Friday, May 27, 2016

The story of her name

Winslow Morley.  It's kind of a big name for such a tiny, sweet girl, which is why we've been calling her Winnie.

Her middle name is after her four-greats grandma, whose name was Lady Jane Anne Morley.  Her first name has been handed down to many of the beautiful women on my mom's side as a middle name.  We almost used Anne (we [fine, I] hesitated sharing her name at first because we [I] still weren't certain), but I've just always loved the sound of Morley.  Lady Jane was a duchess in England who fell in love with her Irish gardener (insert a muffled Victorian gasp.  No title!  No money!  IRISH!  The horror!) and was disowned by her parents after she eloped with him.  They came to America and had 19 children.  Because love.  Love wins.

Now for her first name.  I think there's something really special about siblings having a letter or sound to link their names, probably because I grew up with that with my sister and always liked it.  No matter how old they grow, no matter what last name the girls are given someday, they can still list each other's names together and be connected.  Waverly, Wilder and Winslow.  With a mama named Whitney and a nana named Wendy and great-grandpa named William and more.

Nearly two years ago we were traveling in Cape Cod for a cousin's wedding and we kept seeing the name "Winslow."  It had such a pretty ring to it, and I looked up the meaning and saw the origins are linked to meaning friendship and to hills.  I loved the friendship part (what is life without friendship?) and the nature connection since that was a link to both Waverly and Wilder.  I have also always loved Winslow Homer's works of art, especially since so many of his paintings are of farms and the seaside.  It felt like another connection to my family and to my artist mama.  I told Lenny, "Winslow.  It's so pretty.  If we ever have a third...and if she were a girl...I think I would want to name her Winslow."

Fast-forward a year and we were shocked to see the second line on the pregnancy test.  Through all those long months of horrendous nausea I just kept scrolling through names, trying to call my baby by name in my heart.  It helped me feel connected and excited on the days when I just thought I wouldn't make it.  There were so many options we loved for a boy, but for a girl?  We just kept coming back to Winslow.

But we didn't feel certain until I was re-reading a beloved Narnia book, the one that happens to be my husband's favorite, called A Horse and His Boy.  One of the characters is a horse named Hwin (pronounced "Win") who is humble, kind, and loving.  And there is this scene, this beautiful scene, where after all the characters' trials suddenly there is Aslan (the Jesus-figure of Narnia) in all of his lionly, scary, beautiful splendor and instead of running like any horse would be be expected,

"...There was about a second of intense silence.

Then Hwin, though shaking all over, gave a strange little neigh, and trotted across to the Lion.

'Please,' she said, 'you're so beautiful.  You may eat me if you like.  I'd sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else."

'Dearest daughter,' said Aslan, planting a lion's kiss on her twitching, velvety nose, 'I knew you would not be long in coming to me.  Joy shall be yours.'"

It's one of my favorite moments in all literature.

Oh, sweet Winnie baby, but that you would know the joy of running to Jesus.  You, and your sweet, name, are so precious to us.  May your name remind you of your roots and where to always run first.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Santa 2015

My girl holding Santa's hand.
Oh, Santa.  Thank you for giving us a little moment of magic.

There is a house down the street from us with a family who loves Christmas.  They have a massive light display all over their yard and they let people come from miles around to walk around their yard and they are so kind that Santa even visits on the weekend.

 Sweet Pea was her usual shy self, but she managed to tell Santa all about her beloved Sylvie and that she wants a toy camper for Sylvie for Christmas.  Peanut stared and stared at this interaction, and I told him it was time to tell Santa what he was hoping for Christmas.  Peanut hesitated and I gave his hand a little tug.  Then I swear he squared his little shoulders, dropped my hand, walked straight to Santa's knee and in his loudest voice announced,


Santa looked a bit confused and asked him what he wanted, so Peanut repeated.

"BWAZE.  Monsh-maeens."  (Blaze and the Monster Machines.)

