December 4, 2013
I fed Wren her last bedtime bottle two nights ago - and I have been an emotional mess ever since! There haven't been too many things that have upset me about all of the growing she's done during her first year until now. Sure, when she started eating solid food, I thought aww, she's getting so big - and then laughed when she tried avocado. When we packed up her baby swing, I thought awww, this is kind of sad - and then rejoiced at the extra space in our apartment. But this bottle thing is staying with me for some reason. Yesterday, I washed and packed all of her bottles up in plastic bags to put in storage, but there they sit - on the kitchen counter - and I can't for the life of me let them go. I just can't believe that part is already over!
For one year, three times a day (more when she was tiny), I would gather her little body into my arms, settle in cozy on the couch and feed her a bottle. It was our thing - our routine - breakfast, lunch and dinner - and now it's over. We phased her bottles out over the course of a month - taking away the breakfast bottle first, then the lunch bottle, and then the bedtime bottle. The night before her last bedtime bottle, I cried. The night of her last bedtime bottle, I cried. And now, two days later, I'm still crying. I can't stop thinking that it's already a memory - not something that happens, but something that used to happen. Two days in and already it's 'remember when we used to hold her every night and give her a bottle before bed?'
There is so much of her that is still a baby, but so much of her that has moved on to toddlerhood already. She's independent, constantly moving, excited to try new things. I know she's ready to be done with bottles. She drinks milk from her sippy cup like a pro. It's me that's not ready. It's me that suddenly realizes that when people say it goes fast - they mean really fast. I can't help but think about all the other things in her life she'll be ready for that I won't - the first day of school, driving, dating, college! I can't.
When I think about saying goodbye to the bottles, I immediately start going through the memories I've stored up of those quiet, close moments. Do I have enough in my memory bank to last me forever?? Because of the way my guilt-ridden mom brain works, the first memories that jump into my head are the ones where I feel I fell short - the times when I spent a whole feeding scrolling through Instagram or zoning out to a TV show or the worst - feeling annoyed that I had to stop what I was doing to feed her. When these memories come to mind, I panic - feeling like I wasted all of that time that I can't get back. But then I push past those negative thoughts - give myself a break - and that's when I get to the good ones - because there are so many good ones, like the times I laid my head next to hers while she ate and smelled her little baby hair. The times I squished her fat baby thighs like clay and made her giggle. The times I traced my finger up and down her nose until it tickled and she swatted me away. The times she kicked and kicked her little legs against my hand. The times she fell asleep halfway through a bottle, and I stayed so still and soaked it in - or closed my eyes and drifted off with her. I do have a lot of memories to take with me - and for that I am so thankful.
I don't really have any grand thoughts about any of this - I kind of just wanted to share my feelings because sometimes writing about things makes me feel better. I feel like all of this has reminded me - again - to slow down and soak it all in - to not take a moment for granted. And it's also reminded me how freaking hard it is to be a mother. I would happily snuggle her up and feed her a bottle every night until she graduates from high school, but I can't. I would happily lock her inside her room for the next twenty years to keep her safe from all the bad that's in the world, but I can't. Instead, I breathe deep, I push my worries and sadness and fears aside, and I give her what she needs to grow and thrive and be all that she is meant to be. And then I ball my eyes out in the shower. ;)
I made the personal choice not to breastfeed Wren. Knowing how hard it has been for me to say goodbye to bottles, I can only imagine how much harder it is to wean a baby from nursing. My heart goes out to all mommas - breastfeeding and bottle feeding - in these bittersweet moments.
November 17, 2013
All footage captured by Jon. Music by Of Monsters And Men. Full birth story here.
Happy first birthday, sweet Wren. The day you were born, our lives changed forever. The past year has been so much fun. I'm so happy you are ours and we are yours.
My little Wren bird, your 11th month was a big month for you! You perfected your crawling, and starting speeding around the house on all fours, you learned how to play peek-a-boo (which is the cutest thing ever!) and you learned how to pick up food and put it in your mouth!
