slow

Every year, December blows by faster and faster. I have an ornament from childhood that counts down into Christmas and I remember checking it multiple times during the day, agonizing about the days not passing quickly enough. 

This year, I have to move the countdown clock several days at a time because I have forgotten for so long. I find myself praying for time to pass slowly. I crave family time with all three of us. We’ve had great weather for walks, lots of grocery shopping, some Christmas parties, and as many lazy Saturday mornings as we can get.

Our baby girl is more than half a year old, wants to stand all the time, and can sit or crawl and switch between the two. She babbles about “dadadada” and stares at people to try to get them to notice her (social skills will come later, I hope.). 

She doesn’t much like sleeping on the couch with me or in my arms, but prefers her crib. Snuggles are quick between standing to face one way and switching to the other. Right now, Everly is a little bit sick so she’s snoozing in my lap and I’m soaking it up as Christmas music plays in the background, knowing these sweet moments are few and will only be fewer each year until they are gone. 

Please, let this year… this season… this weekend be slow.

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seven

Little Bear,

You are both very small and very strong. At your 6 month doctor appointment, the doctor couldn’t stop exclaiming about how much you move already. We took you on a carousel and while your cousins took seats in the carts, we went for it and put you on one of the moving horses. You loved it. 

We got to celebrate our first Thanksgiving with you, made even more special because we were in the house I grew up in and you got to meet my extended family.

You’ve tried all manner of new foods and you don’t turn your nose up every time it’s not cereal. In a manner of seconds, you can find the one tiny piece of paper on the floor, crawl over to it, and try to stuff it in your mouth. (Including one time that you crawled under my chair at dinner, peeled a sticker off, and then ate it.)

I can’t believe you’re closer to a year old than you are a newborn. Your dad keeps reminding me that you’re going to grow up and it’s so hard for me to believe. I can’t wait for you to play by yourself and, in the same moment, I love your clingy cries for me to hold you. (Even if those cries often sound like you’re saying, “Dada.”)

I am so excited to celebrate your first Christmas. You’re my very favorite girl and I can’t believe we every had life without you.

thanks

Last year, I was 16 weeks pregnant and we were excited to tell my family Baby Huey was on the way. This year, we brought our little peanut to meet everyone – great grandparents, aunts, uncle’s, and cousins. 

Our travel day was long because we willingly took an infant to New York City on the busiest travel day of the year. #oops But after 4 hours on a plane and 5 in the car, we pulled up to my childhood home just hours before Thanksgiving dawned. 

Today I’m thankful for so many things. Our sweet family of three and the small sweet moments on weekends and early mornings. I love when Tucker sings to Everly in the morning and pretending to tango with her before we go to daycare. 

I’m thankful for Tucker’s family who watch her for long days every Wednesday, take sweet pictures, and put her in for her first Corvette ride. She has faraway aunts and uncles who send her sweet, silly gifts and FaceTime often to stay in touch.

We’ve gotten so many sweet moments even today – meeting her cousins for the first time, rocking with Great-Granny while she sings sweet Scottish tunes, and special moments walking with Grandpa and dreaming about someday Saturday breakfast dates. 

I’m thankful for dozens of pseudo-aunts and uncles for Everly who get her little gifts on a whim, hold her close, and love her and all of us well. 

Above all, we’re thankful for the God who has given us all this – an abundant life, above and beyond what we could have ever asked for or imagined.

tuesday

Whoa. Apparently 6 months is blog time. So many posts. Maybe it’s because Everly is actually sleeping so I’m feeling a little less foggy these days. 

Tuesdays have always been my least favorite day. At camp, Tuesday doesn’t have the excitement of the first day and you’re not even to the halfway mark. No one knows each other and it’s always a Tuesday when the toilet gets clogged. I’m convinced it always snows on Tuesday. 

Tuesday also means saying goodbye to the little girl and missing bed time until Thursday. We get a little morning time together between wake up and drop off, but not much so after Tuesday, I know I’ll have to reintroduce myself on Thursday. 

I love what I get to do and I’m thankful that I get to do it just another thing that makes Tuesday so hateable.

Also, side note, the face Everly is making in this picture is my favorite face that she makes.

sutherland springs

This weekend a small town – not unlike the one I grew up in – and a very small church – also not unlike the one I grew up in – were shattered with senseless violence. There’s blame to be placed and politics to be talked about, but tonight all I feel is sadness.

I think a lot about the world our little girl will grow up in and the training she needs to make good choices and the right friends and to find Jesus and stick with him as the only thing that works. Tucker and I talked about helping the girl have healthy fear – aware of the danger of the cats claws without being afraid of animals. Or aware of the sin nature of all people, but not afraid to love and take care of others who are different.

There’s just so much to be afraid of in the world. So many what ifs and unexpected loss and big guns.

Tonight we’ll pray for people we don’t know in a city that we’ll never visit because that’s our plan. Trust God and ask him for what we can’t accomplish ourselves.

six

Little bear, 

Every time I’ve seen someone post a 6 month picture, it says something about time flying. When you were weeks old and we were feeding you every three hours, that seemed impossible. The days felt endless, then all of a sudden you were a month… then three… now six.

This month, you tried some new foods – apples, butternut squash. We can’t just set you on the floor anymore because you move around the room. You’ve had a runny nose all month and chew on everything (including feet, the cat, and cups. so many cups). I heard your giggle for the first time in the swing, you got your first fall snow, and we went to the mountains for elk bugles.

