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Dear Scarlett at 2!

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Dear Belly Baby,

As I write this, I have to laugh because in the two months since your second birthday it’s as if you’ve changed drastically. You have gone from my baby to this full blown little human seemingly overnight.

Your speech is excellent and you love to practice. In fact, you are a complete chatterbox and have been putting full sentences together since before your birthday. You mimic everything your sister says and even take a stab at the longer, more difficult vocabulary. For a long time, no one seemed to understand you but us and your teachers but your pronunciation has gotten clearer and clearer.

You are a musical little girl and the second you hear a beat you pop up and start dancing. If you’re strapped to your car seat, you bob your head to the music. And you have excellent rhythm. You definitely got that quality from your daddy! You love to crash your sister’s ballet classes and before long, I think we’re going to have to find a way to nurture your love for music either by teaching you how to play an instrument or letting you express yourself through dance.

Possibly my favorite thing about you are your facial expressions. You can give the stink eye like no one else I’ve ever met. But your look of surprise or excitement is the all time best. You open your mouth like a great big O and laugh silently for a second before letting out a squeal of excitement! You laugh more sincerely than anyone I know – it’s so deep and guttural and we all end up laughing along with you. You also have the sweetest smile. It’s like a perfect toothy grin and it’s so genuine that I’ll do anything to elicit it from you!

My sweet girl, you are so discriminatory with your affection but once you attach to someone, you love them for life. You are the greatest snuggle bug there is and will sit for hours curled up in our arms. You even love it when sissy holds you like a mommy. Except…when you don’t – then we’d better LOOK OUT! You are an independent bird and when you want your space, ain’t no one gonna tie you down!

In fact, this part of your personality fascinates and amuses me most. You are YOU through and through. No apologies and no exceptions. I often wonder if those you encounter throughout life will fully understand or appreciate your charm but then I laugh because to be honest, I don’t think you’re going to give a damn. I can already tell that you’re not out to please anyone. You have your own agenda and you’re going to see it through.

You are brave with a capital B. And you are fearless. You’ll try anything once although you may decide you don’t like it or it scared you after the fact. Nevertheless, you’re willing to push your boundaries and I so admire that aspect of your personality! You will no doubt set an example for your sister as she explores her own fearlessness in the years to come and I can already see that you are each going to make the other stronger.

The sound of you and Savs laughing together just might be the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. The relationship between the two of you is pretty awesome to watch. Your sister loves to care for you, guide and protect you. Similarly, you challenge her but are the first to come to her aid when she’s hurt or sad. You gently reach for her hand when one of you needs comforting and you’ve taken to sharing her likes and dislikes already.

Scarlett, like your mommy and sissy, you are an excellent sleeper. You love your room and your crib and putting you down is as easy as it gets. In fact, sometimes you let us know that you’re ready for nappy or bedtime and start making your way to your room like a big girl. Lately, you’ve been waking extra early – in fact, your internal sunrise alarm my drive me to insanity one of these days – but slowly we are finding our way through that phase.

Like your big sister, you love school! You love the chance to run free and express yourself through art and music. You love when I read books to your class in the mornings although you also get incredibly territorial and possessive when any of your friends come near me. You stare longingly at the preschool class every day and I know you’re just dying to spread your wings and hang out with the big kids. I suspect reminding you to “slow down” and “enjoy the moment” will become our mantras as you already yearn to conquer the world.

You’re a physical girl and walk with a swagger. I regularly enter a room to find you creating solutions to whatever challenge is before you – if you want a pair of shoes and they’re out of reach then naturally, you think to empty your waste basket and use it as a step stool. Pretty sophisticated for a barely two-old if you ask me!

I’m reading a book right now called the Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. The two sisters in the book remind me so much of you and Savs. You share a confidence and desire to buck the system like the younger sister, Isabel. I can also imagine you finding something to believe in and fighting for it despite the risks. I’m so excited to watch you discover how big the world is and all that it offers.

Scarletto, you are much more like your daddy than you are like me which has made parenting you a learning experience for me. But, because you react to the world differently than I do, I feel like I’ve learned so much from you already. You love fiercely and it’s demonstrated in the power of your hugs and the smack of your smooches. You are bold and funny. Independent and secure. And snuggly and absolutely loveable. I adore every single thing about you, my darling!

