute! If you don't want to eat or do something, you let me know!
  • You are signing really well and pick up new signs so easily now. The ones you use the most are help, eat, more, and book. For the most part, I have to prompt you to use signs, but you use help and eat without prompting to communicate with me. 
  • On mornings where Daddy is home, the first word out of your mouth is often "Dada!". 
  • I will never get tired of you calling Buttercup "tttt tttt" (pronounced tih-tih (?) ) for kitty. However, I am beyond tired of your love of her food and water :).
  • We go on long walks with the neighbor almost every morning and you do so well hanging out in the stroller. I usually bring a snack and 1 or 2 small toys, and you hang out while we walk and chat. We let "the babies" out for the last part of the walk, and you take your sweet time picking flowers. I try my hardest not to rush you, and to just let you enjoy and explore. 
  • You say "uh huh" for yes, unless I prompt you to say yes, which I do because it sounds nicer but mostly because you say "sass" and it's so dang precious! 
I love you so much, little girl. I'm having a ton of fun watching you grow and change. Though it makes me sad how fleeting the baby days were, and I know the toddler days will go just as fast, I am loving watching the person you are becoming!!! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

On 'Enjoying Every Moment'

You know how it goes. You're in the midst of a toddler tantrum, or your newborn's witching hour, or your preschooler is exercising their independence and someone, very well intentioned I might add, tells you to enjoy it, it goes so fast, they're only little once, you'll miss this some day. You get the picture. And then you sit feeling kind of guilty that not only were you not enjoying it, but you're not about to start to because you need nap time/bed time/your husband to come home from work and relieve you from the chaos. Double guilt. The best kind.

I get stressed out by my child a lot more easily than I ever would have thought I would. It actually kind of surprises me. I don't know if it's because I want her to be happy, or everyone around us to not be annoyed, or if I'm kind of lazy... I think it's a combination of all 3. Parenting has, and continues, to show me where I need to improve, change, and grow. It has shown me how much strength I have, how to ask for help, and a love I never knew, but I see every single day ways that I need to work on myself. My child is not a problem. She's a child. A toddler. I am the problem. My sometimes-higher-than-her-developmental-age expectations are the problem. My letting society in my head that children are a nuisance or shouldn't be heard is the problem. My lack of taking 10 seconds to breath and press the restart button is the problem. So, honestly, I don't see myself enjoying the tough moments any time soon. But I don't feel like I have to enjoy them for them to bear good fruit. Those are the moments that will help me guide my daughter, that will teach me who I am and who I want to be, that will lead me to look into how I get there, and that will hopefully shave a bit of time off of purgatory ;).

But what I am working really hard on is enjoying all those other moments. I feel like I let all the in between moments go by unnoticed. The hard moments are noted very strongly. I note them to Steven as soon as he gets home from work (I'm working on that!). I note them in my head when I'm frustrated and not being the least bit productive. The good moments are noted strongly, too. Yesterday, after Felicity's nap, the weather was so nice (instead of just blaringly hot like it has been). I took her outside and she sat on my lap in the chair on the front porch and we chatted as we shared cheddar crackers and a cup of ice water. We sat that way for probably 15 minutes, my girl and me, just enjoying each other's company and a good snack. I thought to myself "this is what my dreams of having a baby are made of!". Once or twice a day, she will run up to me and hug my legs tight and during diaper changes she grabs my arm to her face for a hug. As I put her down for a nap today, she cuddled my arm up to her face and fell asleep that way. The good moments are so incredibly sweet and I savor them to the fullest, documenting as much as I can with pictures since it does go so fast.

But the in between moments, the many moments a day that aren't earth shatteringly cute or awful and trying, those are the ones I need to cultivate and pay attention to.Those are the moments that life is really made of because, in my experience, there are more of those than the good or bad. I need to work harder on finding joy in the slightly mundane, the repetition, in the normalcy. Instead of just letting those moments tick away, I need to embrace those more, notice them, feel them, and live them. I need to put the phone down and observe more. I need to sit on the floor and interact more. I need to slow down and take it all in because it really will be over much too soon. So that's what I'm working on now...surviving the tough stuff, thriving in the good stuff, and appreciating, even reveling in, all those moments in between, without any guilt for, only reflection upon, the moments that may pass me by.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Growing Too Fast

