Showing posts with label Babies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Babies. Show all posts

Always My Baby




We are on the countdown to Clarice's first birthday, and I laid in bed last night thinking, How did this happen? Where did the last year go?  Clarice still seems so little to me, but she is growing so much!

Her little personality just keeps singing through more and more, and it cracks me up.  She's my little firecracker.  When she is unhappy, you know it, and when she is happy, you know it.  She screeches either way, and you have to look at her face to see whether she's happy or mad.  Most of the time it's happy though, and I love her little grin!  She has the sweetest smile, but when she is really amused by something she'll grin and scrunch her eyes - it almost looks like a grimace, but it's just her expression to show she's excited.



She is suddenly much more mobile, and she's been crawling and climbing on everything.  She's figured out how to crawl on her hands and knees, and she pulls up with furniture onto her feet now.  The first time I came in her room and found her standing, she scrunched her face and bounced up and down, so proud of herself.

Her hair has definitely started filling in, and she has little blond curls at the back of her head.  I love them so much, and hope they stick around for a while.  Her eyes are still bright blue, and I love seeing how different colors bring them out.



Clarice has four little teeth.  I have a feeling more will be popping through soon, but for now I love the four she has, the way they shine when she smiles.  She puts them to good use too, and she dug right into a full peach at the peach festival - I looked down and suddenly there was a two-tooth bite out of one of the peaches in our bag, so we let her have at it!



The other day I was swinging her at the park, and her little hands were white-knuckling the sides of the swing.  She looked up and gave me a face somewhere between afraid and excited, and it cracked me up.  Do you remember that movie, Chicken Run?  Her little afraid face made her face look just like that, barely smiling eyes and a little horizontal oval of a mouth with four little teeth in the middle.  It cracked me up and made me want to scoop her right up, but she decided the swing was fun and laughed then, so we continued on with it.  I do believe she's a fan now.



We stopped nursing last month.  I knew I would wean her sometime around one year, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized didn't need that kind of emotion to deal with when I would already be handling a bittersweet first birthday.  She had been nursing less and my supply was decreasing, and one day after church I was nursing her in her room and she fell asleep.  I was sitting there, praying about when to stop, and I just got this feeling like this would be a good time.  I didn't want to not remember her last time nursing; I didn't want it to peeter off without my noticing, until I was left wondering what happened.  So I memorized every little feature, her sweet little eyelashes and arms wrapped around me, and then I laid her down, closed the door to her room, and cried a little.  It was a good decision though.  I have the sweet memories to hold, and we are both enjoying a little more freedom.  She still falls asleep in my arms when I give her a bottle.



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My Sweet Clarice,

I know you are getting bigger, but you still just seems like this little thing to me.  Your feet are still tiny, and I just have this mental picture of you as my tiny baby - but you're really not.  You're almost one.  As with all of you kids, I'm hanging on to every little bit of babyness in you that I can.  I love it when you snuggle with me, or fall asleep in my arms, or reach up your hands for me to pick you up.  I love the way you sit on my hip, or rub your eyes when you're tired.  I love the way you still hesitate when you crawl on your hands and knees.  I love the way you bury your little face against my chest when you are scared or hurt.  I'm hanging on to all of these evidences that you are still my itty bitty baby, because someday soon I'll turn around and realize you've become a toddler.  And I'll be sad then, but not too sad because you'll give me joy in every season - and because you should know, darling, that you'll always be my baby.  I love you more than words.

-Mama

My Answer To The "How Do You Do It All?" Question



I balanced Clarice on my hip as I took the papers from the pediatrician.  The kids were driving their Hot Wheels cars on the white, probably non-sterile exam room floor (I cringe just typing that), and I asked them to stand up again as I attempted to listen to the doctor’s instructions.  I got everyone on their feet, tossed the papers she gave me under the stroller and thanked her as she complimented my skirt.  Then our pediatrician asked how I managed to look so put together with so many kids.

First Watermelon And Words


 


Well, my sweet girl is ten months old, and this post is very late.