We celebrated your first Halloween with Boo on Briggs and a party with your daycare friends. We went to the pumpkin patch and you went on a hayride. You went to your first friend birthday party and wedding number 5.

You can sit up for a bit at a time and I subjected you and your dad to a lot of Yankees playoff baseball. We entered you to win the Gerber baby contest (haven’t heard, but we’re hoping!) and sleep training has been a bear, but it seems to be paying off after 2 weeks of not sleeping. 

I can’t believe we’ve been sleep deprived and nursing and changing diapers (some with real poop!) for half a year. And in the middle of it all, we are so thankful we’ve gotten to see your sweet smile every morning and kiss your sweet cheeks every night for six months. 

I can’t believe we ever had life without you and we love you more than you could imagine.

saturday

We have upstairs toys, downstairs toys, diaper bag toys, and car seat toys (not to mention a whole host of Grandmomma and Pappy toys). And Carl. The bunny. He goes everywhere he’s needed.

Downstairs there is the ferris wheel thingy, the clicky spiral thing, and playmat. In the diaper bag are rings, polka dot paper, and keys. But upstairs. That’s where the toys are most creative. 

There’s a plastic cup from the coffee shop down the street (we trek for a new one every week), the bright blue Puffs tissue box with a stingray and puffer fish (Puffs, if you would not discontinue this design for a few years, we would be grateful), rings, and a scarf with colorful handprints. 

My favorite moments have been weekend mornings when we have nowhere to go and the three of us get ready slowly, lounging in jammies and playing in bed with our eclectic collection of toys. There’s a sweetness to the time together while we try to soak in all of the limited family time we get, delaying the start of the day as much as possible. 

I want to be more protective of these fleeting moments, holding my little family close and keeping their priority high. 

Saturday morning? 

Sorry, we’re busy.

dishes

We’ve had all sorts of sweet milestones in the last few weeks. Sleeping for 10 hours, first food (rice cereal in September then bananas, avocado, pears, and sweet potatoes) to loving food, bouncing, moving in her walker, real scooting, and sitting for longer than a couple seconds by herself. We’ve watched playoff baseball and lots of football and it’s made parenting so sweet and fun.

But there are also so many mundane things that happen literally everyday. We wash the same 7 bottles in the yellow “tub” they bathed Everly in at the hospital. I pump at work at noon, 4, and 9 in a red chair, often with my computer in front of me. When I get home after 11pm, I wash the same 6 sets of pump parts and set them to dry so I can repack them the next day. We change real poops and smell real farts these days (I’m not going to say she takes after her dad, but she does). Every few days, we bring a what looks like a diaper snake from the diaper genie to the trash. We do tiny loads of laundry covered in sweet potatoes and or blow outs and typically have cereal, snot, or spit up somewhere on our shirts or faces depending on how the day is going. And there are plenty of nights where the longest stretch is a short two hours. 

Those moments make parenting tough at worst and mundane at best and not feel the least bit rewarding. But I know I’ll look back and ask Tuck, “remember that huge blowout?” or “remember when the little girl drooled into your beard?” 

And I know we’ll miss those moments along with the sweet milestones. 

Just probably a little less.

last year

On this day a year ago, it was the first day Tuck and I woke up knowing we’d be parents. We went to Estes Park with Tucker’s mom – our future child’s biggest fan – and got caramel apples, saw the leaves, walked the trail. I started the morning a year ago by telling Tucker that I didn’t want to raise a child in our then-home. We knew our lives would change, but in the hypothetical way you know things will change when you graduate or start a new job.

Today, our little girl slept the best she has in her whole life (10 hours straight!) and we are going to Estes Park with friends we didn’t even know a year ago. The plan? Caramel apples, see the leaves, walk the trail – just like a year ago (and possibly elk bugles – which is apparently a thing). 

It’s a microcosm of how much our life is the same and different. Our jobs haven’t changed. Our lives are still busy and I get home late two – sometimes three – nights a week. We’ve just changed how we do everything. 

We’re home by 7 any night we can be. The little girl is strapped to one of us in her carrier wherever we go. It takes longer to get ready to go and then everywhere we go people talk to us or about us. We have routines and bags and haven’t eaten hot food at the same time before 8pm in 5 months.

And we wouldn’t change it for he world. Except for the sleep thing. Sleeping through the night would be neat.

five

Little Girl,

Today, you are 5 months old. 5 months seems both too short and too long to describe our lives with you. 

You have done a lot of firsts this month. First day at daycare. First boat ride. First cereal. First real food. First night in your big bed. First football game. First cold.

You are getting to be a much more efficient scooter – less face, more arms. You have a great grip and like to hold everything, including your own bottle. You have a little bunny that is your favorite. And you can roll to both sides now.

You’re allergic to cows, an allergy which we are literally praying that you grow out of. We’re trying to teach you to “pet the Kitty” (not grab the Kitty, or put him in your mouth) and to “let go, please” when you grab glasses, tiny strands of hair, shirts, your diaper mat, and, well, basically anything.

You are also so happy. You smile at everyone. Even these last few days when you have been sick – which must be so confusing for your little mind and body – you smile and flail your arms and legs with excitement.

You are such a sweet girl and we have been so grateful for your sweet, easy-going spirit. We can’t wait to see what month five brings.

We love you, Everly Alice, with our whole heart.