January 1, 2017

Welcome to 2017!

Ah, the new year. I love that it feels like a brand new slate. A way to start over and have a whole new experience. Thinking about that, I have decided to set both a broad theme word(s) for the year as well as a few, seemingly achievable goals. I think I would like to have some monthly goals as well, probably just actions I want to work on (cooking more, deep cleaning, etc.) or just activities I want to do (zoo, aquarium, etc.). I need a place to be accountable, so here I am!

I don’t remember if I had a specific word for 2016, but looking back, I would say ‘explore’ is a pretty accurate word. We explored more deeply the world of parenting for a full year, visited many new places, particularly Seattle & Alaska, and I explored managing a small business with my busiest season yet. 2016 involved many, many learning experiences in a variety of different areas of my life.

It was truly a year of growth for me, so with 2017, I am planning for my ‘resolution’ to be balance & intentional. My wedding season is blossoming and I am SO grateful for that! But I have learned through this year that I definitely need balance and focus. Balance for my family and just time to myself. I also want to be more intentional - with my words, my promises, my thoughts. I think I need to make pretty signs and hang them somewhere I will see them daily.

Balance & Intentional

Year 2017 goals:
- To exercise more than last year (which shouldn't be too hard!)
- To read 15 books this year

January 2017 goals:
- Read one book
- Exercise
- Post Arwen's 18 month post!

June 6, 2016

Arwen's First Birthday Party!

The day after your real birthday, we celebrated with family. It was a great, warm day full of love and laughter. Especially when you found you could crawl on top of the gifts...
You were sick with an ear infection (you went to the doctors on your actual birthday), so you weren't your really happy self, but enjoyed walking around. Of course, you were also late to the party since you napped until an hour after it started! 

Happy First Birthday, Arwen!! We love you and will take any day we can to celebrate you. We hope this next year will be full of great fun and surprises and that you continue to grow strong and healthy. 

June 3, 2016

Arwen Mae - 12 Months

My beautiful baby girl, you have been outside of my body for one whole year and as everyone says, the year has flown by but at the same time, I can't believe you haven't been in our lives for years. 

You had watermelon for the first time and loved it. You started refusing to be fed, so now you are just eating what we eat and it is pretty convenient. Your favorite food is cheese hands down. If anything has cheese on it, you will gobble it right up. 

Your hair is growing so fast and can actually be put into pigtails now!! 

My first official mother's day and you were just so fun to hang out with. I absolutely love watching you grow and learn and come back to snuggle me. :)

The past three months
A whole year of Arwen

I can't put into words just how grateful and blessed we are to have you as our first child. You are the perfect meld of your daddy and I and we love you so so very much. You make me laugh on a daily basis and certainly test your limits whenever you can. We love you sweet girl. Continue being silly and playful and independent. <3

May 12, 2016

Arwen Mae - 11 Months

What a big month! You have gotten even more comfortable pulling yourself up and you are now letting go and standing for a while. You can also bend down and pick something up while still holding on to furniture. You also can get down from standing much more gracefully. 
This is the first toy you really snuggled. I'm pretty convinced you only snuggle toys because I make such a big deal out of it, but it is just so cute! This little seahorse's belly lights up and plays soothing music. 

You love being silly. If anyone laughs, you laugh right along too. We were eating at a restaurant and someone sitting next to us started laughing and so did you! 

A typical day - you in your high chair, smiling at us, food all over your face. You have gotten a lot better at eating and you loooove string cheese (in small bits of course). For everything else, when you are tired of it, you will drop it on the floor for Moose to eat. With string cheese, if you lose a piece, you will search for it! 

Snippets from our Washington DC trip. It was your first plane ride and you did well considering we were stuck in the plane waiting to take off for an hour. On the flight back home, we tried to get in an earlier flight, but that early flight was cancelled, so we ended up on a 9pm flight. You were super good for that as you took a bottle and fell asleep. I got cuddles, you got sleep. Win.Win :)

I can't believe how big you are getting. You are truly turning into a toddler and I'm not going to lie, I do miss my squishy baby. I so wish I could go back in time (but with less hormones, please) and hold you, sleeping, on my chest. Those first few months are just so rough, but full of so many incredible moments/memories. This age, though, this age is so fun and amazing and all the things I thought about being a mother. I hope you know, Arwen Mae, you are always loved. 