July seemed to sweep by in a hurry this year, and I woke up at the beginning of August realizing that we haven't even done anything this summer, excluding vacation.  And since we haven't done anything interesting, I've been slacking on taking pictures of the kids, which means Clarice's imaginary nine month album is going to be rather sparse.  Poor Clarice!  I'll just explain as much about her little personality I can instead.

This month the scrunch-nose smile has returned, and it is so darn cute with her four new teeth.  Two upper and lower teeth have popped through her little gums, and it makes her look slightly older and even more impossibly cute.  When she is happy she'll jerk her arms up and down (kind of like that old dance "the jerk" - look it up), and she gives the biggest grin, nose scrunched and four teeth shining, and little blond curls poking out from the back of her head.



This month Clarice officially said her first word - which I am counting as "da" for Derek. Up until now it has mostly been happy screeches and tongue clicks.  I think she would be right at home in one of those South American tribes that uses clicking in their language.  It is hilarious how much she enjoys clicking her tongue!  But she recently started saying "da" when Derek arrived home from work, and it seemed more intentional than in the past.  Shortly following "da", she started saying "hi".  Only imagine the word "hi" drawn out with a strong southern belle accent, with no actual long "i" sound.  Then she figured out how to combine her only two words, and when Derek arrived home she said "hi da", like a little Georgian native, even though we've never been to Georgia in this family's life.    No "mama" is in sight.



When I realized that we hadn't done anything this summer, I took us to a park with water fountains.  The fountains are down some steps in this little concrete bowl, but the draining system must not have been working the day we went because it was full of three inches of water.  I plopped her down in it anyway, and she had so much fun, smacking the water with her little hands and grinning up at me.  The kids would run by and splash her little face, and she would look briefly startled and then scrunch her nose and laugh again.

I bumped her up to size 4 diapers, not because she fills them out but because they seem to work better at night right now.  She is probably between a size 3 and 4.  Her favorite thing to do is eat finger foods and pouches of puree, and if everyone else is eating but her, you will hear about it.  She screeches, with a very serious look on her face, to let you know when she is unhappy.  She was very focused and clearly thrilled with her first slice of watermelon this month; she felt like such a big girl, eating the same thing as everyone else.  Give her a rice puff cookie or a slice of apple and she is happy as a clam, but she has recently started boycotting green vegetable purees.  Only the green ones.  It doesn't matter if it is 90% apple and mango, if there is a green vegetable in it she (literally) turns her nose up at it.  She seems far too young to be this picky.  We have been nursing twice a day.



My favorite moments this month have been when she falls asleep in my arms, because she doesn't do that as much anymore, and I've noticed.  I'm going to miss it when she stops.  She falls asleep, and her sweet little dark eyelashes brush her smooth skin.  Her lips are pink, her elbows are dimpled, and a little blond curl sticks out on top of her head.  My own living baby doll, with her little breath brushing against me.



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My Sweet Clarice,

This month was quiet and sweet with you my darling.  We really didn't do much except just live.  There have been lots of days of playing, lots of peek-a-boo, lots of baby giggles and splashing in the kiddie pool.  Lots of grins, and naps, and snuggles.  Lots of little baby arms reaching up, because even now you are happiest when I'm holding you - and those are my happy moments too, with your little head resting against my shoulder.  I love you Sweet Girl, more every day.

-Mama

Five Books To Give As Baby Shower Gifts


When I was registering for my first baby shower, I had one strategy - register for only the things I absolutely need.

No cutesy outfits.  No blankets. No stuffed animals.  No Sophie The Giraffe or womb-sound alarm clocks or knit hats.  Only the necessities.


We Have A Dream Vacation Baby



Clarice is nine months old, and is officially a dream vacation baby.

We went on a camping trip to Wyoming this year, which I'm hoping to write more about, and I was prepared to end the week in a zombie-like state from lack of sleep.  But Clarice barely cried during the long hours in the car, and I would look back to see her little feet sticking out of her carseat, moving happily.  Feet can move happily, you know.  Clarice has very expressive feet. She loved the campsite, and she went straight to sleep when we laid her down at night, usually only waking up once.  I was shocked by how rested I felt each day, and it was the best vacation surprise.

