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midnight snack.

29 Aug

Milk for you. Cheerios and blueberries for me. Just in case you ever wonder when we started having sleepovers–we didn’t wait one bit. You and me? We’re having a pajama party every night these days. Loving this snugly time with you when you’re just a bundle of scrunchy, warm love in my arms.

We pretty much exist in our own little world at this time of day–you, making sleepy-eyed faces at me and I, singing made up songs and trying to learn you in every move and detail. I’m fairly certain we get along alright so far. :)

loving you at every hour of the day and admiring your pretty little face,

your mama

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one week.

27 Aug

Sweet Baby Girl,

You are officially one week old (and almost a day, because I’m posting this to you so late). There’s so much I want to say to you already, and I’m not sure I’ll ever keep up with all of my thoughts for you from here on out, but I’ll certainly try. You’ve been home now for five days, give or take, and we’re all in love with you. I’ve never been so smitten, really…except for when we brought your brother home, which was equally as joy-filled and wonderful. All day long I keep thinking to myself, “This is the very best part of the day!” and the thing is, it’s true every time. You are as sweet as sweet can possibly be, and I just can’t get enough of you. Everything about you is a precious, precious gift!

Each day that’s gone by, I’ve wanted so badly to write you–and to tell you all about the day and what we did together as a family. Time is flying so quickly, though, and between caring for you and keeping up with your enthusiastic big brother, your daddy and I have had our hands full. We’ve spent the past number of days home as a family, learning how to be four and taking you in. Today was daddy’s first day back to work and I was admittedly a bit nervous. I didn’t know how I’d manage a newborn and a toddler all at once without sort of losing my wits, but we did it! Your daddy came home and we were all in one piece–showered, dressed, fed, somewhat rested, happy. And tonight, I’ll go to bed thrilled that you and H have both had baths, that there’s laundry in progress, that the dishes are done…the little things that will make a difference in our day tomorrow. Today went by more quickly than I imagined, as I suppose many of them will from here! I’m eager to explore the world with you and Henry together, and to watch you learn and grow with each other in a beautiful way.

Your big brother is quite taken with you and loves to hold and kiss you regularly. Today, he probably checked on you a dozen times in a span of 15 minutes, and each time he would say, “I will go check on Eloise! I will see if she is sad, or happy, or scared, or worried, or confused, or angry, or just fine.” It was the cutest thing, and he’d come back each time to tell me you were ok (and sleeping), and to repeat the process all over again. You’re in good hands with him to watch over you, Miss Eloise! I’m so glad that God gave you a big brother as thoughtful and gentle and loving as Henry, and I know you’ll be thankful, too.

You are a champion sleeper at the moment, really only waking to eat and staying awake a short time. You’ve even blessed your mama with 4 or so hours in a row of sleep each night for the past few–something I never expected but am so thankful for as I care for you throughout the day. We are working together to learn each other and to be in sync as best we can. I so love having you out in the world–just as much as I loved carrying you around in my belly for all of those months!

Ellie B (I’ll explain later…I know you’re Ellie Jo:), you are an absolute delight! I can’t wait to tell you so much more about who you are at this age, and how much joy and light you’re already bringing to our lives. For now, I’d better tuck in for a bit while you sleep–that way, we can all face the day with energy together tomorrow.

I love you so very much…I feel like I could burst!

certainly the luckiest,

your mama

this would have been (3).

21 Aug

Two and a half days ago, life was looking very different. Tonight, I’m sitting here, admiring my baby girl’s sweet face and enjoying the comforts of home. The boys are upstairs sleeping, the house is completely quiet, my heart is unbelievably full.

Our sweet peanut arrived just as I had prayed and hoped–six days early and healthy, healthy, healthy–praise The Lord! I’m totally overwhelmed by this new little life in our hands.

I skipped the blog last night because it just didn’t feel quite right to interrupt our time in the hospital, and it still feels kind of strange to be blogging from home, even now. Sometime in the next few days I’ll be back to tell the story–to share more about our babe and what God has been doing here. And I promise there will be plenty of pictures:)

In the meantime, we’ll be tucked in quietly, adjusting to the new normal, squeezing BOTH of our kiddos as often as possible, and resting whenever we’re given the chance. It’s a beautiful season I want to capture in every detail–it’ll just be soaking itself into my heart a bit first before I share it here on the blog.

looking forward to connecting with all of you very soon…

mm

a birthday and such.