Felicity is getting so big! She is picking up signs left and right, understanding so much more of what we say, following simple instructions (well... sometimes ;) ), and is so active! She is enjoying things that are SO much fun for me, like starting to do pretend play (pushing her baby around in a stroller, pretending to drink from her play cups), coloring with crayons, and bringing me books to read all day long. She will select a book and then back up until she reaches me, and plop in my lap. I am really enjoying her love of stories! Felicity now "tickles" us by doing wiggly fingers and making a high pitched noise. She is enjoying our (almost) daily walks with the neighbors so much more than she used to, and will relax in the stroller, eat her snacks, sing and talk. At the park, she does most slides by herself (!!!) and is now trying to climb ladders...terrifying for mommy! Felicity's language seemed to explode overnight and she's picking up a new word every few days. Her current word list includes:

no no
Addie (one of the children I babysit for)
choo choo
hi baby
yucka (what I say for yuck/yucky)

There are parts of her growing up that are making me really sad, though! Even though her independence is super precious and exciting, it can also be hard sometimes. She has an opinion and doesn't always want hugs/kisses like she used to and is slowly learning to interact with other children as we struggle through age appropriate but hard things like hitting, throwing, sharing, etc. The hardest part so far, though, is self weaning. I didn't think Felicity would wean this early. In fact, I thought I would have to encourage it in the future (for fertility meds) and dreaded that day, as I have always liked the idea of baby led weaning. So, in a way, I am grateful that the process has begun. But, on the other hand, I never imagined it would start at 14 months! A little over a week ago she decided, cold turkey, that she no longer wanted to nurse to go to nap or bed at night. Those are 2 of the 3 times she nurses in a day, with the other time being when she wakes up between 4 and 5 and joins us in bed. Luckily she has not dropped that one yet, because I don't think my mommy heart could take it all at once! I'm hoping she keeps that at least a few more months. Though it's nice to have Steven be able to put her to sleep (he could before but not without me nursing her first unless I was not home), her weaning has also made the bedtime process *very* lengthy. We are trying a new routine, now that her old routine has gone out the window, but I think the combination of her quitting nursing at those times plus all the things she has going on developmentally was a recipe for disaster for bed time! Thankfully she is still sleeping well once she goes down. I'm happy to see my girl growing, healthy, and becoming independent but, man, it's also really hard! We went to baby story time today, after not having been for about 2 months due to nap time, and it became very, very apparent that my girl is a TODDLER. We will be moving up to toddler story time next week. Toddlerhood comes with a lot of hard changes, but it is also a blast. Although I can't wait until my sister has her baby (any day now!) so I have a cuddly newborn to love on again :).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Goodbye Baby; Hello Toddler

Long time no see! As you'll see below, I've been pretty busy lately. Felicity keeps me on our toes, I keep us active (for both our sanity :D), and I've picked up quite a few more babysitting hours to help our finances and give Felicity exposure to other kids. I also haven't had much inspiration to write, but hopefully that will change soon :). 

TODDLERHOOD IS HARD. I am so glad Steven and I have been (slooooooooowly) reading a parenting book for a while now, because we are already having to use some of the things we've learned! I guess I didn't expect to have issues until Felicity was closer to 2, which is probably naive since I've spent most of my adult life caring for small children in one capacity or another. But it still surprises me that at 14 months she is exerting so much independence and showing just how impulsive toddlers can be. I think it is exacerbated by the fact that she has always been ahead physically and her little brain hasn't caught up yet. I am beyond blessed with a husband who has a large say in our parenting- who wants a large say, and has been willing to do the work with me to figure out our parenting style, and then to find practical things to do or say when situations arise. We have settled on gentle/positive parenting, which is a nonviolent way of disciplining, guiding, and teaching your children. It seeks to have children behave because they want to and understand why they should, rather than out of fear or demanded compliance. The word discipline is derived from the word "disciple", so we like that positive connotation rather than the negative one it usually carries. I need not mention that, like all parents, I'm sure we will struggle and falter along the way, but having a framework to work from has already proven helpful to us. I have found so many great resources that fit how we'd like to parent/are learning to parent, so I thought I would share some of them here in case they might help someone else along in their parenting journey:

Aha! Parenting is probably my favorite and, though it can become an overwhelming rabbithole, pretty much addresses anything you could ever want to know from infancy through the teenage years. I have already gotten so many ideas from this site! I signed up for their emails, too, and some I delete because they don't apply, but some have great tips and reminders.  

