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 swallow...total 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.


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Two Months

Dear my sweet baby,

I don't know why, but all throughout my pregnancy with you had this feeling that you were going to be my joy-baby.  Your sister, who is my delight-baby, was obviously sweet and precious in her own right.  She was introverted though, even when she was tiny.  You, on the other hand, started trying to smile from day one and you haven't stopped.  Your dimples slay us.  

When you are awake, which is still the minority of the day, you are all smiles.  If you're not smiling, you're just waiting for someone to tell a good joke.  (In your opinion, a good joke is anything having to do with blowing some form of a raspberry.) I know it sounds crazy, but I swear you say "hi" already.  You don't make a lot of cooing sounds (mostly your talking is little grunts and growls and the yard sale lady sound), but whenever you're in a happy mood and I lean over you and say, "Hiii!" you look me dead in the eyes and say back, "Whooo..." and smile.  Always the smiles. 

You are still such a snuggler, but when you are awake and want to play, wow, are you strong!  I can't believe how strong you are.  You can practically stand unassisted and try to as much as possible.  You hold your head up and back and try to see everything around you, pushing against my shoulders with your strong arms or against my belly with your legs.  When you are happy or excited your little legs work back and forth, nonstop, like you're trying to ride a bike or just take off running on your skinny little legs.  

Apparently Daddy and I don't make chubby babies, but it's amazed me how much of a boy you are already.  I thought tiny babies were all just tiny babies, but no; you're so different from your skinny-mini sister at your age.Your legs have no chunk, but you feel so wide and heavy in your shoulders and little jutting-out rooster chest.  I think you're going to be able to do lots of pushups.  You and Daddy can have pushup contests.  He loves those.

Your current favorite things are Daddy, jokes, and ceiling fans.  Except I think in opposite order.  (Sorry, Daddy.)  Oh, and swinging in your swing.  You love swinging in your swing, so much so that you've slept quite a few nights in it.  And your carseat, for that matter.  You're a great sleeper but you still take after your mama and want to be awake and throwing parties from 11-1.  Usually I don't mind, but sometimes we've all got to rest, so after adequate snuggles and singing or listening to Daddy's heartbeat, into the swing or carseat you go.  

When you're awake you tend to want to be the center of attention.  You still have that one cry that sounds like a lonesome little lamb, and when no one is looking at you you make sure to get our attention.  You've already laughed a few times.  You laugh a lot in your sleep, but boy, was that ceiling fan hilarious the other day.  And you laughed at me talking to you last week, too.  

I still can't believe how seamlessly you've fit into the fabric of our little family.  You've made it easy, being the dreamiest baby imaginable.  Besides being tired, this has been a much easier time than I could have imagined and these slow, quiet days are precious.  Change is coming, but you've made this is a season of sweetness.



Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wilder's Birth Story

The doctor came in, listened to the baby's heartbeat, then did a quick "sweep" to see if it might help move things along.  She said if it worked something would happen in the next 48 hours, but she didn't seem or sound very convinced that anything would happen.

When she left and I got dressed, I thought I felt something trickling.  I went to the restroom, then went to the front desk to make my 40 week appointment.  I excused myself mid-sentence and went back to the restroom.  We were standing at the front desk to finish the appointment scheduling when I felt a pop, followed by a warm trickle.  I turned bright red, felt my panic button turn on, then interrupted the receptionists and said, "Um, excuse but I, uh...um...I think my water just broke?  Maybe?"

The poor girls' faces registered shock (which, really? I mean, you do work in an OB-GYN office...) and they told me they'd call the doctor while I ran back for the restroom.  Someone was in the restroom.  So I stood there awkwardly.  Then someone came and got me and brought me into a room and the doctor came in and started to explain some test she would do to check that it was amniotic fluid and I sat back on the table and suddenly, with a gush, everything was sopping wet.

"Um, I'm going to say that your water just broke!" she said professionally.

"Uh...haha....uh...yeah...ya think?" I said less professionally.  And not with any attitude so much as with panic, while glancing at my toddler who was staring at the table in wide-eyed shock.