19 Aug

Well, today turned out to be a bit busy from start to finish…for all of the most perfect reasons! We’ll be back to the blog tomorrow at some stage, but for tonight, 2,000 words in pictures:

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The loviest of loves. Indeed.

i’m going to bed one blessed and overjoyed mama tonight,

mm

in the waiting. (7)

17 Aug

I never expected to be this stir crazy. I am so taken with pregnancy and so much of what it entails, and I want to just love every last bit of it to pieces. Turns out I’m also really human. And I really, really want to meet this little person. The idea of seeing his or her face is fueling me forward and driving me nearly in circles. I think I ask God for peace and patience in every hour.

This morning was particularly hard for me. I woke up at 5:30a to a contraction, and they kept coming–every seven minutes, for two hours. I rested in bed, but my wheels were also turning. I’d tell J when he woke up. We’d have a slow morning with Henry. I wouldn’t have to wake anyone…I’d just call at a normal time of day to say that this was it–that things were in motion. I got up and started doing random things around the house that I suddenly wanted done. I was trying to strike a balance between being really excited and really practical. And then the contractions stopped.

Oh, the struggle I had for the next few hours, trying to figure out why this is my journey this time–nothing like the last time at all, and so much more like a tug of war for my heart. I’m wanting to have peace on everyone’s behalf, and instead, I’m here trying just to find some semblance of contentment while my mind swirls. What is with this newfound impatience? Where are all of my prayers going as I send them up? I know God hears and sees me, so what is the purpose in all of it?

Trust. I think it comes down to this very simple thing. God is saying to trust Him and His timing and His will for this baby’s entrance into the world. I also think God is asking me to quiet my heart in an otherwise noisy room. I thought I was good at this, and in seasons, I am. Right now, I feel like I’m attempting to learn the skill all over again.

I sat quietly on the couch this morning while the boys were still sleeping and prayed and read and tried to center myself on the thing I know. God is here and with me and has it all under control. I tried to exercise my ability to open up my hands and release the day, this week, my “due date,” the circumstances of this labor and delivery…all of it. And there were moments today when that happened. For this, I’m super grateful.

What’s working best is keeping somewhat busy and surrounding myself with lovely things and lovely people as I wait. And attempting to have a great deal more patience with myself than what I’m normally capable of. This is challenging with all of the tiredness and emotions in the mix, but I’m relying on God’s help to get to the right place. It’s probably when I do that this baby comes freely and without reservation. I pray that he or she will feel ushered into this world surrounded by a crazy amount of love and peace.

Tonight, I’ll go to bed tired and hopeful. Hopeful for a great new day tomorrow, for even more joy in the waiting, for grace to extend to myself and others. And tomorrow we’ll be one day closer to this little peanut and the newness of things again with a baby, fresh from Heaven, added to our lives.

it’s all worth the waiting, and i know that. i’m just having to relearn and relearn and relearn. ;)

breathing. deeply.

mm

bump love (and single digits!) (9)

15 Aug

We were so blessed to have a dear friend take photos of our little family a few weeks back. It was such a fun night out at the beach, and I will treasure these images forever. I haven’t seen them all yet, but here’s a few I just adore from our time together…So excited for this little peanut to get here and join our family! We’re in single digits towards our countdown–is that crazy or what?!

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so smitten with the button!

mm

the JOY of pregnancy. (11)

13 Aug

There is something truly remarkable about carrying an entire life inside of your own body, and this morning, as I walked downtown to pick up a cup of (decaf) coffee on my way to work, I couldn’t help but think once again just what a joy it is to be pregnant. I caught a reflection of myself in a shop window and laughed a little bit at the belly I’m toting out in front. I’ve had many an encounter with folks who want to comment on its gargantuan or petite and basketball-ish nature–no matter which Molly-belly measuring team you’re on, it’s certainly not a bump one could miss on my 5’1” frame at 38+ weeks along. And the truth is, despite some of the shockingly rude things people will say about one’s belly when with child, I LOVE my “bump” and all it contains. It’s not been a perfectly smooth road of pain free, high energy days and peaceful, sleep-filled nights, but it’s been a gorgeous journey of appreciating the growth and change as it happens and celebrating all of the love our whole family already feels for this unborn child. I’m not ashamed to be full of baby–there’s a whole human person within the confines of my tummy! What a blessed gift, and a glorious reminder of God’s faithfulness to us!

