better

This felt like the first weekend home in awhile and it did not disappoint. Spent some sweet time playing in bed, breakfast, and getting into everything. Little girl woke up in a sweet, giggly mood, a rarity because she is NOT a morning person.

In contrast to the peace of our morning, another school shooting leaves families in a Florida town devastated. This week, we prayed that the world would be a better, safer place for her to live in, but I think we know entropy is real – things will only get more chaotic and hard to manage even if gun laws get more restrictive and women don’t get viewed as objects. Today, I pray that our little girl would have wisdom, the kind that only comes from God and that she finds Jesus early in life and knows he offers a better way.

And we’ll enjoy every sweet, peaceful moment we are given.

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nine

Tiny bear,

After you were born, the doctor told me my scar might take up to 9 months to heal. Then at your 6 month check up, they said you might be walking at 9 months. Both times, 9 months felt distant. But here we are.

You’re changing so fast. You pull yourself up like a champ and cruise around the furniture. You’re crawling for real and prefer to feed yourself. You eat deconstructed sandwiches and love eggs and cheese.

We took you to the pool for the first time. You couldn’t have cared less. You can climb up all our stairs (mostly) by yourself. There’s an inconvenient baby gate near the door and last bought you tried to climb the entertainment center like a ladder. You love when we hold your hands and you take giant stomping steps without bending your knees around the kitchen.

You love your blankies and chat, mostly saying “Dada” and only cry being put in your carseat, not in the car. You love when daddy, the humidifier, or anything gusts a breeze on your face and while you still don’t laugh at our jokes, you laugh in sweet spurts, mental videos I’ll play in my brain as long as I can remember the sound.

You’re snoozing between your dad and me right now, something you rarely do these days because you’d prefer to be exploring. I love your adventurous spirit, your sweet smile, and tiny personality.

We could not love you more. You fill our hearts and we are so thankful.

camp

Tiny bear,

Your mom’s job is weird. This week and most weeks, it means that mommy misses bed time at least twice a week. This week is different though – we’re going to camp which brought extra late nights and this afternoon, we’re leaving you with Grandmomma and Pappy until Sunday afternoon.

I’ve been missing you since Monday night and today I’m trying to soak in all the snuggles and smiles that I can. This morning you started chatting long before you woke up. Your dad and I listened to the strange song as you and your kitty talked back at forth – not to each other, really. Just… near each other.

We’re still searching for balance between this ministry that we both feel called to and our family. Weekends like this make that tension abundantly clear. For now, I’ll smell your clean hair and keep you close as long as you’ll let me today in hopes that it will get me through the weekend. And we’ll leave the door open that someday our calling will look different.

I love you more than I ever knew was possible. And I’m holding on for Sunday.

eight

Little bear, 

I have loved holidays with you. Christmas was full of lights and people and trees – all your favorite things. I get a week off and got to hang out with you from Christmas to New Year’s. You climbed up your new little chair, pull yourself up to stand, and have sort of figured out how to “pet the Kitty.” We got you balloons for your first present because you love to look at them. Out of nowhere, you learned to feed yourself and love it. Your current favorite food is bread and you’re no longer allergic to cheese (because God loves us). 

Your letter is late this month. The last few nights have been full of friends and time together. I hope your life is full of that. You love people, so much so that you’ve been staring down people in the grocery store until they look at you. I hope you smile at people for no reason for your whole life.

It was hard to leave you at daycare and head back to the office this week. I love this age even more than I loved your tiny, sweetness last month or the month before. Your Daddy and I love you so much, little bear, and we always will.

new

We’re two days away from Everly’s 8 month birthday, but my feed is full of #2017bestnine photos so here we are with everyone recapping the year.

I told Everly this morning that 2018 is the year that she will walk, say her first words, and grow some teeth (I hope). By this time next year, she’ll be huge, toddling around, tearing through presents and parties. 

This year took us across town to a new neighborhood, new friends, and weddings galore. We also watched dear friends move and others experience sudden, unexpected loss. 

I abstained from cured meats and runny eggs for half the year and dairy and all cow products for the other half. Tucker became the best dad ever (and also realized, he is just becoming his dad). Kitty became an indoor cat and now poops in a box.

We’re thankful for another year of time together, our little girl to share it with, and for a God who is in constant in all the change and through all time.

card

I wish I did Christmas cards, but instead, I occasionally embrace my inner millennial and write on the internet instead. Here are the recipes that made 2017 for #teamhuey.

We bought a house!

3 months in the basement

2 cats

1 pod stuffed with house

2 generous in-laws

every bowl in the house (just ask our in-laws how fast we used them all)

Granny Smith apples (to taste)

Steak (also to taste)

2 gallons of milk per week

Take pod with everything you own in the world, set aside. Mix in two generous in-laws, 2 cats, pregnant wife, and husband. Add at least one Granny Smith apple per day, preferably served in a bowl (mom craving). Mix in occasional steak (mom craving). Add a gallon of milk every 3 days (dad craving #everyday). Serve over 3 months. Also in bowls. 

 

We had a baby!

1 excellent midwife

1 doctor

1 unexpected c-section

Several nurses as needed

1 terrible NICU nurse who shall not be named

Diapers

Wipes

4 swaddles

More love than we could have imagined

Mix midwife, doctor, nurses, and c-section. Toss aside the worst NICU nurse ever. Add youtube videos from a New Zealand woman about swaddling, and plenty of diapers and wipes. Everly Alice arrived May 2nd (you can read all about it here if you desire), tiny and jaundiced and, in our biased opinion, absolutely perfect.

 

We have an almost 8 month old!

2 Carl the bunnies

1 Kenneth the unicorn

1 Hermione the frog

1 Seymour the bee

1 Virgil the snail

5 weddings

2 funerals

24 Wednesdays with Grandmomma and Pappy

5 plane rides

4 states

Several made up or adapted songs to include Everly’s name

Mix all ingredients together. Serve warm while laughing at a Tucker’s dad jokes that he now feels are warranted. Roll eyes as needed.

Tucker’s current favorite thing is when Everly stands up and then grabs his shoulder to pull him in close for a baby hug. My favorite thing is seeing Everly at daycare or for the first time in awhile when she recognizes me and kicks her feet in excitement. 

And while Everly probably won’t get to meet Santa at her first Christmas season, it’s been so fun to watch her wonder at (both of) our Christmas tree(s) (don’t ask, I’m still sensitive), zoo lights, and all the people at the grocery store. We’ve had the better part of 8 months to watch Everly discover her world, snuggle in close, and move and play a little more and a little differently every day.

In the world I walk in, it’s easy to get caught up in the brokenness, education system, and changing social climate. As this year comes to a close, I want to be careful not to miss thankfulness. This season is sweet and I’m so grateful for this abundant, full life.

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.

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.