Friday, November 15, 2013

Evan: Months 7 & 8

Dear E,

You are the only child whose update happens to fall on the right day this month. Congratulations! Who knew adding you to our family would make my days so much more full? I can't remember the last time I had a whole hour and a half to sit down and blog (hence the cobwebs around this here blog). Nonetheless, I will persist in my goal to keep things updated. I so enjoy looking back at the baby years on this blog, laughing at the similarities and marveling at the differences between my three babes.

At 7 months, you were already an accomplished crawler. You had two teeth, which made their appearances on 9/26 and 10/11. You were babbling away, saying: Ba, Ma, Da, and MMMMMMBah! Grammy & Papa were lucky enough to witness your first time crawling one morning on facetime. It was so fun that we were able to share that all together!

Also at 7 months we started weaning, as per the doctor's suggestion. Mama started feeling sick again and inflammation was rearing its ugly head when we decided to try cutting back on the breastfeeding to see if it helped at all. While it was such a hard decision emotionally, I knew that we have a strong, snuggly bond and my breasts were no good to you should I end up in the hospital again. After just a few weeks, I started to improve drastically. You basically weaned yourself from the last two feedings (night and morning), taking the bottle like a pro and still giving me lots of affection. I'm so grateful. Though I'm sad to be done with nursing forever, I'm so proud that we made it past seven months, considering how much trouble you had latching and gaining weight at the beginning. Through it all, I was able to nourish you and I'm thankful for a body that gave you its best.

Even though it took you nearly seven months to sleep through the night, you are by far the easiest baby to put to sleep. We just lay you in your crib (or put you in the ergo, or in your carseat), and you just drift off to sleep. No crying, no protesting. It's as if you relax completely just knowing sleep is on it's way! You sleep anywhere and everywhere, in hotel rooms, in strange beds, in the car, on planes. You transfer so crazy easy. You'll fall asleep in your carseat, wake up when I take you out, let me put you in a fresh diaper, jammies and sleep sack, then put you back in your bed. It's really so nice and so helpful.

Your big blue eyes are constantly grabbing my attention, and the attention of others. You are smiley as can be, attentive, curious about everything, and SO CUTE. Every time you see my face for the first time you light up and your body gets excited and you crinkle up your nose and I just want to squeeze you. It's such a joy knowing you. You really are a remarkably lovable baby.

At eight months you are pulling up to a stand, cruising all surfaces, letting go with one hand, then two, and balancing as you slowly squat to the ground. You are SO strong and determined. Boppa predicted you'll be walking by the end of the year. Yikes. I'm sure you will. 

Now you can climb the stairs (I've caught you three times now trying to go down, face first). You are saying Ga Ga Ga and what sounds like "Hiiiiiiii." You are trying so hard to do the sign for Doggy (panting) but usually you just get a head bob going. You are working on your top two teeth and enjoying all kinds of table food that you feed yourself with those handy pincer fingers. So far you've loved everything I put in front of you, other than those pesky peaches!

You are such a joy and a delight to all of us. We can't imagine our lives without you! Happy eight months, Evan Michael!



Maddie: Months 81 & 82

Dear Maddie,

Dude, you're right around the corner from seven. SEVEN! Ack! I don't even want to think about it. My sweet baby girl is growing and changing and maturing with each passing day. 

For Halloween you were the cutest black cat ever. Add to that the cutest pirate and monkey and you've got a picture that just melts hearts:

You continue to be the BEST big sister EVER and a tremendous help with Evan. You and Sam are not having the easiest time these days, but my goodness, I can't imagine how hard it would be without the attention you give our baby. You are so attentive to his needs and his cries. When something happens, you will pop up and run to his side, scoop him up, and start speaking so sweetly to him. You love to play with Evan and spend countless hours a week making him giggle. He absolutely adores you and looks for you all the time. I'm thankful for all the times you rescue small things from his mouth, keep him from falling over, and prevent him from going places he shouldn't. Thank you, Super Sister!