Then she got her first tooth.  On vacation!  And we barely even noticed.  To say we were impressed is an understatement.  Clarice, you can go camping with us anytime.



So among the firsts this last month was first time camping (on the outside), first tooth, and first time swimming.  Clarice has also started scooting along the floor, in her own, undefined way.  I hardly ever seem to see her actually moving, but I'll turn around and when I look back she is halfway across the floor.  She has figured out how to get from laying down to sitting up by herself too.

Sleeping before vacation was so-so, on vacation it was wonderful, and since we've been home it's been not so wonderful.  She has been waking up 3-4 times each night, but in the little one's defense, she has also been sick.  She has a sniffly nose, and it's so sad to see her smiling through eyes all red and nose running.

She has taken the happy noises to a new level this month via "the happy screech".  Sometimes one of the kids will be playing with her, and I'll hear the screech and start to scold the older ones for making her cry, but then I'll realize she's laughing!  Her brothers and sister can make her laugh so easily, and I love to see their relationship develop.  Her face lights up whenever she spots her siblings.


She is loving her solid foods still, but she gets a frustrated with purees.  She will eat them, but she looks so longingly at everyone else's food.  She is most happy when I give her a piece of fruit or a vegetable that she can gnaw to death.  I'm not sure how much makes it to her stomach, but it's so cute watching her try.

She's still half nursing, half bottle feeding, and I think I'm hanging on for the night and nap time feedings alone.  Derek enjoys giving her a bottle at night because she curls in and falls asleep while she eats, and I like to nurse her still for the same reason.  She curls her little legs up against my stomach and falls asleep while she eats, and I just love it.  It's the easiest way to get her to fall asleep in my lap, and I want to hang on to it for a while longer.



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Dear Clarice,

Darling, you have grown so much this month!  All of a sudden you are so much more independent.  You are happy playing by yourself, feeding yourself, and falling asleep by yourself.  But you still reach for me, sometimes when things are not right in your world, and sometimes just because you want to be with me.  It's sweet to see you grow more and more, and honey to my heart when you still reach up for me.  I love you, my sweet darling.

-Mama

She's Still A Baby, I Tell You





Sometimes life gets away from you and you realize that your baby daughter turned seven months old two weeks ago, and you never wrote an update for her.  Oops!  Life is busy around here right now, to say the least.  In addition to continuing to work on our home updates (we're getting so close!), it seems that every other day I have been driving into town for some activity.  Not so this week.  As Derek termed it, I am boycotting all events this week that aren't strictly necessary, just because I am in such desperate need of a break.

Why I Pick Birthday Party Themes Early ($150 Minted Giveaway)



Disclaimer:  This post on planning for a first birthday party is brought to you in partnership with Minted.com, and contains affiliate links.  I was given credit to order products to review for this post.   All opinions are my own.

When I was growing up, we didn't have birthday parties every year.  There are a few birthday parties that I specifically remember, filled with balloons, streamers, and organized games.  But so many years we just stayed home, maybe had a friend or my grandparents over for dinner and presents.  Looking back now as a mom myself, I think my parents struck the perfect balance.  Birthday parties were fun and special, but we didn't expect a big party every year.

To The Newlywed Who Is Afraid To Have A Baby

(From our maternity session with Clarice, our fourth baby.)


To The Newlywed Who Is Afraid To Have A Baby,

First, I'd like to say that being afraid to have a baby is more common than you might think.  This fear has been a recurring theme around me in the last several months.  There are many among my friends and acquaintances that I know have thought deeply about this, but I don’t want that fear to grow to an unreasonable level for them or you.  So I thought it was time to sit down and share some thoughts from a mother who can really no longer call herself “new”.

Learning To Laugh




I was standing in the kitchen, making dinner and cleaning up, when I heard it.  A little hiccup-type sound.  Wyatt was laughing, and I was afraid Clarice was upset about something, so I rounded the corner to see Clarice on the couch, giggling at Wyatt's antics.

Clarice has laughed since about two and half months old, and it usually sound like a drawn out "huh/hee" sound.  But this time she hiccup-giggled along with it.  It's hilarious to watch her laugh, because it is almost like she doesn't know how and it surprises her when it bubbles out.  It grows from a "ha" noise to a gurgle-chuckle.  I can't even describe it, but I love it so much.

