Category Archives: parenting

catch up.

I really want to not be a crappy blogger, but the longer you accidentally go between posts, the more hopeless you feel about catching up. This is why I always have about four unfinished projects going on at the same time. 🙂

Anyway, our little family has now relocated to South Florida. It’s been almost a month, and we’ve celebrated three birthdays, shared Christmas with two families, and are enjoying the pace of this new life. (In some ways, of course, it’s not so new; but doing it with a baby and while not in high school–that’s new.)

We had planned on leaving Highlands the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, but decided to slip out late at night on Tuesday as we were feeling too much anticipation. In a way this was great, because we were able to get five out of twelve hours of driving done while Summer slept, and it gave me no time to be extremely ceremonial about things like Summer’s last bath in the house, or Summer’s last night in her first bedroom, or our last night in our bedroom/kitchen/house. No no, instead we decided around 6 to leave by 10, and we ran around like mad people swiffering and zipping suitcases and making Summer giggle.

The next day we were in Fort Lauderdale before sunset, spending time with family as if it were a typical Wednesday night occurrence. Our lives since then have been nonstop, mostly because a lot of our friends (and two siblings!) that live in other states or countries come home at this point in the year and choose to spend some time with us. They are so sweet. (Though I’m sure the draw is da baby.)

We have had an amazing time so far, but we’re realizing that it may take quite some time before this doesn’t feel like just a break or a vacation. It’s been close to six years since either of us have lived here full time (minus Tim’s semester at home), so it’s hard to make this reality sink in. However, now that the majority of people that have kept our calendar hoppin’ are leaving, we are really looking forward to a slower and more grounded sense of life. Don’t get me wrong–I look forward to Christmastime all year. But I also really enjoy alone time and concentrated time with Tim and I’ll be honest–less people to share Summer with. 😉 Just kidding!

Actually, that has been the biggest blessing and source of joy for us thus far. Last week I was moved to tears as Summer was surrounded by 15+ family members–she just looked around the room at all of them with a huge smile on her face and just the most beautiful sense of contentment. She makes it clear that she knows who her family is, and she is so happy just being with us. It is so amazing to witness the amount of love surrounding this little girl. There are so many people very close to her that love her, which is truly is such a gift to all three of us. I would highly recommend living near family when you have a baby if at all possible (this is a statement that would go against my typical MO of “be independent! do what you want! explore everything!” so you know I must be serious).

In bullet point form, we have found a church that we like. It’s probably comprised of 40 people so we are really loving that. Summer has her first pediatrician appointment on Monday, and Tim is getting ready to hold auditions for a musical at Atlantic Christian Academy! We are really enjoying taking our time in getting around to serious things, a luxury afforded to us by our parents’ generosity.

I will update again very soon with photos and more fun things! Thanks for reading!

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8 months of Summer.

Today marks eight full months//36 full weeks of Summer Faith hopping about on this earth. OH MY WORD this girl. She is so incredible: she is sweet, adventurous, curious, SO strong, really smart, and insanely beautiful. Sometimes Tim and I just stare at her with our jaws dropped or crying…or both. She is amazing. As you probably know, a baby wasn’t really a part of our plans, much less our IMMEDIATE ones–we were going to maybe revisit the subject once we hit 30. But I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this precious gift, and for the deep joy that she fills Tim and I with daily. So here is a brief update about her world!

*Her favorite things to do right now are crawl, pull up on absolutely everything, wave, and clap. So yes, this is pretty much the cutest month of my life. She is so funny, oh my word. While she sometimes has independent spurts and crawls off around the house on her own, she typically prefers being a shadow and crawls after Tim or me. This is particularly fun when I’m back and forth between two rooms, most often the kitchen and living room. She gets sort of centered in the in-between space, and never makes it more than three crawls in one direction before I’ve switched rooms again. It is so cute to watch. Sometimes she just quits and pulls up at lightning speed via our desk or desk chair.

*Other current hobbies of Summer include putting anything and everything in her mouth. The more obscene and dangerous, the better (I’m looking at you charger cords and rug fuzz). Consequently, she now understands the word “no”! Not obeys it, mind you, but understands it. Actually, just yesterday when some heinous thing was in her mouth, I said “no” and began to move towards her to get it, and she TOOK OFF crawling at lightning speed away from me! IT WAS SO FUNNY. Like what is she, a four year old running away from a spanking? How does she know to do that?!