Then he climbed right into Santa's lap and the shot I snapped is blurry because I was laughing too hard.

Thank you, Santa.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Halloween 2015

A "Fairy Princess Riding a Unicorn" and a "Dragon."

I'm still laughing.  Peanut thought he was the scariest and sweetest dragon in the world.  True to just-turned-two form, he caught on to trick-or-treating awfully fast.  He loved stomping all "scary" up the walk, saying "tick-teee", getting his treat, then yelling, "HAP-HA-EEEEEN!"  He kind of stole of the show at every house.  Sweet Pea felt very beautiful and yelling, "Yah!" at her unicorn and then running away.  She only fell like, twice.

They are so fun.











Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Snow day

Just a sneaky snow day.  The kind that started with hearing about maybe flurries and suddenly you wakes up to inches of powdered sugar.

So we tried to play, but didn't last long.  It was cold!

 Maybe I over did it just a touch

He just cracked us up in that snow suit.  He really couldn't move, and would just flop over and get stuck like a beached whale.  He would try and try to get up and then get frustrated.  But he tried and tried so gallantly!

So then we gave up because we couldn't do much with such dry, powdery snow and came in and made cookies, which took forever to set up but was worth it for their happy little hands.  


I love that hat hair.

Monday, January 05, 2015

How big and still so small

Oh Lord, don't let me forget.

Don't let me forget the way he giggled, always giggles, all through his bath.

How he wiggled with smiles during his after-bath kisses, the horse one and the nose one and the fish one and especially the doggie one.

How he chose his books and sat so quietly for a page or two, my voice quickening to help him make it through to the end.  It's hard to make it to the end for him, always it is hard.

How he kissed his sister and she hugged him close with that little voice lilting, "Goodnight, Wilder, sweet boy" or "handsome" because already I am forgetting but always it is the same.

How we stood and clicked the light and turned to stand beside the crib, facing our silhouette on the wall.  How he tucked against me like he always does, his little monkey legs bending and lifting at the knees around me, and immediately I sway and I sing and little sigh heaves as his arms fold in and his forehead thunks my left shoulder before I even get to "lift my voice to worship You."

Oh, my soul, rejoice.

How his warmth and his heaviness covered me and it's hard to breathe for more than just because he is so heavy but also because he is still small, thank You God, still so small, to fit there.  To be safe on my heart and his breathing slowing just listening, listening to my voice and our breath and the hum of the humidifier and the tick of the heater and the shivers of wind outside where it is so cold but inside it is warm for more than one reason.

How I felt his breathing on my shoulder, his cheek now on my shoulder, and maybe he is already sleeping because he would have been falling asleep watching the door for her and there is a crick in my back below my shoulders and tired is shooting into my heels but still our silhouette sways on the wall with the warmth of the home light behind us.

How little footsteps stole in from behind and a soft little kiss lands on his right foot beneath my left arm which is falling asleep but he only stirs because he already has.  So still we rock and I breathe him in, breathe in the layers of the soft fleecy jammies that smell a little like maybe they waited too long to get into the dryer because they always do and his skin that smells like "sugar frost" pink glitter soap from Christmas and I want to laugh but also cry because the fake sweet is nothing, nothing like the real sweet of his own skin.

How I turned my lips to the cotton fleece of his "little fuzzy bear hairs" still faintly damp and kissed it back and forth and breathed in what really smelled like him, not just our world on him, but like really just soft and sweet him.

How he stirred and turned his head and suddenly that cool, soft cheek, always so cool and so soft, was against my lips and how I begged, begged these days to never end but someday they have to so I begged that I would please, please remember.

How I prayed over him and thanked for him and tried to remember that he isn't really mine and I laid him in his crib that is so low I can barely reach and he was peace and sweet personified and wrapped him in loveys and love.

How I turned and planned to write, to write it all before I lost it, and there she was, her purple jammies too big and her untoweled hair curling and sticking to her neck and Mama will you paint my nails with the Santa polish and yes, but oh, how big and still so small.