7 Things To Save For A Baby Box




Sitting in a closet in my house is a plastic tub.  It doesn't look like much, but it's one of those things that always goes on the list of things I would take if we were evacuated for a natural disaster.  Because inside, carefully preserved by my mom, are keepsakes from my childhood.  It's my baby box.

It resides in my closet, but my baby box has been a part of my life for a while.  Growing up I remember how fun it was to open up our baby boxes every now and then and have my mom show us all the things she had saved from our baby days.  There were stories and memories to go with each item, and hearing the stories from my mom's perspective made me feel special.  Every time we opened it I looked forward to starting baby boxes for my kids one day, and maybe giving them a few of the things from mine. 

Now I have four children, and I have little baby boxes started for each of them. What do you put in a baby box?  I'm glad you asked.  These are a few basics that I have included in my kids' boxes.

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Photos.  

We take so many pictures of our kids these days, but so few get printed up.  I recommend taking a picture of your darling with each of the following items and including the photos in your box! It's so interesting to look at some of the things in my own baby box, and then see pictures of myself as a baby with those same items.  So print up a few of those pictures, and tuck them in your child's box.



Coming home outfit.  

We have two boys and two girls, and even though we are utilizing the hand-me downs, one thing I do not re-use is my kids' going-home outfits.  For each of the kids I bought a special outfit after finding out the gender specifically for them to wear home from the hospital, and when they outgrew it, it went into the box.

Baby book.  

Do I forget to fill things out some of the blanks in baby books?  Yes.  But I do try to write down as many milestones and memories as I can.  I don't think it matters if every blank space is filled - they kids will love to read about themselves as babies someday.  Hint: baby books don't have to be fancy or perfect - a notebook with a few memories is just as special!

Magazine or newspaper from birthdate.  

It's just fun to see what the world was like when you were born!  Include some publication from the year your kids were born that they can flip through (and maybe laugh at) someday.

Something from the nursery.  

This could be a special blanket that you made or bought, personalized artwork, a monogrammed item - anything that holds significance for you.  Bonus point if it's something your child can use for their own kids one day!

Favorite baby toys.  

Anything that your child particularly enjoyed at one time and that you would like to keep can go in the box.  Don't go crazy - you can't keep everything!  But it's nice to include a few of their treasured toys.  In Clyde's box we have a wubbanub that he was particularly attached to when he was a newborn - it was a short-lived phase, but I had to keep it!


Baby shoes.

There is something incredibly precious about baby feet.  Baby shoes are the perfect thing to include because it is a symbol of just how tiny they were at one time, and how much they have grown!  

If you are looking for the perfect baby shoes for your little darling, I have a great shop for you!  We just received these adorable shoes for Clarice, and I am just in love with them!

(Note: We received this pair of shoes for free in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.)

These little shoes are called Moccasinis, hand-crafted baby moccasins from this new Etsy shop.  These are soft, flexible baby shoes, so they are comfortable and gentle enough for even brand-new babies to wear.  They come in tiny sizes (like these that fit Clarice's three-month feet), up to toddler sizes!  Jessica, the owner of Moccasins and my friend, was even able to make these so they fit Clarice's itty bitty feet exactly.  You can check out the Moccasini shop here to see all the styles, or follow on Facebook to keep updated on new inventory!



As I said, I know the owner of this shop personally, and she does beautiful work - these shoes are so well-made.  There are many different styles to choose from, for baby girls and boys.  I am going to cram Clarice's feet into these as long as I can because they are so cute - and when she outgrows them, they will be a perfect reminder of just how tiny her feet were when I dig them out and look at them when she's grown!

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Even though my heart breaks a little each time I put something inside it, I am looking forward to sharing these baby boxes with my kids someday.  I treasure each of these little days with my babies, and I hope someday they can look through their boxes and know how much I love them and treasure every minute I have with them.


Are you creating any sort of keepsake box for your kids?  
What do you put in your kids' boxes?