This blog post only addresses throwing (our current target behavior), but the principle they use to deal with throwing can apply to so many other behaviors. As we learned in the social work world, all behavior is communication. I particularly find practical, hands on (rather than ideological) ideas helpful. Giving me things to say and do in a given situation, from a gentle framework, is so helpful to us as parents who are in that very frustrating moment with an impulsive toddler. Instead of sitting there trying to think of how to react or, worse, reacting poorly because we *don't* think, we can take a statement directly from this post. That's not to say that's how it always happens, of course, but it's a vast improvement on not having any practical ideas in our tool kit! 

Janet Lansbury's site is a bit harder to navigate but is also really helpful with ideas and, what I really love, information on development (cognitive, social, emotional, etc). It's easy to think your kid is a jerk if you don't know what's going on and why, and this website helps you to realize what things they are lacking at various ages, what things they're gaining, and how you can help them. 

And last, L. R. Knost is my favorite book resource. She has lots of great stuff online, and on her facebook page too, but her book (The Gentle Parent) is what we are going through slowly and is actually in 3 parts with one being a workbook to help us, which I'm really excited about getting to.

Last but not least, the cutie pie who inspired this post!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Year In: How Are We?

As you may have noticed ;), the last year of this blog... ok the last year and oh... 9 or so months, have been largely BABY BABY BABY. I thought I'd write a bit about how Steven and I are doing, especially since I've written a lot about what a hard adjustment I/we had to parenthood. A year later, I'm happy to report, I almost feel like we're doing better than ever. There was a lot of struggle and hard work to get to this place, but I am so happy we're in it, and I'm going to enjoy it as long as it lasts (read: probably until next pregnancy/baby lol). 

Our initial struggles, as expected, revolved around adjusting to being parents and lack of sleep. We were snippy, exhausted, and learning way more than we were capable of retaining in our dazed states. Not to say we couldn't use more sleep still, but we are getting a LOT more sleep now and it makes us much more rational and forgiving of each other. Later, we struggled financially. We were dealing with the loss of about 40% of our income (since I quit my job to stay home) and going through our savings very quickly. I began to search for babysitting jobs and for months it seemed as not much panned out. I began praying about it (I really suck at that sometimes), and more babysitting jobs than I could handle began falling into my lap. Between that income and our tax return, we've been able to replenish our savings a bit as well as stay afloat of those things that don't fit into our budget (medical bills, etc). And we've mostly figured out how to actually meet our budget after lots of hard work and cutting out as much as we could. We went from feeling deprived and frustrated to realizing just how much we have and how lucky we are we can make this work, and that attitude shift has really raised our happiness level! It will require constant hard work and attention, but it's a great team building activity because neither of us can do it alone (we both have to be on board). When we do poorly, we have to work together to figure out what to improve and how, and when we do well we get to celebrate that together. 

We've brought faith back to the forefront of our life, which somewhat got put on a back burner when we were just merely surviving. We're back to praying the rosary, novenas occasionally, praying before meals, and encouraging each other to stay connected to our faith in whatever way is best for us right now. We figured out a month or two ago that Felicity is much less of a beast if we wear her during Mass and, though I still have to focus on her a lot of the time, that has really helped me to catch snippets of Mass. Luckily the grace is there whether I can pay attention or not! When my parents visit, we leave her with my mom during Mass and that gives us a chance to absorb and enjoy; a nice treat! Our faith lives look different still than they did a year ago and I imagine they will for quite some time, but we're at least focusing on it now and that feels really refreshing!

Probably the hardest thing for us was feeling like we lost "us"; the things that we enjoyed as a couple basically stopped for a while. We didn't have time for cooking fun meals, or energy for hobby dates (me scrapbooking, him working on a game), I couldn't stay awake through shows or movies, Steven was getting home too late for family walks, on Steven's days off we were focused on the baby or on catching up on things that needed to be done... the list goes on. For quite a while, we didn't go on dates, which we did probably weekly until Felicity was born. We did go on a date when Felicity was about 3.5 months old because we were on a family vacation and my parents watched her. That was lovely and SO needed. When she got older, closer to 7 or so months, we began switching date nights with our neighbor, which is the only way we can afford a date night! That has been so amazing for us because it makes for a cheap night out and we fully trust them to watch her, plus their house and family is really familiar to Felicity. It is seriously a dream come true, and the time for ourselves once a month or so is wonderful! We've slowly added back in things that we used to do pre-baby, like board game nights. We haven't had a chance to go to the movies at all since she was born, but we've had some fun movie nights at home where we go to Target for the popped popcorn, grab a red box, and watch a movie after she goes to bed. It's not the same, but it's special and helps us reconnect as best friends and spouses, rather than as parents. We are currently reading a book about remaining spouses after baby and, though it's geared towards couples during pregnancy, it's brought up some good discussion for us about what we are doing well at and ways we can improve. 