"Mama!  What did you DO?" she asked.  While I stared at her blankly, trying to think of how to explain to a 3-year-old that Mama's water broke, the doctor told me to head straight to the hospital.  Soaking wet.  I asked her for a towel or something to mop up with while more water gushed out of me and she said, "Oh sweetie, I don't have anything!" (Which, again...really?!  I mean, this has to have happened to someone before!)

She left and I took a deep breath and explained to Sweet Pea that it was time for mama to push out the baby and that we needed to go to the hospital.  My heart was all a-flutter and I was convinced I was going to start having contractions immediately.  My doctor's office is 20 minutes from home, 30+ from the hospital.  I called Hubby, who was with a client 45 minutes away, then called my mom who was out shopping about 40 minutes from my house.  So then we walked (me, soaking wet...so embarassing!) to the car and I called a friend who lives right around the corner and dropped Sweet Pea off with her husband and daughter.

I'll never forget pulling my little girl out of the car and explaining to her that she was going to play with her friend while I went to the hospital to have the baby.  Sweet Pea said, "But mama!  If you leave me I will cry!" which, obviously, made me cry, so I pulled her in for a huge hug and said, "Sweetie, Mama needs you to be a big girl and be so brave."  My funny, Merida-dress-up-dress-clad girl squeezed me back tight and went happily off to play with two of her favorite people, while I ran back to the car and drove home, blatantly breaking all cellphone-use laws and figuring I'd get off just fine if an officer pulled me over.  He could just look down at the soaking wet chucks pads on my carseat and then escort me to the hospital.

Thankfully, no heavy contractions had started by the time I got home.  I felt instantly braver as soon as I saw my husband.  I dripped my way into the house and showered and did my hair and tried to bring my heart rate to normal while Hubby made sandwiches and did the random stuff I called out for, like putting the washing machine load into the dryer.

Because clearly, that was desperately important.

Don't ask about the rationale of a woman in labor.

By the time we got to the car we were all, "Let's do this!" and the contractions were starting to really kick in.  We got to the hospital by 2:15 (my water broke about 12:45) and spent an uncomfortable half-hour getting checked in and rocking through contractions in the waiting room.  We finally got back to a room and our sweet nurse got us settled and asked me approximately one million questions while I paused every so often to breathe through contractions.

The next few hours were just a blur of contractions, trying different techniques to get through them, and me just breathing loudly and squeezing Hubby's hand.  My mom arrived around 4:30.  There was one heart-stopping moment when the baby's heart rate dropped very low very suddenly, but my nurse gave me some oxygen and it came back up.  At six the nurse checked and I was a little disappointed that I was only 4 cm.  She asked if I wanted an epidural and since I still felt like I had good energy and the pain wasn't overwhelming, I said I wanted to wait.  She came back in a few minutes later though and told me that the anesthesiologist was going into a C-section and that if I didn't get one now it might be quite awhile.

What I think she knew was that the baby was coming pretty quickly.  I don't know how she knew, but she knew!  I hesitantly agreed to the epidural and got a little emotional; I was afraid the epidural would slow things down and that if I ended up needing a C-section it would be all my fault because I got an epidural too early.

By 7 the epidural was in and I was pretty relaxed, although I was surprised that I was still feeling quite a bit and had total control of my legs.  (That was NOT the case with Sweet Pea; I felt nothing but some pressure after my epidural with her.)  At 7:15 I was relaxed enough to update my Facebook (hah!) that we were at the hospital, but by 7:30 I was pretty uncomfortable and feeling a lot of pressure.  The nurse checked again and I was probably around 6 cm.

The next half-hour wasn't too pleasant, but I wasn't nauseated and so thankful for that that I didn't even care.  The pressure was intense by 8 and my body was pushing on its own, so the nurse checked again and I was 9.5 cm!  I was in total shock.  She started getting everything set for me to push and called the doctor and I couldn't believe it was actually happening.  Finally, finally, finally, the moment to meet the baby was coming.

At my first push I impressed both the doctor and the nurse.  I was not playing around; I wanted this baby OUT and out FAST.  I pushed through 2.5 contractions and he was born in less than 5 minutes.  They placed him on my heart and I was so completely overwhelmed with love and relief and happiness and was so glad that they left him close to me and didn't need to whisk him away for anything.  I got to hold him right on my skin and marvel at him while they checked him over and took care of me.

