Letters to Elizabeth: Happy 1st Birthday!

April 13, 2014

Dear Elizabeth,

You are one year old (...and one month...and 3 days...). Second child syndrome has struck again! I have started this birthday letter to you so many times (in my head), but can never seem to find the time to actually sit down and write it! But, as many times as I have thought about this letter, I still don't know where to start. You are so full of personality, I don't even know how to write in words to explain “you”.

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Let's start with your too-cute-for-words smile. It lights up my world. Your little nose wrinkles up and your mouth opens wide. You literally smile with your whole face. And, sometimes, your joy is too much for your face to contain. When this happens, your legs start pumping and your arms start flapping. Adorable. Heart Melting. Your smile is infectious, and I love starting my day with your smiles every morning when I go get you from your crib. What a way to be greeted every morning!

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Then there is your laugh. You have sweet giggles, and then there is your deep down belly laugh. Your daddy lives for these. He would do anything to hear your laugh. It is pretty phenomenal. And, while your daddy works for them, you give them freely to your brother. He cracks you up on a daily basis.

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So, let's review: adorable smile- check. Phenomenal laugh- check. Hmmm, what am I forgetting? Oh, yes. You have quite the little opinion about things. Like being put down. You will scream like someone is pinching you. You have even started to pitch little tantrums and will throw yourself to the ground. (I am already dreading your toddler tantrums!). To anyone watching, you appear to be spoiled rotten, and act as though I carry you around all the time. For the record, I don't. I keep waiting for you to figure out that there are times that I simply can't hold you. You haven't figured it out yet. You just sit, or stand holding onto my leg, and wail the entire time I am washing dishes, making dinner, etc, etc, etc. It makes things that much more complicated. You are such a Mama's girl. It is simple unacceptable (to you) for me to hand you to anyone. Oh, the crocodile tears that come!!! It's flattering. Really, it is. But, it is exhausting!!

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On the physical front, you weighed 21 lbs at your one year check up and are 28 inches tall. You are one short little cutie patootie. You are holding strong at 2 teeth, both on the bottom. You finally mastered crawling (after doing the army crawl for months). You did stand on your own for the very first time on the day of your birthday party, which was the day before your birthday. You don't seem very interested in learning to walk, although you can cruise around the house like a champ. You did take your first tentative step TODAY! You think this whole walking thing is a funny, funny game though, and usually just fall down dramatically and start that world famous belly laugh. Okay, not world famous, but it should be.

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There is so much about you that I love. You are one special little girl. I love seeing your personality develop more and more every day. I can start to see your sense of humor emerge, and that is so fun. For example, you are quite stingy with your kisses. You know what the word means, and when we ask for a kiss, you will turn your head and laugh. Little stinker! You also love to try to pick up everything in your crib before letting me pick you up. When you keep dropping one thing or another you will fall back laughing. You also LOVE playing peek-a-boo. Gets you smiling every time!

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A few more fun facts:

Words you say:

-Da-da

-Jay-jay (Jacob)

-Ma ma (although this is verrry recent. You held out for a long time. In fact, when I would try to get you to say it, you would just smile, as if you were holding out on purpose!)

-You can also sign “milk”, “more”, and what I can only describe as “gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”

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Foods you love:

Pretty much everything. Especially bananas, yogurt (but you only LOVE it when I put it in a squeeze pouch), puffs, and graham crackers.

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Favorite toys:

-You have really become attached to your Lovey. Good thing Maudy bought two more back-ups for you for Christmas.

-Sock Monkey (which really is Jacob's, but he never really played with it, and you love it).

-Glowing Seahorse (this was a birthday gift, but has quickly become a favorite).

-Shape sorter

-Your little stuffed chair and the green rocking chair. You love climbing in and out, up and down, over and over and over.

-And, anything that Jacob is currently playing with.

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I feel like I am just scratching the surface of your BIG personality. What a blessed year this has been. I can't imagine our little family without you. What a ray of sunshine you are to us. We love you baby girl!

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Love,

Mommy

Letters to Elizabeth: My first letter to you.

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May 13, 2013

Dear Elizabeth,

You are two months old. Two months and this is my first letter to you. Already you are suffering from the second child syndrome. I have started a dozen letters to you in my head, but can never seem to find the time to sit down in front of the computer and get my thoughts out on “paper”.

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Today we went to the doctor for your 2 month checkup. You are just perfect (that is what the doctor said, and he isn't even biased like I am!). You smiled and cooed to the nurses and doctor. And, although your crying during the vaccinations broke my heart, you calmed down fairly quickly. Such a good girl!

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Even though you have only “officially” been a part of our family for two months, I can't imagine our life without you. You are such a sweet baby. And goodness, does your brother love you! I was so worried that there would be jealousy issues, but he only wants to hug and kiss you. He likes to lie on your play mat with you, and talk to you about the flashing lights and hanging toys. He loves to hold you and “read” to you. You are very lucky to have such a great big brother. I can already tell, he is going to be your protector.