As much as we weren't surprised at Sam's less-than-agreeable approach to pictures, we anticipated your  total awesomeness. You plopped down in front of that camera, smiled wide, and basically were the perfect model. It cracked me up. For as much work as your two brothers took throughout the shoot, it was as if each time I had to attend to one of their needs, or to their disobedience, I would glance over to see you working it with Becky behind the camera, snapping away and laughing to herself. It was so fun to see your confidence, joy, and natural talent.

But what gave me the most joy this past month was your heart. Oh, my sweet girl, how I love the heart your Heavenly Father has given you. In response to a difficult situation at school, you acted in courage and strength and stood up for a friend to a bully. Your teacher and principal lauded your bravery and I treasured your compassionate heart. 

When you had no one to sit with at the lunch table, everything within my Mama's heart wanted to provide the best solution for you. I wanted to rescue you from loneliness. I wanted to pack treats to share to help you make friends. I wanted to show up at school with sushi and make your day. But, thankfully, the Lord led me to pray for you and with you. And in His divine love and grace, God showed you how good he is by meeting you in your loneliness, showing you he is your truest friend, and made your day just by revealing himself to you. Again I was reminded that my parenting pales in comparison to the real, tangible presence of a God who knows all, sees all, and is in all. Praise to our Father who parents you so well and allows me to be a witness to it all!!

Madeleine (as you prefer to be called these days), I am in awe of the girl you are becoming. Even when you are sassy and struggle to control your tongue, I still rejoice in your growing and maturing. I know you will test things out at home that you hear at school. Though it is hard, I have seen enough instances in which your heart shines through the ickiness. The love Christ has put in you, the compassion for other and the joy for life, these things will remain. The sass will pass (or so I keep reminding myself). I love you sweet girl.



Sam: Months 55 & 56

Big Buddy,

Your legs are a mile long, your new haircut makes you look ready for high school, and your vocabulary never ceases to amaze me. Please stop changing into a man-child.

You still love to dress up. For weeks before Halloween, you could be found in uniform wandering the aisles of Target, eating at Peet's Brass Rail, and frightening unsuspecting passers-by on the sidewalk. I love that you still love costumes and I especially love the different combinations you come up with (i.e., robot cowboy construction man).

On picture day you donned this dapper little number, bowtie, corduroy jacket and button up. You were so handsome I couldn't help but take you out to lunch. Your requests: a burger and root beer. How could I say no?

You are a sweet and affectionate big brother. Nearly every morning, you greet him with a "Hiiiii, Evan!" and a big kiss or hug. You can get baby brother laughing like nobody else (except maybe Maddie) and he adores your funny sounds. If anyone speaks and appreciates minion, it's Evan. I'm excited for the day he can play legos and dress up with you. I hope he gets your unique fashion sense, generosity, love of life, and eye for design.

It was not a huge surprise that you were less than amiable at our family pictures. I seem to remember a similar theme at the last photo session when you were two. Not much has changed: you're a man who knows what he wants, and sitting still for a camera is not on the short list. At the creek where we met for our session, you were much more interested in building a fort of big sticks, pretending fallen limbs were guns, and eating the promised bribe of M&Ms. That's my boy!

You are always stockpiling various items for very particular uses and surprising us with your entrepreneurial skills. Here you had set up a "weapons museum" and were hoping to invite all the neighbors to see. It was organized, comfortable, and perfectly Sam. Other stockpiles end up in the craziest places: there are "office supplies" under a desk in the garage, a "robot fort" on the side of the dresser in your room, and lord-knows-what in the space beneath the bed (there's a reason the trundle won't go completely underneath).

This last month you were a superstar for a series of tests as part of your ongoing speech assessment. You amazed me (and all the assessors) with your crazy smart brain. As it turns out, after all those tests, we discovered what we already knew: you're a super intelligent boy, with an incredible ability to sit and focus, who happens to have a very specific speech issue. We'll continue working with your speech teachers in preparation for Kinder next year, knowing that you've got so much going for you! I'm so proud of you, my smart boy.

You've got your Mama's heart. I'm so glad I get to be your Mama, even on the days you make me crazy. I'm always on my knees in prayer, trusting our God has a great plan for your life, bud!