That brand-new mother moment is the greatest high in the entire world.  It's like nothing else in the world exists but your new sweet baby.  I felt so proud and so glad to get to share it again with my husband, the best birth coach in the world, and my mom, the best birth support ever.  I needed them both.

Everything went so perfectly.  It's amazing how you spend so many months feeling anxious over all the what-ifs of birth, and how you have no control over how any of it will go.  I couldn't have imagined the first part and it makes for a pretty funny story, and the second part went so smoothly that I couldn't have asked for more.

It goes in the record book as another of the most precious days of my life.  Welcome, Wilder!

Friday, December 20, 2013

One Month

Well...ahem...6 weeks.  Really more like 6.5.  Or seven and two days, if you're going by the day of the week you were born.  Oof.

My dear, sweet Wild-man,

I've put off writing this first-month letter to you because I knew I wouldn't know where to begin.  All of the thoughts and feelings of my mother-heart sound trite when I start with, "I can't believe you are already a month old."  But it's true; I can't believe it.  All those months of carrying you under my heart were hard.  I loved them because I love you, but they were very, very hard.  I don't even remember large chunks of them because all I see a bleary, nausea-centered world of exhaustion and wanting so desperately to hold you over my heart.

This letter is also late because your sister consumes a lot of my attention and keeps our lives very fun and busy.  But when she rests, all I want to do is hold you.  Just you.  Just you and me in the quiet of the afternoon.  Sometimes we all rest together (which I love), sometimes I have to get things done, but mostly I just want to hold you and marvel at you in the quiet stillness.  I love the way you fold up your hands under your chin and I love your long alien-toes that look just like Daddy's.  I love the way you sigh little z's in your sleep.  I love the way you make little white-knuckled fists when you nurse and how lately you pull in your chin and pout your lower lip when you're mad.  I love your lips.

You are the very dearest baby.  I know I said that about your sister, and she absolutely was too.  I don't know why I am blessed with just quiet, sweet, easy babies but it sure does make it easy to love you completely.  All you want to do, day and night and in-between, is snuggle.  You want your heart right on my heart and you want to be warm and you want to sleep, then eat, then sleep some more.

You only get upset if you're hungry or chilly.  The chilly part happens at diaper changes, and mostly you are pretty unimpressed with those, mostly because of the chilly part but also because I've accidentally let you pee on your own little face a couple of times.  I'm sorry about that.  Changing a baby boy's diaper is a lot more complicated than a baby girl's.  When you do get upset, your little cries are so fully of fury and indignation but I can't help but love them.  You have this gruff baby voice already and you sound like a funny baby goat and I'm sad you're sad but I can't help but laugh.  I'm also sorry about that.

When you are awake you spend most of your time listening to your sister be loud and being extremely patient while she jostles you around and tries to love you but mostly almost kicks you or tries to accidentally step on you while showing you a dance move or something else.  You are already smiling; you starting intentionally smiling at 3.5 weeks and smiled first for Nana.  Even before that you were sleep-smiling constantly and smiled all the time at your favorite song.  Your very first smiles were so funny.  You would open your mouth like a little fish (I think trying to talk back at whoever was cooing at you) and crinkle up the side of your nose and upper lip.  It was so funny and you tried so hard.  You're getting better at it every day and smile all the time, mostly at Daddy or at Wavy and me when we both just lean over and coo at you and kiss you and treat you like a perfect prince.  You don't mind that one bit!  I know it sounds crazy but I swear you are already trying to say "hi."  I'm always leaning over you and kissing your nose and saying, "Hi!" and sometimes when you smile back you say, "Howwww!"

I am so glad you are here with us and a part of our sweet family.  You've made this scary transition to mama-of-two so easy and happy for me and I will cherish these days in my heart all my life.  I didn't know if I could love a boy baby as much as I loved my girl baby and I was crazy.  I'm so over the moon for you, so jealous for you, so glad that you are mine.  I never really understood before quite what it meant to say that God is a jealous God, but oh, now I get it.  I means that he wants us to be all his and my mother-heart gets it in a brand-new way and my greatest desire for you and your life is that you will understand that, too.