Always and forever,

Your mommy

2 at a glance

Cool things you’re doing: You are all around one cool little girl. Your imagination is soaring. Your understanding of the world around you and how it works is expanding by the minute. And your interest in taking care of others and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone on target.

Likes: Music!, playing dress up, taking care of your babies, stealing your sister’s toys, reading books, rocking, snuggling, pretending, running, climbing, all things Mickey and Minnie.

Dislikes: Depends on the day but showers can piss you off. Same with wearing clothes. You’re not a fan of pants and always prefer to be naked. Except when it comes to shoes. You love your shoes.

Favorite Books: The Potty Book, On the Night You Were Born, anything by Sandra Boynton, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Panda Bear Panda Bear, Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Favorite Songs: You love all music equally but favor songs with a clear beat that you can use to get your jam on. You love when we sing lullabies at night especially ABC’s, On the Good Ship Lollipop, Bushel and a Peck, and Baa Baa Black Sheep

Funny Things You Say: Everything starts with “my” as in: “My snowman,” “My diapie,” “My soft baby.” As your sentences get longer your words become more deliberate and you give a full effort to your pronunciation.

Our Favorite Things About This Age: While the saying “terrible two’s” definitely has significance with you, this is also a pretty cool age. You are becoming so independent and you and your sister play together for extended periods of time. Your imagination is incredible to watch. So is your big brain. It’s like you’re learning new words at warp speed! My all time favorite thing about 2 is that you are both a baby and a big kid at once. You still love your mommy and let me rock you like a baby doll but you are also becoming your own little human and she’s really, really awesome!

Nicknames: Belly Baby, of course!, Lets, Letti, Scarletto Barbaretto, Letti Lou, Leticia Lou, Scarly

Outtakes:

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Long time no see

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For some time now, every time I think about this lonely little blog I’m overcome with a sense of foreboding and anxiety. What was once a beautiful outlet for me to share my musings on motherhood and life has become one more item on my never ending to-do list.

This makes me so sad.

I’d like to say that with the new year, I’m vowing to visit this space more often, to let my creative expression flow more frequently, but if I’m honest with myself, I just don’t know how likely that is.

See, this crazy thing called life and all it encompasses – motherhood, family, career, community – seems to creep in and get in the way of any sense of solitude that once existed for me.

So, for now, we’ll have to settle with the occasional letter to my children (which are recognizably always months past due) and a promise that I haven’t abandoned this space altogether. Thank you to those who continue to check in – I appreciate the encouragement to keep up with my writing.

Soon, I assure you, soon. There will be time to think again.

Until then…with love,

N

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To you, Savs…at 4!

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This is 4! Well, 4 2/3 to be exact. Our lives have been full these past few months and I haven’t had a moment to have a clear thought let alone articulate it.

Savannah, you are an absolute joy to be around. You make us beam with pride on a daily basis by sharing your generous spirit with the world around you. Whether you’re assisting snails along their journey, helping your sister maneuver her latest tricks, or consoling a friend in need your empathy shines true in all that you do.

You have evolved into a long and lean little girl this year. Gone are the baby face, thigh rolls, and poochy belly. They’ve been replaced with legs for days and “Rapunzel hair,” as you like to call it. You are a beautiful little girl inside and out.

You are also articulate, thoughtful, and wise beyond your years. Your memory astounds us – you lessons we’ve taught you or remember events from years ago. You love learning and ask a lot of questions about why the world is the way it is. Fortunately, you take it easy on us as we muddle our way through some of the more difficult topics and seem content to trust that what we tell you is true.

A few months ago you transitioned into the Kinder Prep class at school and you’ve been thriving ever since. You were a little intimidated at first since you were the youngest kid in the group but you had your partners in crime – Jacob and Makenna – by your side and so you settled in quickly. Your handwriting is improving and you’re getting pretty good at sounding words out. Of course, that means you love practicing the alphabet and find reasons to write cards to your family on a daily basis. I am continuously impressed by the curriculum at your school and so thankful we have the means to send you there every day.