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Yesterday was Mother's Day. My first to celebrate being your mommy. I am so thankful to have you in my life. And, as much as I love (miss) my sleep, I truly do love rocking with you in the dead of night. When you and I are the only ones awake, and all is quiet. I try to soak up those moments. I know that, all too soon, I will have my full nights of sleep back, and will miss those quiet moments. Just you and me.

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A friend wrote a blog entry with a “Letter to Mamas”. In the letter, she tells moms that “you were perfectly created to be the mother of your child”. * Sweet girl, I don't know why I was so blessed as to be chosen to be your mom. It is not a responsibility that I take lightly. And I am incredibly honored and thankful.

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I am loving your sweet, cuddly newborn stage. But, I am also excited to see your little personality start emerging. I look in your big baby blues, and am excited to get to know you more each day.

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Love,

Mom

*Quote from my friend, Teri Lee's blog.  She is incredibly talented, so check her out!

http://www.stlcastillo.blogspot.com/2013/05/letters-to-mamas-50-shades-of-gray.html

Elizabeth's Birth Story

A week ago, Elizabeth joined our family.  

Elizabeth Ann was born on March 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm, weighing 7 lbs. 14 oz, and 20.5 inches long.

 

When we left for the hospital Sunday morning, I was convinced we would be back home within the hour. After all, I wasn't even having contractions. Elizabeth had not been moving as much as normal, and even though I really felt that she was fine, I didn't want to take any chances. We went to the hospital for a non-stress test, but my doctor felt that at 40 weeks (Sunday was actually my due date), already 4 cm at my last appointment (on Wednesday), and her not moving a lot- it was time for her to come.

 

I wanted to avoid getting pitocen, if at all possible. So our compromise was to break my water, with the understanding that if contractions didn't start on their own within a few hours, we would start the pitocen. The doctor broke my water at 10:50am. Contractions did start, but they were pretty weak and sporadic. Around noon a very small dose of pitocen was started, and contractions started coming fast and intense! I was only dilated to about a 5, and the nurse told us it would probably be several more hours.

 

Mom and Amy brought Jacob to the hospital for a quick visit before his nap. He was so sweet, and seemed excited that Elizabeth was going to come “out of Mommy's tummy” soon. However, when it was time for Mom to take him home, he pitched an absolute fit over leaving me. It broke my heart to hear him screaming down the hallway as Matthew carried him to the car.

 

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Amy stayed with us at the hospital, and after a quick camera lesson to our newly appointed birth photographer, I decided it was time for the epidural. Getting the epidural with Jacob was the worst part, by far, of giving birth. I was really nervous about how it would go this time. I told the anesthesiologist that the doctor in France told me I had a deep epidural space, and prayed that knowing that ahead of time would make all the difference. A very unpleasant 30 minutes later, the epidural was in. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling any of the effects. The doctor decided he needed to try again. Ugh. If possible, the second time hurt more than the first, and about 20 minutes in, he was telling the nurse to go ahead and call the other anesthesiologist and have him come to the hospital to try for a third time! Fortunately, he was able to get it with the second try, and before long I couldn't feel anything. I had asked him to give me as low a dose as possible so I could still feel the contractions. I wanted to be able to know when and how to push when the time came. Not sure where the break down in communication happened, but I was completely numb from the waist down. The nurse checked me, and I was at 7 cm. It was around 5:00pm.

 

About an hour later, the nurse came back to check me. As soon as my legs were in the stirrups, she says to us, “Oh, look at that head full of dark hair!”. Excuse me? 45 minutes ago, I was a 7! You can see her hair?? She went to find our doctor, and I was in complete shock that our baby girl was about to be born!

 

The doctor came in the room at 6:10 pm. Our awesome doctor is a church friend and softball buddy of Matthew's. He came in and asked Matthew if he was going to help deliver. Before we knew it, the nurses were handing a gown and gloves to Matthew, and he was suiting up!

 

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(This is my "I can't believe Matthew is about to help deliver this baby" face.)

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I was told to start pushing, and about 5 pushes later, I saw her in Matthew's hands. Our sweet little baby girl was here! It was 6:15 pm. She was handed to me, and I had officially fallen in love for the third time in my life.

 

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Elizabeth was taken to be cleaned off, weighed, measured, etc. I had her back several minutes later, and was able to nurse her for the first time less than 30 minutes after she was born. It all happened so fast!

 

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I could not have asked for a better birth experience (well, except maybe for the 2 attempts at the epidural..). Matthew and I feel blessed beyond measure to have this sweet, perfect, little girl added to our family. 

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An extra special thanks to my sister for being with us and capturing these amazing images from Elizabeth's birth. Love you, Aunt Amy!! 

For even more pictures, including pictures of Jacob meeting Elizabeth for the first time, here is a video.  

Mine on Monday: My Guys

One of the best things about Matthew's new job in Ardmore is that he won't be traveling much. From July until December, he traveled a lot to Brazil.  Needless to say, Jacob and I definitely missed him.  Our little family has been reunited.   Now, we are crammed in a little hotel room together,  and couldn't be happier!

I adore seeing Matthew and Jacob snuggle, play, and rough house together.

Jacob, you have one awesome Daddy.  But, I know you already know that!