How big and still so small.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blue Blueberries

Oh, blueberry farm.  How I dreamed of you all through that long, cold, dark winter.  How I longed for those quiet, remote fields of nothing but bird and bugs and those sweet little spots of edible sunshine.  It seemed almost too good to be true that at last we could go back and pick berries in the hot summer sun, sweat dripping and sun burning and sweetness tasting.   We picked enough to last through the winter, to eat from the freezer on days when it seems that summer will never return and we will be reminded that it did and it will.








Full disclosure:  The small people were interested in blueberry picking for approximately 2 and 3/4 minutes.  Then it was all, "I'm hot!" and "I'm thirsty!" and "She's touching me!" and screaming because somewhere was a bug and someone's toe got pricked by a thorn and warnings were given and threats made and so help me JUSTPICKTHEFLIPPINGBLUEBERRIES.  Eventually Sweet Pea just followed me like the little bear in blueberries for Sal and was eating faster than I could pick and so they got sent to the car to sit and be quiet and let me and Nana pick to our heart's content.  They were bribed with cookies.  I thought Peanut would love the pack n' play idea but he was having none of it that day, which makes sense because he only wants to be with people always.  So he went picking with me since I wasn't hot enough already and promptly fell asleep.

They could not and would not slow our roll.  Because BLUEBERRIES.  Blueberries the size of the end of my thumb and oh so sweet and delicious.

Keepin' it real, kids, keepin' it real.

Between two days, we've picked 19 lbs of blueberries.  And I was in heaven.  

8 months

My Sweetest of Wilds,

I think of you and I only see smiles.  I see your sweet, happy, gummy little grin.  I see the smiles you put on your sister's face, your daddy's face, your grandpa's face.  I see the smile Bean has just for you.  Mostly, I feel the smiles of my own.

All anyone has to do is look at you and you smile back, kicking your little feet and, if I'm holding you, tucking your roundest of heads into my neck in the most winsome little gesture of fake shyness.  You visibly melt everyone around you.  This is probably a good thing, because you're starting to to be able to get into pretty much anything and everything and you've already figured out that no one can be mad at you for anything you destroy.  We say "no" and you laugh and you win.

Eight months old and you're cruising and crawling and pulling up on everything (the first time you got it was on the side of the bathtub) and you're quick.  You'll wiggle around on the floor, then if I'm sitting on the couch you make your way over and pull up, smiling at me with the cutest, proudest, open-mouth smile.  I thought you might skip the knee crawling and just belly crawl everywhere since you'd been doing it for so long, but you kept at it (I think you knew it would be faster) in spite of hardwood floors and little red knees.  No pain, no gain Mama, and off you went.  You didn't do the typical baby-style rocking on your knees; nope, you'd go up and move a knee and fall and go up again and move a hand and fall and go up again and start all over.  You are the most patient child on the planet, determined and stubborn and completely chill about it all.  You know what you want, you will have only what you want, but you'll work hard and patiently until you get it.  If that follows you in life, you'll do anything you can dream.

You cut your top two teeth this week and we only lost a night's sleep to it.  Poor baby, you had a cold at the same time and that made for a very rough night just before July 4th.  But just like everything else, you barely let that phase you.  You were ready for action the next day, back to your quiet, sweet, smiling self.  I'm proud of you for those teeth, but they break my heart a little.  There's something about the top teeth taking away the gummy grin that shows how quickly you're going to leave your tiny babyness behind you.  

You're eating anything and everything and love all things sweet.  Ice cream has rocked your world and watermelon isn't far behind.  Sometimes I freeze it in really thin slices for you to teeth on and you love that.  You love sweet and cold, so much so that you'll eat so much you'll shiver and quake and so clearly get a brain freeze but that still won't stop you opening your little mouth for more, just like a funny little baby bird.  Nana gave you Koala Krisp for the first time and you went crazy.  Your favorite real foods are probably broccoli and ground beef, or anything with tomato sauce.  Or really just anything.  You just love to eat.