You love being a big sister – most of the time. You take great pride in your Belly Baby and love to show her off to your friends. You are usually pretty good at sharing with her but certainly have momentary lapses where you rip something out of her hands or just haul off and hit her for no good reason. For the most part though, you adore Scarlett and she’s very lucky to have you as a role model and friend.

Although you have developed into a little girl in so many ways, I still get daily glimpses of my baby. You still nap for one thing which is a dream come true for this tired mommy! You also love “snuggling” more than anything and will jump at the chance to climb in bed with us before you fall asleep or first thing in the morning.

But most the time, you are all about big kid things. Whether it’s pretending to be a mommy yourself – you’re all about pretend play and your imagination runs wild, or navigating your own iPad, you are in control. You’re pretty self-sufficient and very polite both of which make me quite proud.

You started ballet a couple of months ago and the class has helped you really come out of your shell. You were so shy at first, intimidated by the other kids and insecure because you didn’t know the moves. I even thought you might ask to quit but you didn’t. You stuck it out and we kept going back and now you are obsessed! You are a wonderful listener and follow directions well and of course, you love your teacher.

We talk a lot about bravery and the importance of pushing through fear. You still get shy sometimes but you are trying new things each week and we are so proud of you! You are proud of yourself too which is really what we care about most. Uh…I just love your face!

Nana Bear, I wish I had the words to express how much I adore you. All I can say is that the sight of you makes my heart explode in a million pieces. You are everything I’d hoped my firstborn child would be – kind, empathetic, thoughtful, smart, funny, and of course, very, very brave. You continue to push me to new heights and you remind us how beautiful the world is even when we’re feeling discouraged – which considering it’s an election year, happens a lot nowadays!

Your curiosity is both sweet and inspiring. Your adoration for your friends and family and ability to recognize right from wrong make us proud. And your faith…forget about it. We’ve had to tackle some “big” issues lately and I’ve loved watching how you draw on your faith to pull you through sadness or make sense of the insensible. You are wise beyond your years and teaching us so much every day.

Savi Bear, I frequently refer to you as my kindred spirit. You are my mini-me in many ways – how you look, the way you concentrate deeply when you’re thinking about something, the way you want to help every living creature you come across. We share a deep, deep bond and I love watching you grow each day. You continue to teach me more about myself and push me to the limit of possibility. Thank you for all that you are and all you bring to our family.

You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.

Mommy

4 at a glance

Cool things you’re doing: You are all around one cool little girl. Your imagination is soaring. Your understanding of the world around you and how it works is expanding by the minute. And your interest in taking care of others and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone on target.

Likes: Playing dress up, pretending to be a mommy or a princess, writing cards and drawing pictures, practicing your name, watching shows on your iPad, telling stories, singing and dancing, cooking, and going to school and ballet.

Dislikes: I don’t know when it happened but lately you’ve become quite the picky eater avoiding a lot of the veggies that used to be your favorite. You dislike when your sister torments you or takes your toys. You don’t like being woken up in the morning and you hate having your hair brushed.

Favorite Books: The Book with No Pictures, The Giving Tree, Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You (our special book!), Tickle Monster, The It’s Okay to be Different and the Family Book.

Favorite Songs: You still love Coldplay, you like the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and much to our chagrin, you frequently request “Belly Baby’s songs” which translates to the Barney station on Pandora!

Funny Things You Say: ”That’s ridiculous,” “What the heck???,” “That’s disgusting!”

Our Favorite Things About This Age: Four has been really great. You have matured a lot and it’s like having a little partner in crime by our side rather than a child. You are smart and witty and quite hilarious too. But, I love that even though you’re so grown up you also melt right back into being my baby at every opportunity. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.

Nicknames: Savs, Nana, Nana Bear, Savi, Banana, and of course, Sissy!

Outtakes:

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Dear Scarlett, at 15 months

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My sweet, sweet Letti Lou:

I hate to admit it but your first birthday post completely escaped me so unfortunately, this will have to serve as a combined 12 and 15 month letter to you. While my writing has been few and far between these past few months, your first birthday celebration was nothing short of fabulous! We showered you with love and as a friend of mine put it, we hosted a small wedding at our house in your honor. We had over 20 children under five making mayhem in our backyard and everyone left the party smiling ear to ear and exhausted from a day of fun.