Daddy is the one who taught you how to pick up your own food. We had been trying for weeks, putting food on your tray for you to eat but you never wanted to pick it up - you'd just brush it off onto the floor. Then one day, Daddy tried putting just one piece of food at a time in front of you and showing you how to pick it up and put it in your mouth, and you caught on right away! We clapped and cheered, and you looked so proud putting your puffs into your mouth one by one. When you were done eating, we took you to the park and you decided to practice some more by putting a handful of bark into your mouth - haha! You probably wondered why we didn't clap and cheer for that. ;)
Another new thing you started during your 11th month is dancing to music. We noticed it when we were riding in the car and you were in your car seat. When a song came on that you liked, you would bob your head to the music. Then you started doing it anytime you heard music - in the grocery store, on a TV commercial. I caught it on video here. SO CUTE!
You are still such a good sleeper and sleep from around 8pm to 8am every night. I have tried to get you hooked on a "lovey" by putting different teddy bears, sock monkeys, etc into bed with you at night and showing you how to snuggle them, but you have no interest in it. The second that I leave the room, you grab the bear by the arm, stand up on your tippy toes and toss it out of the crib. Oh well, I tried. ;)
A few other highlights from the month: You started standing by yourself for short periods of time (with your arms down, neck out, and a giant smile on your face). You learned how to do a duck face (kissy face) on command. You loved putting your hands above your head for no real reason (raising the roof, maybe?). You started laying down on your belly in the bathtub and kicking your legs like a little fish. Daddy helped you overcome your fear of the swings at the playground. We took you to an apple orchard and let you play in the pumpkins. You got your first pair of Freshly Picked moccs (a milestone in every baby's life, right??). You got to celebrate your big sister's 7th birthday with her at the North Carolina Zoo. You continued to be a fantastic eater - zucchini bread, bananas, apple sauce and mashed potatoes are some of your favorites. Your personality continued to show more and more this month - you are silly and sweet most of the time, but get very stubborn and short tempered when you're sleepy.
Oh baby bird, we love you SO much, no matter your mood! Happy 11 month birthday - May all your days be happy ones!
November 1, 2013
Last night was Wren's first Halloween. Last year, she was still cooking in my belly while we handed out candy, so this year, we were excited to dress her up and take her trick-or-treating (not so much for the candy, but more for the experience - and the photos, of course).
We dressed our little witch up and took her out to the neighborhood behind our apartment complex. It's such a pretty neighborhood, and we had fun walking around, checking out the other kids in costumes and getting candy for Wren's pumpkin. We stopped to take pictures on the sidewalk and all she wanted to do was take the candy out of her pumpkin and put the leaves in. She's the cutest.
I haven't been out with the trick-or-treaters since I was a kid, and it brought back so many fun memories! It makes me pretty excited for all the fun holidays we get to celebrate with this little bird. :)
October 17, 2013
This post is ooooooold, but I wanted to share these photos anyway. This summer, we went to our first concert at Pocahontas State Park, a state park just around the corner from our house. It has the cutest little amphitheater nestled in the trees - it was the perfect place to see Idol alum, Scotty McCreary! Food and drink vendors set up on the path leading down to the amphitheater, so you can grab a pizza and a local(!) beer before you find a spot on the grass. We ate, we drank, we sang, we danced - and you guys, we had a BLAST. Seriously looking forward to more concerts here in the future!
October 15, 2013
This past weekend, we roadtripped down to North Carolina to celebrate Rowan's 7th birthday (at the zoo, of course - that girl loves her zoos). This time we hit up the North Carolina Zoo, and it was pretty terrible. If the Metro Richmond Zoo is the best zoo I've ever been to, then the North Carolina Zoo is definitely the worst.
The animal exhibits are spread out along a cement path that winds its way through a wooded area, which is nice - except that it feels like you have to walk a mile to see one exhibit and then walk a mile to see another. I felt like we walked all day long and barely saw any animals.
It didn't help that there were bees everywhere - trying to get our food, trying to get Wren's baby food, trying to get in my hair. I hate bees.