With your smiles come giggles and you laugh and laugh and laugh.  It's so easy to get laughs out of you.  You love to be tickled and you've  just started laugh-crawling; the best little game in the world (your sister played it too) of crawling away and hoping you'll be chased.  If you're not laughing, you're pretty much sitting and staring in half awe/half horror at your sister and cousin doing their shenanigans.

Your favorite activities are eating stink bugs, trying to eat cat food, hunting for tiny choking hazards to eat, trying to eat or drool on your sister's things, trying to eat sand and seaweed if we are at the beach and bumping your head into stuff.  In other words, your favorite activities are trying to meet an early doom and eating inedible things.  Truly.  That is what you like to do.  I can't make this stuff up.  I'm seriously trying to think of all that you like to do or what your favorite toys are but this is what comes to mind.  You do love to splash in the bath (you hate cold water, so pools have been a loser) and you love any game that involves bouncing or anyone talking to you.  You like all of your toys, especially if they are good for chewing.  In other words, you're very, very easy to please.

You are completely head-over-heels in love with the cat.  Unfortunately, the feeling isn't mutual.  This is probably because you show love by pounding and/or clawing with your grubby little excited hands.  Biddy is missing chunks of fur because of this and my chest is covered in tiny fingernail marks.  You are also head-over-heels in love with your sister, but thankfully she just gets kisses.  Your love of the cat has also translated into a love for a book called Sneakers the Seaside Cat, and this week at the beach you are pointing with one finger at the cat on every page and kissing it.  It's absolutely adorable and your sister did the same thing at 7 months old.  (You probably would have done it that early too but I didn't try until this week and you still blew me away with your brilliance, obviously.)  Otherwise, I haven't been able to convince you yet that you love books.  You'd rather move around and talk to people and eat.  

You're not talking much, but just today you started saying "more" (well, it sounds like "da" or "mmah") and you say "mama" and "hi."  You still love the baby carriers and I carry you way more than I use a stroller.  I love how entirely content and relaxed you are in the carrier.  You love to have me near and still see the world and I love how much we get to interact.  Today I carried you while I picked blueberries.  I gave you tiny pieces as I picked and you kept trying to grab at the bushes.  You knew I was getting the sweet treat somehow from those leaves, but you couldn't figure it how!

We finally moved you to your own room in June and that was hard for me not to have you right beside me, and really hard to finally completely give up the beloved Moses basket.  You slept better since you've been in your own room, but you're still not an amazing sleeper and that's tough.  You still get up to nurse at least two, often three, times at night.  You go to bed around 8:30 or 9, nurse at 12ish, 3ish, and 7ish but then usually sleep until 9.  Lately though it's been a bit more like 1:30 and 5:30 and those days are easier.  You often end up staying in bed with us after that, because you love snuggling up so much and we love having you close.  You still love to sleep on Daddy's arm, just like your sister loved to sleep on his chest.

Last weekend Daddy and Sweet Pea slipped out of our room at Nana's beach house and left you and me to get a little more rest.  When you woke up you instantly got up on your knees and started crawling around like you always do (no cuddles and snuggles and books for you, thank you much), and I tried to ignore you in the hopes that somehow you'd stop and just lie down and wake up slowly, even though that has never happened ever.  So you crawled up over my back right up to my face and smiled your hugest smile and gave me a slobbery kiss and said, "Haaaaaaa!" and made my day before it ever even started.

You are still the easiest, sweetest, most content baby in the world.  People have goldfish that are harder to please than you.  But would you please sleep 8 hours straight?  I guess you can't though, because then you'd be perfect and no one can be perfect so I'll take you just like this.  We love you so much, sweet boy.