One year ago, I was still mourning the loss of our last pregnancy and wondering very much how God would redeem the hurt and struggle we were feeling as we thought about that missing babe. I trusted God, sure, but I certainly couldn’t see as far down the line as He could see–nor could I push past my own emotions to imagine a day like today. Now, just eleven days from our projected due date with the Button, I am sitting here on a crazy-beautiful summer afternoon with the breeze blowing through the windows, my two year old sleeping peacefully upstairs, and this tiny munchkin tickling my insides with its perfect little toes. I can fit into about five total items in my closet, and I could never think of a better reason to boast a limited wardrobe and weekly weight gain :)

I know that there are a lot of women around me who don’t love being pregnant, and an equally large number of women who do. I also know that there are numerous women in my surrounds and in the world who ache so desperately for a baby of their own, and who might read this and feel troubled by my bubbling over with delight at my current life station. My mama heart aches for those who can’t bear children themselves and desire it. My heart also deeply trusts and asks God to meet their hearts in the exact right time and place, knowing that He is the only thing that can fill a void so cavernous. As I celebrate the upcoming birth of our babe, I do not take the gift of this blessing at all lightly. Rather, I am humbled beyond measure that I could be a vessel for this particular child, and I pray that I’m always a thoughtful and careful steward of the life entrusted to us.

This afternoon, I am overwhelmed by the goodness and the fullness of this belly. I am equally moved by the number of people in our lives who already celebrate our soon-to-be-here tiny miracle along with us. It is an amazing season! I will do my best to continue to be patient for this, the second of God’s greatest surprises to us in this lifetime. In the meantime, I’m like a child on Christmas Eve, over and over and over again. I can hardly wait to see what our little bundle contains!!

radiating from the inside,

mm

dear henry. (12)

12 Aug

Hey Buddy,

I know you won’t read this now, but maybe you’ll find it someday when you’re older…when you have a young boy of your own, perhaps, or when you’re preparing to welcome baby number two into your world from the dad side of things. This has been an awesome and hard season for you, little man. You are no doubt as excited as a two year old might be about becoming a big brother, but the changes taking shape in our family are clearly having a challenging impact on you as well. I’m sorry. I don’t know how to do this better for you than we’re already trying to: showering as much love and attention on you as we can afford and working hard to explain and involve you in this baby process as much as possible.

This weekend you helped your daddy put up a baby gate on the nursery (to keep the pup out, of course:), and you were so proud of your efforts and contribution. Today as we were playing catch, you told me you would share your ball with baby, and I was so proud instead. I thought earlier on that maybe you knew something we didn’t…you’ve been singing “Happy Birthday” to the baby all day, and you asked me to “tell her it’s her birthday today” more than once. You could still be right that the Button is a baby girl, but unless he or she makes a freight train kind of entrance in the next hour and a half, today will (sadly) not be baby’s birthday. I would love it if you would keep guessing and singing, anyway. It’s really quite endearing and sweet.

Today was a very long day for both of us, and I feel like you’re lashing out a bit as things change. I wish this weren’t the case, although I understand it as best I can. I hope we can work together over the next number of weeks to help you feel at home and at peace. I promise that baby brother or sister will be one of the best gifts I can give you in the long run.

So, clever, charming, animated, energetic, frustrated, lovable, wonderful, curious, kind boy, this is to say that I love you with my whole heart. You are not losing anything more than some lap time with mommy as you gain a sibling. I hope that over the months to come, you stop feeling the growing pains as much and start feeling the joy that comes with a constant playmate, a partner in crime, and a live-in best friend. You are going to be a great leader and caretaker for this little baby on the way. He or she is already quite blessed to call you brother! I can’t wait for you both to meet, to see you snuggle him or her for the first time, to show the pride you feel as you care for and help and pray over baby. I have no doubt you will.

i love you forever and ever and ever, and nothing will ever change that. i hope somewhere in your two year old heart, you can comprehend just a bit of how much we treasure and adore you.

xo, your mama

no rush. (16)

8 Aug

I read a great article this morning about the lesson of not rushing our children as we parent. It’s so easy to say, “hurry up,” to our kids–even at a very young age, but as impressionable as they are, it’s not safe to assume that our hurry isn’t having a long-term impact. In my case, I think I say things like, “Come on, buddy. We’ve really got to go,” or “We’re going to be late,” or “I really need you to go faster right now.” I’m not sure whether the occasional comment in this vein will cause heaps of damage, but I can certainly see how day after day of rushing our littles along could really add up to undue stress or worry as they grow older.