Your development has skyrocketed since I last wrote. You went from walking at 11 months to literally running behind your sister nowadays. You have been steady on your feet for quite some time and love to dance, climb, run, and maneuver your little body into all sorts of strange places. You are a physical girl and nothing can hold you back if you are determined to get from point A to point B.

You are also very verbal. Your vocabulary is pretty robust for your age and some of your favorite words are Nana and Lola. Of course, you rattle off Mama and Dada constantly and can say the names of all your grandparents as well as Ball, Book, Baby, Hi, Bye, Up, and a few other choice selections. Your sign language really took off at around 13 months and you still love to sign for More, Please, Milk, Help, and Bed. Baby sign language has been such a blessing with both you and your sister and I swear, it’s allowed us to communicate with you guys way before you were really verbal.

You are an awesome sleeper although it did take a couple of weeks of growing pains for us both. I cut out the nighttime nursing sessions at 12 months and to say you protested the first few nights would be an understatement. You were pissed! But, you got through it and as soon as reality set in, you started sleeping through the night and haven’t stopped since. You like to go to bed way earlier than your big sis ever did so we literally have time to get home, throw food in your mouth and get you ready for bed before you start getting cranky. You get between 11-12 hours of sleep a night which is great. You’re still a cat napper and rarely nap for longer than 45 minutes to an hour but Savannah was the same way so we’ve adjusted accordingly.

Speaking of nursing, I stopped pumping at a year as well and continued to nurse you on demand when I was with you but otherwise you went straight from the boob/bottle to open cups of whole milk. In January, I transitioned you to just two nursing sessions a day – morning and night – and then cut you back to just one. I still nurse you right before bedtime although they’re very short sessions and I think we’re both continuing for comfort more than anything else at this point.

It’s hard to believe I breastfed for going on 2 ½ years between you and Savs and the thought of never doing it again is bittersweet. It is nice to have my body back to myself though and I was getting really sick of wearing nursing friendly clothes all the time! And don’t even get me started on the breast pump! Still, breastfeeding was one of my greatest joys of motherhood to date and a complete surprise since I wasn’t even sure I’d do it when I was pregnant the first time let alone love it!

Your little personality has really flourished these past few months and we’ve started to see some of the true differences between you and your sister. You are funny – like balls to the wall, test the limits, goofy funny. You love to be LOUD, you love all eyes on you, and you are a determined little bird. Like your sister though, you are a snuggle bug and an amazing eater. There are few things you reject and we joke with your teachers that you could have a mouth full of food and two handfuls ready to go and you’re still signing for “more.” Funny enough, you are more petite than Savs ever was hovering in the middle of the scale on weight and length. I don’t know where all the food goes except you also have about 6 BMs a day so I guess it goes straight through you!

Since we put the tubes in last summer, your hearing has been perfect. Knock on wood but we haven’t had any ear infections since and they don’t seem to bother you one bit.

You are officially a world traveler – we went on our first official “family vacation” to Costa Rica in January. You did a great job flying although keeping you busy, still, and quiet for 5 hours straight was exhausting. Once there, you had a ball! You pretty much ate your weight in sand and loved spending every day at the beach and every evening in the pool. I think most of all, you loved having all of us around 24/7 and we enjoyed the chance to see you and your sister explore a new environment together. We’re already starting to plan our next adventure and can’t wait for many more opportunities to share this beautiful world with you girls.

Everyone says you are your father’s mini-me and you really are. You still look so much like Savs did at your age but your eyes are different – you have his and Savs has mine. You both have combined personality traits and embody some of our best (and worst) features but that’s how it goes. I see a lot of your Dada when I look at you and it makes me smile every time.

We still call you Belly Baby or BB most of the time. I’m sorry but I think you’re going to have a hard time kicking that nickname. If you get older and really protest we’ll try to cut it but I hope you always know, it was established in love and it fits you, my sweet girl. You will always be the baby in our family and every time I hear Belly Baby I flash back to the nine months of wonderment as we imagined if God would bless us with a boy or girl to complete our family.

You are obsessed with your big sister. You follow her around like a puppy dog and imitate everything she does. At best, she adores you right back and at worst, she tolerates you. We’ve yet to uncover any true sibling rivalry but we’re preparing ourselves for the coming years.