And a GIF for your viewing pleasure: 

April 28, 2016

This is why I document

This article hit me right in the heart. So true. [Copying in case the link breaks at some point]

Last night, I sat down to do something I get to about once every six weeks. It was a journal entry for my 8-month-old daughter. I bought the leather-bound beaut when she was about 8 weeks old, didn’t write my first entry in it until 12 weeks, and it’s been sporadic. But it’s very special to me. Some of the pages reveal dried up tears from the early days when I would wax poetic about life and love to her.
Every entry starts the same. A brief rundown of what she’s up to, some stats on her size, sleep, and eating patterns. And then… the tears. “I want you to know that no matter what you do, whom you love, where you go, I will always have your back.” Or these words I almost choked while writing last night: “I am always your mom first, before I am anything else. You will be many things before my daughter — you will have days, weeks, stretches of time where you want and need to push my aside. But darling girl, I will wait.”
Inevitably, I always end up in tears by the end of the entries and I think that’s okay. I also rarely get a chance to put pen to paper and that’s also okay. Because as a mom, I’m busy. My plate is full. But even in the stress, among the piles of dishes and laundry, the unmet deadlines I have to cram in after she’s in bed and my husband is tucked in to a deep slumber, it’s all okay. Because now I’m a mommy. And my heart is so full.
In the early days, I blamed the hormones. But the more I get to know my daughter, the weepier I become about her. First time she slept through the night? Amazing. And sad. First time I felt teeth cutting through her gums? Relief. And sadness. Crawling, and now standing up on her own… I am beaming through the tears. Last weekend my husband and I realized — to his delight and my terror — that we have to start planning her first birthday.
And so it continues. On toward the next new development with a heart that is so overflowing, it sometimes feels heavy. That’s the best way to describe it. Yes, there are hard days and stressful moments. But the essence of motherhood is what keeps me going through it all. What keeps me waking up and going to bed with a grateful spirit. Because now that I’m a mommy, I’m the sappiest, most sentimental person I know.
I love the way she waves at me (and the world), massive eyes full and bright and seeking. I confess I hold her too long after she’s fallen asleep in my arms. In the kitchen, my husband is cooking dinner and I should go. But I need five more minutes, okay, make that six. Or ten. To hold her and be still with her, watch the rising and falling of her chest.
I feel guilty when I’m taken away from her, whether it’s to work or do something for myself. Not guilty because she’s spending time with her father, a family member, or a trusted sitter. Guilty because within moments of the sweet release, my unfettered feet hitting the pavement, the warm sun on my face and my arms free to carry a purse, or a coffee, instead of a child, it hits me. Something’s missing.
I confess I spend too much money on her. Buying things she doesn’t understand or appreciate because we can’t yet communicate about any material possessions she might desire. I’ll have to curb the spending when she’s older, and no, she doesn’t need yet another hair bow or pair of fancy shoes, or noise-making toy. But I splurge from the corners of my wallet every extra ounce I can squeeze out. Because I want her to have things that she can look back on and remember with the same kind of sentimentalism I will.
I confess to putting her before you. Yes, that’s right, if you are reading this, my daughter comes before you. I will whip a boob out in public to feed her and I don’t care what you think about it. I will stop what I’m doing to care for her even if that means your text messages go unanswered for hours or days. I will cancel our plans if her nap or mood doesn’t allow it. Does that mean it’ll always be this way? Of course not, she’s a baby. But! When her needs become less permeating and more spread out, it will still be true in a way. Because when she’s 13 and she gets her period on her skirt at school, I will drop everything to figure out a solution for her. And ditto when she’s 22 and gets evicted because her roommate forgot to pay the rent. And if she has her own children someday, forget it. I’ll be there every step of the way.
You see, now that I’m her mother, I’m a lovesick, pathetic creature. I’m strong, smart, and capable in the real world. But for her, I’m just melted wax. The thought of her, now sleeping quietly in the next room, fills my hurt to bursting. I confess it’s just too much. I’ll keep writing in that journal, when I’m not bent over my computer working, or my kitchen sink doing her dishes, or the side of the tub fishing out her precious toys. When I get the fleeting moments to jot down how I feel about her, I’ll do it. So she’ll know. But I’ll never forget. When I’m old and gray and looking back on life, I’d rather have the memories to show for it, than nothing at all. 
The thought that she’ll one day pick up and leave me reduces me to tears. Yes, there are a few rolling down my cheeks right now. But even if there was only one letter, not a journal full, I’d just want her to remember this: “…no matter what you do, whom you love, where you go, I will always have your back.” And I will always, always love her. More than anyone else ever could.
Read more: Confessions of a Sentimental, Sappy Mom http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/552187-confessions-sentimental-sappy-mom/#ixzz47Aa4qLkv 
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April 10, 2016