Bible Verses For New Moms



If there is one thing I have learned about motherhood, it's that we all transition into it differently.  Some sail into motherhood on a cloud.  Everything comes easily, and they enjoy every minute of it.  Others crash into motherhood with a rude awakening, and it looks nothing like they thought it would.

But every mom I know would say how much she loves being a mom, and one look into those precious little faces just puts everything into perspective, no matter the entrance into this mothering journey.

Still, I can guarantee there will come a time when you need some encouragement as a mom.  Maybe it's right away when you just need to make it through one more sleepless night, or maybe it will be a couple years down the road when you have a rough day and worry you are messing your kids up.  Sometimes you just need that extra boost to remind you that the work you are doing has significance.  Every ounce of energy you put into you kids matters, more than you think.  It matters to your kids, and it matters to God.



So to help remind you, I wanted to share some Bible verses that I find encouraging on those days when mothering is hard.  If you are in a rough patch, I hope these will bring you some hope!  And if you are feeling like you have this mom thing down, just tuck this post away for a time when it doesn't feel so easy.



I have broken these down into times of day - I know I need different reminders in the morning than I do in the evening.  Memorize these verses so you can bring them to mind when you need them (you can even teach them to your kids while you are at it)!


For The Morning

"The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

I love this verse for rough days, because it reminds me that no matter how badly I mess up, the Lord loves me and tomorrow is a fresh day.


"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24

The best wake-up verse you could ask for!


"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are."  1 John 3:1

When you look at the cute little faces of your children, remember that the Lord loves you even more than you love them!


For Mid-Day

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ."   Colossians 3:23-24

Motivation to keep going strong - because when we are serving our families, we are really serving Jesus!


For The Evening

"Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." Philippians 2:14-15

When you are starting to feel "the witching hour" (i.e. the hour before dad gets home when everyone goes crazy), remember this verse.  I don't know about you, but I want to be a light in the world, and be an example to my kids by not grumbling when I feel like it.  Still working on this one.


"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoicing usually comes more naturally in the morning when I am refreshed and energetic!  I typically need the reminders to rejoice and give thanks more in the evening, when I am tired.


For The Middle Of The Night

"When you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:3-4

This verse is about giving to the poor, but the concept of being seen by God when we give sacrificially without drawing attention to ourselves is also encouraging to me as a mom.  

"May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge."  Ruth 2:12

My prayer for you, friends!  Seek refuge in Him, be faithful in this work of loving and training your children, and may the Lord reward your work!


And as a little pre-Valentine's day gift to my newsletter subscribers, I am giving you these verses as free printables!  Somehow I find it easier to remember a verse if it is printed on a pretty card.  I hope you enjoy these cards and find the verses an encouragement like I do!

If you are already a subscriber to my blog newsletter, these should be sitting in your inbox - if you are not a subscriber, sign up below, and I'll send them to you within a week!  These cards also stack well with my printable verses for labor.  

I am so grateful for all of you who take time to read my musings! Enjoy!

Please note: These printable are for personal use only.  Do not redistribute or sell in any way.  Giving them in printed form as a gift is fine, but please redirect people to this post for the digital files.  Thanks guys!










Why We Are Only "Probably" Done Having Babies



“So are you done?”

I was a bit taken aback, not by her question, but by the tone.  We have been asked many times since having Clarice if we think we will have any more.  I know people are curious, because it is unusual to have four kids these days (even though really, it’s not that many, people!).  But this seemed more in-your-face than the normal questioning.

I gave my standard answer.  “Yeah, probably.”

I knew as soon as I uttered that second word that it was a mistake this time.

Probably?

Yes.  Derek and I are very happy with four kids, and that’s all we ever really talked about having.  We are done.

Probably. 

I guess when you already have four kids people expect you to know 100% whether you are having any more.  But lately, every time I am asked, I can’t quite make myself drop the “probably” from my answer.

Dainty Little Feet


(Clarice's dainty little three-month feet.)


One of my favorite things about Clarice is her feet.  I just remember looking at her little feet when she was born, and they were so dainty.  One of my favorite things to do is put her in the baby carrier and grab those little feet with my hands.  They are so tiny, my palms just wrap around them.