You are also a daddy’s girl and often times reach for him first when you need comfort. I think it surprises your dad sometimes because for the most part, your sister has always relied on me in times of need. I swear, sometimes I see his chest puff up with pride as he takes you out of my arms though and I think it must feel really good to him to be your #1 right now.

Scarlett, you make me happy. Like head in the clouds, love beyond words, smile ear to ear, happy. You have a laugh that is deep and guttural and it is infectious. You have a strong will and a kind heart. You love to blow kisses and love on those you know best. You are also a tough nut to crack and don’t warm up to people instantly but that’s okay, I don’t either. I’ve just learned to fake it well! I think you will be very disarming while also maintaining an air of mystery about you. I suspect you will make those who love you work for your affection but once it’s received you give without abandon or hesitation. You will change the world, my girl, and I just can’t wait to see how.

15 Months at a Glance

Weight – 21.75 – 58th percentile

Length – 30.5 inches – 48th percentile

Cool things you’re doing: You are a full blown toddler. You love to shake your booty and dance and love to perform the minute we start singing, “Go Scarlett, it’s your birthday…” You love to run and play hide and seek and enjoy the challenge of finding hidden objects. You eat with a spoon and drink from an open cup. You also clear your own plate which is both incredibly convenient and hilarious.

Likes: Your family, your sister, Lola, exploring the world through touch, hearing your own voice, getting dirty, and unfortunately, you LOVE pooping in the bathtub!

Dislikes: Strangers. You have serious stranger danger. You also get very upset when we take your food away before you finish eating or when we’re delayed in feeding you.

Nicknames: Belly Baby! Letti Lou, BB, Scarletto, Monk

Loving you always, my sweet girl.

Love, your mama

Outtakes:

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Dear Scarlett, at 2 months

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Dear sweet, baby girl:

There’s something so magical about you. The way you look at us, the smile that brightens your face when you hear our voices, the loving way you grip our fingers in your teeny tiny hands. You have the power to warm our hearts in a split second and like your sister, you’re a wonderful reminder that their is so much good in this world.

You and I have really gotten to know each other well this month. I can now differentiate your various cries although that’s not a huge accomplishment since you only have a few. I definitely think you know that I’m your mommy because you brighten like no other when I come into your line of sight (there really is no better way to feed my ego!). You fit perfectly in my arms and I’m beginning to learn your preferences – when you want to rock, get propped upright, take a ride in your swing, snuggle in the Baby Ktan, etc. We fit the way only a mother and child can and the only other time I’ve ever experienced this awesome feeling is when I was just getting to know your sister.

Unfortunately, our household has been fighting one illness after another this month. Savannah and I have shared a number of different colds between us and just when I thought you and daddy would escape you came down with RSV, bronchiolitis and a double ear infection. It’s been a rough week; one that landed us in the doctor’s office twice and urgent care once. At only two months old, you’re already on an antibiotic for your ears and we are now the proud owners of a nebulizer which is supposed to help clear your lungs so you can breathe better. You are on the mend and have managed to smile throughout all of this for which I am eternally grateful. Nursing you and your sister back to health has given me such perspective and made me realize how much we take for granted the overall health of our family.

The term “sunny disposition” perfectly describes you. There are very few things that rattle your cage and your daddy loves to say that “you’re cooler than the other side of the pillow.” Don’t get me wrong, you have some lungs on you and have no fear letting us know when you’re hungry or wet but for the most part, you tolerate a lot. Emotions run high in our household so it would probably be a very good thing to have our latest addition bring an even keel personality to the mix.

You’re still an excellent sleeper and the doctor said that if you were going to develop colic or reflux we’d probably see the signs by now. I keep praying we escape both because not having those extra stresses with Savs made our early months with her ever so sweet. You tend to make the sweetest noises in your sleep – like little coos – and sometimes they’re accompanied by the cutest smile too almost as if you’re dreaming of something lovely. You usually wake up to eat about once a night depending on what time your last feeding was. Some nights you go straight through until morning and it’s not uncommon for you to sleep up to seven hour stretches. This has been going on since six weeks.