Arwen Mae - Ten Months

Last month, it was a little difficult to come up with some developments and new things that you did, but apparently you were just going through a growth spurt because you learned SO many new things this month! In fact, one day, I looked down and you were just crawling! I called to daddy and we just watched in amazement as you just made your way across the room. I wonder if you knew how to crawl this whole time, but was just waiting for the right moment. 

We'll start with the sad news of the month. You had your first ear infection. You had a cold and that morning, you woke up from a nap and just wouldn't stop screaming. We called urgent care, but the next available appointment wasn't for another 1.5 hours, so we walked around the house for that 1.5 hour timeframe. Note, you are about 25 pounds. This picture was right before we left. 

As mentioned, you pull up on everything! You constantly go between Moose's chair, to the window, to the couch, to Moose's crate. We are certainly chasing you around now and once you start walking, we will really be chasing you! Also, you have enough hair for the cutest ponytail/spout on the top of your head! 

It was your first Easter! We went to Church, then Gram W., then Uncle G & Aunt M's house. You did really well and loved showing off your dress. I mean... I loved showing off your beautiful dress. 

I also celebrated my first birthday as a mother! Is that a milestone? We celebrated by going to The Butterfly Place with Aunt K & Uncle B and your cousin. It was really warm, but very cool! You loved watching the butterflies zoom about. I loved trying to take pictures of the butterflies zooming about ;) It was really wonderful to spend the day with you and I hope to make that a tradition - Mommy and Arwen day. 

Arwen, this stage is amazing. You learn new things every day and you are developing SUCH a little personality. One day you came home and all of a sudden you would scrunch your nose and blow out/in through your nose and smile (I should get a video!) and although I probably shouldn't encourage it, I joined in. It was just too cute! You are getting into that stage where if we laugh, you laugh and if you do something that makes us laugh, you will do it over and over. 

This stage is also terrifying because you fall all the time! Even if I am right there, you sometimes just fall right over and I feel so bad! I know, you'll get bumps and bruises and I can't keep you in bubble wrap, but just know that when you get that bump or bruise, I'll be here to wipe away the tears and distract you. Usually with food. 

A little behind the scenes for you! Now that you move all over the place, I can't do these alone! Also, we got new couches. 

March 5, 2016

Arwen Mae - Nine Months

It was nearly impossible to get you to look at me and make sure you weren't going to fall off the couch, so this picture was the best I was going to get this month. Photographer mommy will just have to deal with it.

Many fun and exciting firsts this month! You went sledding and absolutely loooooved it. We got a video, but I just haven't been able to find time to edit it. I will post it when I can, but here is an action shot in your sled. Daddy was a trooper pulling you all around the yard!

It was your first Valentine's Day and we had a mini photo shoot! We actually had two - one with your cousin as it was around her first birthday. You two are going to have so much fun growing up together. I am so glad you will have a cousin friend. 
When trying to remember all the things you did, I forgot to mention in your little picture update that we found you love balloons. You will hold them, look at them, bounce them, let go and watch them. We'll have to make sure you have some for your birthday, which is coming up entirely TOO SOON. 

You also love to read books. It quiets you down most of the time and you are now fully invested in flipping pages for us. Sometimes too much excitement and you just want to turn all of the pages! As I mentioned in your photo update, you love to go into carts. You just kick your legs and look around. 

 Arwen, I love these moments and I am trying to treasure them and soak them in as much as I can. I know I won't always be able to say or do things that will make you laugh. In fact, I'm sure I'll get an "Oh Mom, stop embarrassing me" one of these days, so for now, I will tickle your cute, round belly and say things like "Are you eating your sock?!" with an incredulous tone and dance around singing the I've-got-a-naked-baby song just because these little things won't last. I'll always be your Momma and I'll always be there for you and I really hope that I will at least be able to lessen the pain of future heartaches. I live for your smiles and giggles baby girl.