All the little things that were identifiers of us as a couple changed- even the things we were adamant wouldn't change. Steven and I are huge cuddlers. My love language is physical touch and his is quality time, so cuddling meets both those needs perfectly. We used to lie in bed for hours cuddling and talking. Every night when we went to bed, we'd cuddle, sometimes talking and sometimes silent, until we got comfortable to go to sleep. When we watched shows on the couch, we'd cuddle. Anyways, this was one thing we talked about during pregnancy that we didn't want to change. But that was when we thought our baby would sleep in the cosleeper. Once she joined us in bed, a decision we both thought was best, our cuddling quickly went to almost 0. During the times where she was on the outside of me and Steven would try to cuddle, I was just too touched out. Imagine that- physical touch as a love language and still I was touched out. Once we picked out a few new shows on Netflix, we were able to add some couch cuddling back into our lives. After Felicity moved to her bedroom a little over a month ago, our cuddling quota has been and continues to be filled. It's amazing what a good hug can do for your marriage! 

So here we are, a year later, and though "us" has changed, we both feel very content and like we've gotten each other back. It's been a wonderful and also trying year, and we've grown so much as a couple through all of it. I feel like we're stronger than we were, that we understand each other and our needs more, and that we love each other and respect each other so much more than we did just a year ago. There were times I thought we might never feel like we used to. And in a way, we don't, but this really is better. The dynamic of coparenting is so different when you're used to just being spouses, but it can also be really enriching once you come out of the trenches of the newborn and infant days. There's always room for improvement, though! Next on our list is taking an overnight trip at some point- just one night probably, but mommy's not quite ready for that yet ;). 

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Sleep..... ah, elusive sleep! I feel like this is one of those blog posts that needs a gigantic disclaimer from the first sentence.

Disclaimer: This post is for me to read in the future as a reminder and encouragement in the style of parenting we've chosen. It is not directed towards any of my readers nor is it meant to be a judgement of anyone. 

Carry on :).

Steven and I knew from before our baby was born that we would not practice the "cry it out" method, nor any of its cousin-methods (graduated cry it out, etc). It feels wrong to our core, being that we really believe in gentle and attachment parenting. We also read all the research (which I will not link here because, again, persuading isn't the intent of my post) which confirmed what felt right to us. However, as much as we knew we would not use cry it out, we didn't particularly know what we would use. I was later introduced to a group called the Wait It Out method which is pretty much what it sounds like- waiting out whatever the baby is dealing with be it sleep regressions, developmental milestones, sickness, teeth, all the things that affect sleep, the vast majority completely out of baby's control. It introduced me, and therefore Steven, into gentle ways to handle sleep experiences. I don't say issues or problems because how our baby sleeps is how our baby sleeps. We don't expect her to be convenient, nor do we feel the need to train her. What we do is help her along when we feel she's ready for another step or something different.

But I'm getting ahead of myself! I basically want to document what her first year of sleep was like in one place (though of course I can't go through all the details) so that I can look back on this for the next baby, because there are definitely moments where you think it won't end, and you wonder if you're doing it all wrong, but I feel completely and peace with and happy with where our line of thought has taken us as we completed her first year. 

In the newborn days and up through a few months old, I never tried to put Felicity on any type of schedule. I did form a routine, but she basically just slept when she was tired. She figured out night vs day at about week 5 and I would say those 5 weeks were the hardest of all. But everything I read said she would likely have it down by 6 weeks and I did the things it suggested, like lots of outdoor time during the day, and dim lighting in the evening. She developed her own sleep schedule, which has always been flexible, but I could generally predict about when she would be tired based on when she woke up. And it worked and she was an amazing sleeper at night and decent through the day (with lots of car naps which we both enjoyed!)... until the 4 month sleep regression. For quite a few months after that, she would wake more and more. This is how we ended up going from cosleeping (same room) to bed sharing (same bed). It made our lives SO MUCH EASIER. Once I was past the point of pumping at night/Steven giving her a bottle, no one had to get out of bed, and I barely had to wake. I'd latch her on and go back to sleep any time she woke up. (Of course I have to stop and mention that there are safety guidelines to adhere to when bedsharing. Google them!) Her day time naps were pretty short, but I just followed her lead. 