No joke.

Unlike Savannah, I do not let you nurse all night long. You’ve been going to sleep awake and self-soothing by either sucking on your hands or a pacifier and when you fall asleep during your midnight session, you stop suckling. Your sister was a different story altogether. That child held onto my boob for dear life and I often joke that she never needed a pacifier because she had me! I’m not going to lie, this way is much better and we both get more restful sleep.

You also sleep for a long time in the mornings giving me a nice opportunity to workout, take care of some stuff around the house, check emails, etc. Maternity leave has been busier than I would’ve liked but I’m also enjoying every minute of it. It’s so nice to have the extra hours in the day to take care of our household responsibilities. When your daddy and I are both at work all week we’re forced to deal with our chores and errands on the weekends and evenings leaving very limited time for us to relax as a family.

It’ll be nice to return to work in March but I am going to miss this “found” time that I have right now. And of course, I’m going to miss being with you every minute of every day. You are my little buddy and I treasure our down time during the days when daddy is at work and your sissy is at school. We rock in the rocking chair, nap in the bed, take walks with Lola, hang out with nona, and snuggle, snuggle, snuggle as much as possible. I start to get anxious when I think of sending you off to daycare soon but then I remember I still have almost two whole months with you and I’m going to soak up every minute of it.

Your sissy still loves you more than anything. We did have one incident where we caught her playing “doctor” with you and giving you shots on the forehead with her plastic syringe. You let out a blood curdling scream which scared her almost as much as us. We had to explain that you’re too little to play such a big girl game. I’m pretty sure she only understood about 50% of our explanation but we’re working on it. We’ve also been talking to her a lot about how it’s possible to “love too much.” She really can’t help herself because she’s so overtaken with emotion when it comes to you but we catch her trying to hug you to death, lay on you to snuggle or grip your tiny hands and feet like she’s holding on for dear life. It’s a little intense but she’s slowly starting to understand that she needs to be gentle – our reminders help a lot. And I know she’s starting to get it because just this morning while I was changing your diaper she grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye and said, “Gently mommy. Just like I taught you. Are you paying attention? Don’t make me tell you again, okay?” Yep, pretty much verbatim how I talk to her.

I’m pretty sure you will be called Belly Baby long after you have grown into a woman. Sorry about that, sweet girl. I hope you know it’s a term of endearment and a habit that we’re all having a hard time breaking. I have started calling you Scarlett Johansson pretty regularly as well which may actually be worse than Belly Baby. I’m not sure. So far, we’ve avoided anyone calling you Scar so that’s good.

We spend evenings rocking in the rocking chair reading bedtime stories to Savannah. It’s a tight fit for all three of us and Savs takes great pride in the fact that your legs have to rest on her lap. She gets really irritated if you start crying in the middle of her stories though and has been known to yell, “Stop crying, Belly Baby. Now!” I correct her immediately but I’m not going to lie, I do laugh on the inside. After all, it is her time of day that she’s sharing with you. How dare you cry and disrupt it!

You are a long baby with lean arms and legs. Your body type is different than Savannah’s – she had more rolls and you are lankier. We definitely make big, healthy babies though which I absolutely love! You hair is starting to fall out and you’re developing the best receding hairline in town. I can’t wait to see it’s color and texture once it all grows back but I’m also looking forward to your bald head. That was one of of Savannah’s cutest stages although it didn’t last all that long.

Everything checked out at your two month check up. You are right on track developmentally and the doctor is impressed with your good eating and sleeping habits. You got two shots which royally pissed you off but you bounced back pretty quickly. You didn’t have nearly as many of those tiny white dots on your nose that most newborns, including your sister, had. I used to love staring at her and memorizing every single one. I kind of missed that in you.

You’ve been wearing all of Savannah’s hand me downs and I can’t lie, one of the reasons I was hoping for another girl was for the chance to recycle some of my favorite outfits. It’s been so fun to bring out those itty bitty onesies and pajamas again and if you didn’t already look just like your big sister when she was a baby you are pretty much her twin when you’re wearing her clothes. Not to worry, you’ve gotten some new outfits of your own too and there are already a couple which I’ve deemed my favorites and will plan to save for you should you decide to have your own children some day.