Friday, May 09, 2014

6 Months

Dear sweet Wilder,

Six months have passed since the precious evening you entered the world.  I remember wondering before you came if it would be hard to remember the night you were born, if I would confuse it with the night your sister was born.  Not a chance.  I remember every detail; the tiles I counted on the floor and the ceiling while contractions passed, the rising panic in my chest for those moments your heartbeat dropped so low, the desperate feelings of pushing like my life depended on it because I was so tired of carrying you within and just wanted to see your face, the look of surprise in the nurse and doctor's eyes when they saw how hard I could push.  I don't think I really was all that strong; I just wanted you.

Now we've held you for six months and it's the eternity and the "how were we 'us' without you?" and the but-it-was-just-yesterday.

I prayed that laughter would come easily to you and God gave me my desire and more.  After your sweet but stoic sister, I wanted to hear baby giggles as often as possible and we do.  Everything is a joke to you.  Anyone who looks you in the eye gets a huge smile and laugher bubbles over so easily for you.  The best jokes are when someone pretends to get bonked on the head and when we pretend to smell your very ticklish toes.  You are so ticklish and your laugh sounds like Daddy's.

You can say "hi" and "mama" and today I think you said "hey."  We play a game where I bonk your heel to my chin and say, "Hey!" and you laugh.  Today you said "hey" on your own.

You've been belly crawling for almost a month.  Thankfully you aren't too fast yet, but when I put you down on your back it's only a moment before you've rolled to your belly and, through a combination of helicopter blade style rolling and inch-worming along on your belly you can pretty much make it where you want to go.  You can sit on your own and have been slowly working your way to longer and longer periods of time.  You've had two teeth since you were four months new.  You're doing everything so much faster than your sister, which is hard for me because I just want you to stay my tiny new baby.

Content barely begins to describe you.  I take you everywhere with me, including long days of working taking pictures for the real estate company in the city.  As long as your belly is full and you get to look at people, you're perfectly happy.  You love to sleep in your wraps, close and warm against my heart.  I've done entire house or portrait shoots with you strapped to me and you barely make a peep.  No one can believe how sweet and content you are.

Because you are so sweet and content, neither can anyone believe that you turn into a vampire baby at night.  It's finally, finally gotten better, but up until about two weeks ago you were still waking up every three hours all night long.  We tried everything under the sun but you just wanted to nurse and nurse and nurse.  It took some time, but now that you've really started solids you're finally sleeping more.  We tried rice cereal at 5 months to try to help you sleep, but it seemed to bother your tummy and you started refusing it so we dropped all food for about two weeks.  Then on Easter Sunday we tried your first real food, avocado, and you loved every ounce.  Since then you've tried banana, butternut squash, blueberries and green beans.  Bananas and green beans are your favorite so far.

You love everyone with ease, but your sister lights up your world.  I wish I could bottle up the sweetness between you two and keep it forever.  She pets you and pats you and calls you "handsome sweet," "little buddy," and "sweet baby boy."  She kisses you and asks to hold you or to snuggle you.  She gets a little mad when you cry too loudly or try to grab her special blanket, saying, "Wil-DER!"  Your little eyes follow everything she does and when she and Bean play together it's so clear that you want to badly to chase them and be big, too.  Please don't be big yet.


Last night we were at Caleb's house and Caleb's mom wanted to show me a picture of Caleb's dad when he was a baby and she pulled out Caleb's dad's baby book.  My heart instantly sank because I felt so guilty that I haven't filled out a baby book for you.  I haven't written the letters or chronicled the memories nearly as well I was able to for your sister.  But I opened the book and laughed.  Right there, on the first page, was a post-it note written by Caleb's dad when he was in high school.  It said, "Mom, Why is this empty??!!"  She put another post-it note next to it that said, "Because I was busy holding you, taking you to soccer practice, and spending time with you.  Love, Mom."

That is our life right now.  Our life is snuggles and dishes, meals and laughter.  Our life is family games and dinners with friends.  Our life is play dates and house projects.  Our life is sleepless nights and afternoon naps.  Our life is buttercups in plastic cups and "what is that?" stuck to the coffee table.  Our life is toys scattered and put away again and laundry that never ends but is always clean but it never put away.  Our life is making you laugh and watching your sister kiss you.    