It was helpful to think of Henry as the article suggested: he’s a noticer, taking things in everywhere we go and not missing a beat. Admittedly, this is sometimes wearing as a parent–the constant report of all that we see or pass by can be daunting on even a really great day. But the reality is that Henry notices all of the good things. He doesn’t miss a single one. He readily stops to smell flowers, or to look at an ant pile…to point out a “cute little doggie!” or a “little tiny baby!” as he scrunches up his nose in delight.

In moments like tonight, H pauses what he’s doing to put his hand on my belly and say hello to the baby–not with words, but with a gentle tap on my tummy and a sweet look on his face like he’s absolutely planned to take the moment with his soon-to-be-here sibling. He lists off everyone when we talk about family, never missing a single member and sometimes going back, just to make sure. I could easily be irritated by all of the extra that comes with so much observing and caution and double checking, but it’s really an amazingly sweet part of who Henry is and who he’ll undoubtedly become.

I don’t know exactly how often I suggest to Henry in one way or another that we need to get moving, but I’m going to try to be more cognizant of it either way. I want him to feel the freedom to take a moment for something that matters to him–to observe, to learn, to appreciate. And I need him to be himself as the constant reminder he is for our little family–that life is precious and all too short, and that we should savor the little things and make big things out of them sometimes. Our noticer is a gift…one that two very Type A and busily scheduled people will benefit from (and do benefit from) forever. I’m so glad that another parent had the thought to share about her experience with “hurry ups,” reflecting exactly why our lives can live without them. We may end up late sometimes, and the otherwise normal parts of the day might take a different shape. But our little buddy (and his future sibling) might continue to teach us a thing or two about patience and genuine living in the process. Certainly, God is glorified in Henry’s childlike heart and curiosity and joy!

always learning to learn from our munchkin…and excited to learn from the button soon, too!

mm

blueberries with papa. (17)

7 Aug

Tonight was as Pure Michigan as Michigan gets for me. My heart could not be happier. My dad is in town visiting for today and part of tomorrow, and it’s likely been the best Wonderful Wednesday we’ve had all summer (and we’ve had a lot of great ones!). The weather was perfect. We grabbed morning coffee downtown. Farmer’s Market. Visits with friends along the way. Peaches, watermelon, fresh bread, cherries, and a rainbow of peppers. Stops at TWO toy stores. A leisurely lunch at home. Naps for all. Dinner with three generations of my favorite boys (Papa, Daddy, and Henry:). Blueberry picking in the breeze. Sail boats and a sunset and sand on Lake Michigan. Ice cream. Baby tagging along in my belly the whole way.

Did I miss anything? Could I possibly have? Truly, this has been one of the most beautiful days I can remember in a long time. I am so full of gratitude.

I can’t do the memories justice, but pictures can. Here’s a tribute to the day (or at least our evening) in photographs. We’ll all sleep well tonight after this…

yum.

hello, pretty little darlings!

one seriously good blueberry picker.

one seriously good blueberry picker.

summer memories in the making.

summer memories in the making.

"look, daddy! a huge one!"

“look, daddy! a huge one!”

can't beat 'em. so pretty!

can’t beat ‘em. so perfect!

blue stripes, blueberries, baby bump.

blue stripes, blueberries, baby bump.

rows and rows of summer delight.

rows and rows of summer delight.

really, i just can't get enough of this!

really, i just can’t get enough of this!

And this…

so much goodness in one place!

so much goodness in one place!
boat watching with daddy.

boat watching with daddy.

me and my dad. and a baby-to-be!

me and my dad. and the baby-to-be!

wonderful wednesday? check.

wonderful wednesday? check.

Just a whole heaping lot of goodness in one place. My heart and spirit needed a day like today. The Lord is so gracious to me!

filled up to the very brim,

mm

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