2 Months At A Glance

Weight: 11 lbs. 9 ozs – 75th percentile

Length: 24 inches – 90th percentile

Cool Things You’re Doing: sleeping, holding your head high, swimming during tummy time, hanging out independently for long stretches of time, cooing, seeing further distances, recognizing faces

Likes: snuggling, sleeping, eating, hanging in the baby carrier, riding in the car, bath time, rocking, watching your sis

Dislikes: Poopy diapers, being hungry, cradle hold

Our Favorite Things About this Age: I’ve decided that with the exception of the constant spit up, I absolutely LOVE the newborn stage. Yes, I realize I’ve had two very easy babies and other mothers may disagree completely but it’s just so fun to watch you change everyday. You are also such a snuggly love bug and between all of the love showered upon me by you and your sis, I am a very full woman.

Nicknames: Scarlett Johansson, Scar Mar, Belly Baby

All in all, you’re pretty much perfect. At least in this mommy’s eyes. My love for you grows by the minute and I frequently tell your father that I’m obsessed with you. He likes to remind me that there was a time before you were born that I worried I wouldn’t love you as much as Savannah. Ha Ha – fat chance. You two girls are my entire life. You’re everything that’s right in the world and the best little reminders that I was put on this earth for a purpose. To be your mommy.

Loving you always, sweet pea.

Love,

Your mama

Outtakes:

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To you…at 35-38 Weeks

35 Weeks Final

Photo credit: Leigh Castelli Photography

Dear my sweet Belly Baby:

You have become so very, very real in our lives as of late. In the last month you have gone from a presence we were looking forward to meeting in the near future to one that may enter our lives at any moment.

It’s so hard to capture all of the emotions I’m feeling as we countdown to your birthing day but I’m going to do my very best because I know when it’s all over I’ll be hard pressed to remember exactly how I feel right now. At least, that’s the way it’s been with Savannah.

To be honest, I fluctuate between feelings of quiet anticipation and a total desperation for “just a few more days” before our big meeting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared to see how your addition into our lives is going to change everything. My rational side knows it will all change for the better but there’s still a part of me that fears how our relationship with Savannah will be affected in the process. She’s been an only child for 2 years and 8 months now and we’ve poured every bit of ourselves into her during that time. All of my friends reassure me that my heart will grow the second I meet you and I know they’re right because I watched them overcome the same fears. Still, I just can’t imagine how that’s humanly possible since she currently consumes every part of me.

The funny thing is, I know Savannah is going to process this transition just fine. She’s thrilled to be a big sister and even more thrilled to meet and love on you. It’s me I’m worried about. I know that the minute you are born I will be lost in a haze of newborn ether. You will become my world and I will walk around telling everyone the same thing I did with Savs in those first months – we share a heart, there’s just no two ways about it. I fear that during that period I will lose all sense of myself and forget that I am actually a mommy to two precious gifts now; two beautiful souls that need all of me in a way that I can’t imagine. Again, I know I’m being crazy but if I’m honest with myself then I’ll admit this is exactly how I’m feeling right now.

I’ve been sleeping with Savannah a lot this week. I tell your Daddy it’s because I can’t sleep and don’t want to wake him up. But in reality, I just want to soak her up for as long as I can. She wraps her arms and legs around me in her sleep and snuggles her head under the crook of my arm. I just lay there in the middle of the night breathing her in and praying for an endless supply of these moments in the days/years to come.

I’m pretty sure I’m going crazy and I’m just going to chalk it all up to pregnancy hormones flowing through an overly emotional woman to begin with. I mean I bawled while watching Dirty Dancing for the 1000th time the other day. Come on!

Meanwhile, you are growing so strong. You twist and turn inside of me and doing summersaults in the middle of the night is definitely your favorite pastime. You’ve been head down and in position for some time now and I’m officially getting kicks to the ribs which I remember so fondly from those last days with your sister.

You have put more of a strain on my back than my first pregnancy and I’m battling a mean case of sciatica down my left side. The only relief is a warm bath, heating pad and laying down and fortunately, I’m on maternity leave now so I can’t make any excuses not to do exactly that. I’ve been going stir crazy all week because sitting still just isn’t in my DNA but there really isn’t much left to do to prepare for your arrival. Our bags are packed and ready to go, your room is set up perfectly, cloth diapers washed and ready, and the car seats are installed.