This family loves you so much, sweet boy, and the most incredible part is that all of this love that you are showered with so unabashedly is only a shadow of God's love for you.  He is jealous for you;  he loves you, oh how he loves you.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Called by Name

"But now the Lord Who made you, O Jacob, and He Who made you, O Israel, says, “Do not be afraid. For I have bought you and made you free. I have called you by name. You are Mine!"  Isaiah 43:1

Names are desperately important to me.  I've always taken them very seriously.  Maybe a little too seriously...my favorite childhood stuffed animal went through years of name changes before I finally settled on the very beautiful and very distinctive "Dixie."  We (okay, fine, I) struggled with the perfect name for our Sweet Pea.  She was born in the wee hours of a Tuesday, and didn't officially have a name until Friday.  Many a tear was shed over deciding on a name.  I think my poor husband thought I'd officially lost my mind.

That may have happened again if we'd had a girl, but I breathed a sigh of naming relief when we found out #2 was a boy.  Hubby and I have each had a boy name picked out since we were in high school, and when we put the two names together we decided long ago it was the best name in the whole world: Patrick Wilder.

Our little Wilder (he's going by his middle name, just like his mama!) is named after two very special men.  His first name, Patrick, is after Hubby's much-loved brother, who passed away tragically when Hubby was 16.  Wilder is after my grandfather, my mom's dad.  Wilder is my grandpa's middle name and was his mom's maiden name.  It also happens to by my cousin's middle name.

We liked the sound of Patrick Wilder better than Wilder Patrick, and we wanted him to go by his middle name because it's a throwback to me.  Also, Wilder is a bit unique, so we liked the idea that he could have a more classic first name to use professionally someday if he so chooses someday.  There are lots of W names in my family, so carrying on that tradition was fun for me, too.  (My first name starts with W.)

Finally, I love the name Wilder because I've always loved Laura Ingalls Wilder.  My grandpa is distantly related to her husband, Almanzo Wilder, whom Laura wrote about extensively in her books.  Farmer Boy is all about him, and in The Long Winter she recounts the incredible and dangerous journey he and a friend took to save their town from starvation during a winter of constant blizzards on the prairie.

To me, the name Patrick Wilder carries a lot of significance.  It carries the love and connection of family and tradition, plus all of the character traits of all the good men in both of our families.  When I think of my little boy's name, I think of all the traits I hope for him someday: faith, bravery, honesty, and integrity; being a dreamer, adventurous, hard-working, a good provider, and joyful.

In other words, even though he isn't named after him, I hope he is just like his Daddy, who is an awful lot like my Daddy.

Welcome, Wilder!

Our sweet, sweet boy was born October 30th at 8:22 pm after a safe and pretty quick delivery, weighing 7 lbs, 8 oz and 20 inches long.  He is the quietest, most content newborn and we all love him to pieces!  So far, this has all been too perfect.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Belly Paint

My mom had this adorable idea a long time ago to have Sweet Pea finger paint my belly.  It kept not happening, because I kept forgetting, and then one day last week Hubby dropped home early in between clients and even though it was rainy outside I decided we were randomly going to let Sweet Pea paint and he was going to photograph it.  

We had a blast.  She had a blast.  And Hubby did a good job with the photos!

I did no editing to my belly.  I only popped the color in these photos, leaving all the wonky shadows and highlights rainy skies create.  I left all my scars on my belly because I believe that permanent scars shouldn't be edited out; they are marks of who we are and where we've been.  While I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn't get stretch marks, my belly bears the marks of three different surgeries and, most recently, shingles.  

It's kinda weird to put bare-belly pics out there for the world to see, and I was kinda hoping that Sweet Pea's paint would go right for the scars first.  I think it's funny that she happened to paint everywhere there aren't scars.  But actually?  I like that the shingles marks are front-and-center (side?) in the photos.  That shingles was a big deal for me in this pregnancy, kinda scary and a part of all we've been through this time around.  I'm so, so thankful it wasn't worse; I had a pretty mild case.  

I love these images too because for me they are a little reminder of all the fun these two are going to have together.  They remind me of how Sweet Pea loves to pat my belly and how the baby always kicks back.  They remind me of how wiggly the baby always gets when Sweet Pea and I are snuggling and reading together.  They remind me of the bright and colorful moments to come.



Making an "ew" face.  She doesn't really like getting her hands messy!
Such a girl.

This is serious business, folks.