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

First Food

I so wanted to wait until he was 6 months old.  I wanted his brand-new babyness to last as long as possible.  But I can't keep up with this kid!  Peanut nurses around the clock, every three hours; sometimes more, rarely a bit less.  And he certainly does not sleep through the night.  So we decided to give rice cereal a try last weekend and it was a hit!

He seemed to know right away that the spoon would hold something good and he went right for it.  He didn't really get what to do at first, but just when I was about to quit for the night he started swallowing and getting all geeked out excited.  He tried so hard and even though it did absolutely nothing to help him sleep longer, it was really fun.

In between velociraptor-like bites he was all smiles.  He's a fan of good food and good conversation.

Emphasis on "good" food.  I think he wants to like it, but he really doesn't.

Meanwhile, the past three rice-cereal feedings have been dismal failures.  Head turning, crying, refusing to disinterest.  Not quite sure yet what to do about it!

While I'm at it, here's Sweet Pea and her first attempts at food.  I didn't remember that she was a velociraptor, too!

Also maybe Peanut got mad about his cereal tonight because I made it too thick?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fields of Green

It's dark.  It's blurry.  It's noisy.  But this little snapshot is everything that is so, so good right now.

Late this afternoon I put my tiny baby in our old jogging stroller and buttoned the little girl's coat and we walked across a cornfield to my mama's house.

Because we just moved in next door.  Next door to my mama and daddy.  Over-the-river-and-through-the-woods we did not.  Or maybe we did, but on a very tiny scale.  It made my heart soar.

Things are crazy right now.  There is an ancient stove on my wood-covered porch and a rug is air-drying because a pipe burst in the laundry room.  Everything is a mess and it's beautiful because dreams are coming true.  And while they aren't fields of green yet, they will be soon.  Very soon.



Thursday, February 06, 2014

Notes from all over

I don't know how they do it.

I did it for so long, early on.  When it was just me home for the first time and a tiny girl who slept for so many hours and my hubby worked three jobs and went to school, I did it.  I took pictures and I edited them and I loaded them and I organized them and I blogged them.  I made beautiful, hardbound memory books.  I kept the house fairly clean and I cooked kinda often and I went shopping and I took naps and I probably told you it was "soooo hard."

And it was hard, because being a first time mom is hard.  It's really hard to reorient your entire brain to thinking about someone else's needs first and foremost above your own.  It was hard because I was lonely and missed my husband.  It was hard because I had a tremendous amount of post-partum anxiety and a pretty fair amount of stress over money.

This time around is not so hard in so many ways.  He's home so much more.  I don't have post-partum anxiety.  Actually, I kind of think that maybe I had finally had so much anxiety that something short-circuited in my brain and rendered me incapable of feeling any anxiety at all.  I kind of kid, I think.

But it's also kind of hard to have two kids and a few major life changes occurring all at once.  I am not organized.  I am tired.  My photos are untaken and unedited and unblogged and I don't know how so many moms make all this look so easy and graceful!

Last night I was picking up toys for the 8 billionth time and feeling whiney and tired about it when I saw this sweet gem.  It struck me what a mix my life is of mundane and magical.

It's so precious to me to find her little loved doll babies.

Mundane and magical.  Sweet and funny.  Crazy busy and a two-hour nap.  That's my life right now and it's good, so good.
She asked to nap behind the chair in Peanut's room.
Yes.  Yes, because why no?

Both my babies asleep near each other at at bedtime at the same reasonable time.
Only happened once.

All sweetness.

Tea parties.  We have so many tea parties.
The apples were her choice.

That funny little half-smile.
It slays me.

He was smile-laughing in his sleep whenever he heard my voice.

Sleeping like his sister.


He rolls over and gets stuck and yells.  Every time.

My boys.


Found his fingers on his 3-month birthday.