When she was 6 or 7 months old, I decided to see if she was ready to move to her room for naps. She was not ready. I know some people would suggest that if you want them to sleep in their room, you make that happen, but there was no gentle way to go about that for her. I tried the ways I knew, they did not work, and that's how I knew she wasn't ready. So back to our bed full time she went. Honestly, we were ok with that. A minor inconvenience as far as cleaning our room/putting away laundry/etc went? Sure. But not a huge deal. 

As Felicity got closer to a year, she was waking up quite a bit. Here is where I add that spousal support is not just helpful, but necessary. We had a routine where I put her down, Steven helped her back to sleep any time between her bed time and ours, and then he'd help during the night if I requested. I knew that it wasn't all hunger based, so we decided to see if she was open to Steven comforting her some of the time. Sometimes she was and sometimes she wasn't. So we took turns comforting her/getting her back to sleep and also sleeping in when both of us were home. This is what kept us sane and having the other person on board (especially on the really tough nights!) is what made it work. If one of us was particularly frustrated, a simple reminder that she's a baby, that it won't last forever, and of why we were doing what we were doing was all we needed to get back on board. 

Shortly before Felicity's birthday, I sensed she might be ready to try her own room again. She was beginning to wake at new times- when we came to bed, when Steven got up for work (4:30 or 5am) and when he would leave (6-6;30am). She also quit nursing completely to sleep all on her own. She would nurse, then unlatch and either play a bit and go to sleep or roll over and go to sleep. That led me to believe that she might be ready for her own space where she wouldn't have disturbances and no longer needed the comfort of nursing all the way to sleep. I knew from mini trials in between 6-7 months and now that she wasn't open to being put in a crib because she's never been lowered in before so that sensation was totally weird for her. So I turned the crib into a toddler bed for my 11 month old. I was a bit nervous but we rolled some blankets under the sheet as a bit of a block from rolling out and put padding on the floor. Felicity did wonderfully at night but it was horrible during the day. She was so upset and fought it pretty hard. So I figured she wasn't quite ready for naps to take place there yet and went back to putting her down in our bed. After she had night time mastered (about a week), I started doing naps there again and she took right to it. I nurse her before naps and bed, give her a kiss and hug (she hugs me back every time!) and tell her I'm going to lay her in her big girl bed. There are times where Felicity cries when it's time to take a nap or go to sleep and I rub her back and comfort her through it. But there's a huge difference in her cry because she's sad she has to go to sleep/stop playing and being distraught at sleeping in a different place or not ready for a transition. I've gotten pretty good at distinguishing those sounds over the past year and know which ones mean "back off; I'm not ready!" and which ones I can love and comfort her through.  She's always slept about a total of 12 hours (7-7), but many nights now she is sleeping 8-10 of those straight through. She comes to our bed around 5am, which is fine with us because we miss her! :) 

We are really, really happy with our decision to let her needs guide what we did regarding sleep. There were times that it was really tough, but the incredibly smooth transitions help us to know that we did what was right for her and us. We listened to her needs, met them, and she let us know when she was ready for the next step. There were times where one of us would say "the next baby is at least going to nap in the crib!"- and maybe they will! All babies are different- but overall our gut feeling is that the baby is going to let us know what she or he needs, that we will survive, that parenthood isn't supposed to be easy or convenient, that we can take turns sleeping in or napping on the really rough days, and that, like with Felicity, transitions will not be an epic battle if we follow his or her cues. 