I grabbed her feet a few days ago, and as I felt her delicate toes, I realized that her feet had grown.  Still dainty.  But now the arch of her foot doesn't nestle into the space between my thumb and finger quite the same way.

Obviously she needs to grow, but it doesn't stop me from wishing her feet would stay tiny forever.

How I Found The Christmas Spirit

(Even though it's out of focus, there is just something I like about this picture.)

Derek went Christmas shopping for me on Monday.  I have a strong suspicion on what he might have bought me (I won't write it here and ruin it for him if I'm right).  Whatever it is, I am sure seeing what my husband picked out for me will make up for the fact that I was left to put the kids to bed alone.


Managing Baby And Toddler Schedules




A few months ago I went to a party of a friend.  She used one of those e-invite systems (I'm still not sure what I think about them, because I'm old-school and still send party invites through the mail).  With e-invites you can usually see everyone else's comments about their RSVP - and I was in a curious mood, so I read through some of the responses.

One comment in particular caught my eye - someone said they couldn't come to my friend's party because the party was in the evening, and their toddler usually went to bed at 7:00 PM.  

The comment struck me, I think in part because I understand even more than most how miserable things can get when your child is cranky and tired.  I have four kids under five, three of whom still nap and also go to bed at 7:00 PM.  When one of the kids cries, at least a couple more join in.


How Do You Hold On To The Moments?

How Do You Hold On To The Moments? | Through Clouded Glass

I had an afternoon with half the kids the other day.

Maybe I should back up a bit.  Life has been busy but good.  I am slowly figuring out this four kid thing, but I'm not going to lie, our house is rarely peaceful these days!  Derek took the boys with him to process his deer last weekend (we really only eat wild game, and it saves us a ton of money in beef costs), and I was left with only Gwen and Clarice.

I forgot how quiet the house is when there are half the kids around.  On the one hand, it was nice to have a relatively peaceful afternoon.  On the other hand, I almost cried kissing those sweet little boy faces goodbye, even if it was only for a few hours.


What I Never Knew About Being An Aunt

What I Never Knew About Being An Aunt | Through Clouded Glass



"We're having a baby!"


As those words fell joyfully from my sister's lips, I began a journey that has been one of my most treasured aspects of my life. I gained a title before my name and it changed my world. 

"You get to have all the fun of kids and at the end of the night you get to give them back!"



This is the tongue in cheek attitude towards being an aunt that everyone talks about, 

but there is so much more that no one ever discusses. 


One Month Later




Have you ever had that experience where an event simultaneously seems so recent and so long ago?  That is how I am feeling right now thinking about Clarice's birth.  Has it really been a month already?  But at the same time, how is it that a month ago we didn't even know this little darling yet?  It seems like she has always been here!


Clarice's Birth Story



Natural Hospital Birth Story | Through Clouded Glass


To start out this birth story, you have to realize that I was pretty convinced this entire pregnancy that I wouldn’t be pregnant past the middle of September.  Both of the times that I went into labor on my own my babies were born before I hit 39 weeks pregnant.  On top of that, during the last month and a half of my pregnancy I had many Braxton Hicks and several days where I felt cramps, which is how both of my previous natural labors started.  I was sure my girl would be coming at the same time or sooner than Gwen and Clyde did.  

The last couple months of my pregnancy I was also psyching myself out about labor.  They say that once you see that baby you forget about the labor pain, but for some reason that wasn’t true for me after Clyde.  When I saw his face all that labor pain was instantly worth it, but the memory of it did not fade.  I remembered pretty vividly how badly it had hurt, and during the last month I found myself jumping at every perceived sign of early labor, mostly out of nervousness of what lay ahead.  


36 Weeks - We Are Having A Baby This Month!



You know what I find annoying?  The way they, whoever "they" are, decided to move back the marker for reaching "term" in a pregnancy.  It used to be 36 weeks back when I was pregnant with Wyatt, and 37 weeks was full term.  Now I think 37 weeks is term, and 38 weeks is full term?  I don't know, I just know I have reached 36 weeks, which would mean I have reached term if this were four years ago!


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