The general consensus is still that you’re a boy although something inside of me insists that a little girl is growing in there. Either way, we are patiently anticipating that moment that Dr. James announces, “It’s a …!” Boy or girl, you are going to complete our little family in a way we never could’ve imagined.

This may or may not be the last letter I write before meeting you. Just know that you are so loved already and that there is a big, beautiful world waiting to greet you. Your Daddy and I promise to protect you as go, give you space to grow, encourage you to venture out, and provide a safe space to land when you fall.

We share a heart.

Loving you always,

Your Mama

35 Weeks – Pregnancy #1

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And more from my maternity photo shoot:

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To you…at 29-31 weeks

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Dear Belly Baby,

I’m growing at an outrageous rate nowadays but to be honest, I’m having a really hard time keeping up with all of these belly shots. Plus it’s been hotter than hell around here lately so I haven’t felt all that photogenic. In fact, air conditioner or not, I just feel like a sweaty mess most of the time.

While I may be struggling to keep cool and stay comfortable, you are doing great!

On most days I feel like you are literally busting through the walls of my abdomen. You kick, punch, roll and hiccup – sometimes simultaneously so it’s pretty intense. I have no idea if this is a sign that you’re going to be a very active baby or if you’re just eager to see this crazy world but either way, you’re keeping me on my toes.

I’ve started having Braxton Hicks contractions which I don’t recall ever feeling with Savannah. It’s a strange feeling – my uterus suddenly tightens up on me but without any pain. You tend to fight back a little whenever it happens so I’m guessing that you don’t care much for the sensation. Everything I read says this is normal but for some reason I have it in my head that this is a sign you’re going to make an early appearance.

Speaking of, work is really intense right now. Good but really intense. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to my two weeks of maternity leave before my due date. The opportunity to just sit still for an extended period of time sounds really good right now and I’m looking forward to some mommy/daughter dates with your sis before your big debut. So, if you are going to come early can you please practice some restraint and make it as close to November 15 as possible?

Like I said last time I wrote, everyone I meet is so sure that you’re a boy that I’m beginning to believe it myself. Still, something inside of me is feeling like you’re a girl and always has. So who knows! I can promise you that we have absolutely no preference either way. Boy or girl, your existence will complete our family in the most perfect way. And to be honest, the mystery of your gender, while making others crazy for sure, has been really fun for me and your Daddy. We love imagining what you’ll look like, how you’ll interact with your sister, which ways you’ll be similar and all of the traits that will be so uniquely yours.

I feel like the countdown is officially on. Less than 9 weeks to go – I can’t hardly believe it!

Since we’re delivering at a new hospital with a new doctor, we’re encountering a lot of “firsts” again which is fun. We took the official “hospital tour” last week and got to see first hand where the magic will happen. We feel very comfortable with our choice in hospitals and the more I read about Saddleback the more I’m sure it’s going to be the perfect place for you and I to take this journey together.

I’ve started creating my Belly Baby To-Do List which really isn’t filled with anything too earth shattering but thinking about newborn cloth diapers and your very special “gift” for your big sis makes me realize how my due date really is around the corner. And names…we are still undecided but we have narrowed it down to two boys names and two girls names that we like. Assuming we don’t change our minds or throw another option into the mix, I think we’ll be making a game time decision when we see your cute face.

I hope you sense how much this mama loves her baby. I worry sometimes that my heart isn’t big enough for all the love I feel for you, your sister, your daddy and Lola. I seriously think when I meet you, my heart may swell so much it’ll burst right out of my body and that’ll be that. Other mommies keep assuring me that it all works out but I just can’t imagine how. The day your sister was born was hands down the most important day of my life and to know that we get to do it all over again with you is absolutely mind boggling to me. Creating the two of you, showering you with love, building you up, and giving you the foundation to live happy, productive lives will be my life’s work in a nutshell.

Thank you for giving me the chance to be your mommy. We are going to have quite the adventure together, baby cakes!

Loving you always,

Your mama

31 Weeks – Pregnancy #1

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