Things aren't perfect now and probably will never be (well, until she's past the age of needing us after nightmares, wetting the bed, etc... but then we'll be up waiting for her to get home at night!) as she goes through more milestones, gets more teeth, wakes up because she has to poop :P, and the tons of other things that can disturb sleep, but we feel like we're on a good path and definitely want to stay on it for the next baby. I know there will be the added complexities of having a toddler/preschooler (well, God willing anyway she won't be much older than that) and a baby with a whole new personality, and THAT is why I want to have this blog post to read back on, remember how we let our instincts and our baby guide us, and how happy I felt after a year of doing that! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Letter to My One Year Old

My baby girl,

You are 1. YOU ARE ONE! What a year it has been. Do you know what song was playing when you came into the world? I brought my Matt Maher cd to the hospital, and Daddy gave it to the nurse at one point when labor was getting particularly rough. She put it on and it was on track 10 "Christ Is Risen" when you came into this world. The lyrics were not lost on me. Well, they were at the time, but not when I was reflecting on everything later. Here's one part of the song:

"Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he's alive! he's alive!"

You were born into this world completely quiet and still. You had an apgar of 1 initially and gave us quite a scare. I remember laying there as the nurses were suctioning you and giving you oxygen, trying to get you to respond, thinking "God, please don't take this baby away from me after all the work we put into getting her here" and calling out to you "Baby, mommy wants to hear you cry!" over and over, trying to keep it together. The doula was rubbing my shoulder, looking really concerned, and Daddy was standing towards the foot of the bed (since he helped deliver you) looking petrified and staring at the nurses and the doctor who had rushed in. But a few minutes later, you let out a cry and didn't stop for an hour! It was the sweetest sound! And you have been vivacious and full of life since that first cry. You "came awake" and a fire was lit within you that is still blazing! 

Felicity, you are confident, determined, and go after what you want until you get it. You are alert and have been since you were just a few weeks old. You don't miss much! You are the best kind of challenge :). I have to work hard to keep up with you, both physically and mentally, because you love to be on the go! It may be infuriating some days (right now as I type this, you are insistent on pressing computer keys!), but it will serve you well in life. You live life so beautifully, doing everything with your all. What lessons most of us could learn from watching you play or attempt a new skill!

You are also a very sensitive and deeply feeling baby. As painful as this can be sometimes, I hope it's a trait you never lose. Things that other babies don't blink at are heart breaking for you. It causes you to "check in" with Mommy often. You crawl into my lap for a quick snuggle and then you're back to whatever you were doing. The combination of your determination and your sensitivity is going to be a lot for you to shoulder, but will turn you into the most amazing person as you grow. I hope one day your sensitivity turns into compassion for others, and I have no doubt that it will. 

You give the SWEETEST kisses. All I have to say is "can I have a kissy?" and you pelt my face with open mouth kisses over and over and over. I will be so sad the day you grow out of that. When you're trying to avoid going to sleep, you tilt your chin up at me for a kiss and do it about 10 times before finally realizing it won't get you out of bedtime :). You reach your arms up for me to hold you or pick you up, which is so heart melting. When you first wake up, I get calm, quiet snuggles that I know I likely won't get the rest of the day when you're wiggling and crawling around. When I nurse you to sleep, you usually kick, turn, or try to play with my bellybutton (so awkward!) as you wind down, but then you cuddle against me, tummy to tummy, for the best snuggles and your eyes drift closed. It's still one of my favorite parts of the day. 

I haven't taken to motherhood as easily or as gracefully as I would have wished. Sometimes I think "maybe I'm better with school aged kids?". I think about how easy life was before you. But you know the thought that prevails? How amazing my life is now that you're in it, and how much love I have for you. I've never known this kind of love before and it is joyfully overwhelming. Some days after I've already spent hours upon hours with you, no doubt many of them with you clinging to my legs refusing to entertain yourself for even 10 minutes, you do something cute and my heart melts to mush as I fawn over the sweet little person that you are. Sometimes in the grocery store, you keep clapping or 'dancing' as we shop and I have to stop right there in the aisle and kiss your little rosy cheeks and your sweet little lips. Daddy can take you out for a few hours to give Mommy some "me time", and 30 minutes in I'm anxiously waiting for him to bring my baby girl back. My life will never be the same, nor would I ever want it to be. You're the person who has taught me to become a mother. You will continue to teach me how to be patient, how to put others before myself, and you will show me the things about myself that I want to improve upon. You teach me, day after day, to die to self and live for another. I'm a different person, a better person, because of you. 

I can't wait to see what you'll do in your second year, and who you'll become. I'll know you'll be even more busy this year as you continue to learn new skills, but don't count on me kissing you or hugging you any less :). 

Love, Mommy