*She also loves to investigate every sound she hears—she will not relax until she discovers the source. She is so curious! I will add though that Tim and I have been listening to Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe audiobook every time we’re in the car together, and she has now become so accustomed to his delicious voice that she no longer cares.

*She’s still finnicky about eating, but just yesterday she ate a bowl of cereal with small pieces of steamed apples in it happily. It was amazing. Tim and I were in shock. And awe.

*In the morning or post-nap time when she’s ready to exit her crib, she stands up and yells. She doesn’t cry for rescue anymore, just ensues in a rousing one-woman chorus of AGH AY AHH over and over until someone comes. It is truly to die for.

*So yes, AGH is her favorite word. It’s how she gets our attention, how she shows us something, how she indicates what she wants. It’s hilarious. I will admit that I’m growing a little more impatient as I wait for the mama and dada days. She occasionally makes these sounds, but rarely with two syllables in a row and not to indicate anything specific. ALTHOUGH when she cries, you can often hear a fairly clear “mama” in the mix somewhere…but it is definitely accidental and not meant to call me specifically. All in time!

*She loves to look in the mirror, wave to her reflection, watch other kids play, and take long luxurious baths. She is a total diva.

It has been such a privilege to sit back and watch this magnificent biological journey. There are so many things that instincts guide a baby to do. I didn’t exactly teach her how to crawl or stand—her body grows into these new developments. This has been a wonderful thing to remember on the days that I feel like I’m not doing a good job with this motherhood bit. I am quite convinced that she really must be the best girl on earth. We are so, so lucky.

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 presetWhen she learned to clap about ten days ago.
And here is a video of her squealing as I blow into a mysterious bottle and pretend to hide. 🙂

(excuse the poor quality, I used Photobooth in a hurry.)

Gratitude Lately.

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This week I’ve been grateful for the last colored leaves gracing our deck.

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Bathtime funtime with this silly goose.

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Colors and silhouettes and all of the natural things we are surrounded by.

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Summer’s teething lips and the dress that matches Dolly’s.

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Spying on story time with these two darlings.

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That somehow they become extra cute when they’re all bundled up and cuddly.

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Our last days in this teensy mountain town.

mmm fall.

I truly can’t believe it, but this is our last fall for a long time. 😦 One of the first benefits that Tim and I reaped by going to Taylor was this magnificent season. I mean for pity’s sake, it’s 90 degrees in both South Florida and the Bahamas right now, and the only trees I see in those parts are Palm Trees (which, don’t get me wrong, I adore). It’s just that it’s going to be hard giving up this relatively new discovery of ours, and so we’ve been trying to think of ways to celebrate this last one. Here is our tentative Fall To-Do List:

  1. Acquire pumpkins. (Done on October 10. Maybe there are literally hundreds of pumpkins currently decorating town. Maybe some storefronts and inns and restaurants have an excessive amount on display. Maybe Summer and I decided to help them out [of course I add her in to the blame]. And maybe there are now four delightful pumpkins sitting on my porch.)
  2. Decorate and carve said pumpkins.
  3. Hike Whiteside Mountain to take in the foliage. (Check out this recent article about Whiteside).
  4. Rake and play in the leaves before the lawn service does.
  5. Bake something new with pumpkin. (I’m thinking pumpkin scones considering Tim and I are constantly tempted to live off the Starbucks ones.)
  6. Make something involving apple cider. Maybe this is apple cider itself, or whatever. We’ll see.
  7. Go to an orchard or a pumpkin patch.
  8. Go to some type of festival. (We went to a state fair on September 11 and an apple festival last weekend. Like many events we get excited for in these little towns, neither quite lived up to the hype. Sigh.)
  9. Drink hot chocolate at Sunset Rock.
  10. Have some sort of Halloween Party. (Sweet, innocent Tim McD and Kimery are coming to visit and I’m thinking I’m going to force some sort of fest on them muahaha. Of course, this will probably end up being us starting a Harry Potter movie while drinking this. Just kidding, I hope we’re not that boring yet.)
  11. Take a million photos of Summer…oh wait. I do this daily.
  12. Dress her up for Halloween! She and I will be in Ft. Lauderdale for this occasion and boy does my mama have plans.

So there’s a start at least. Who knows what will happen ha. Anyway, I’m sorry it took me so long to post again. It’s mostly because last week we had a really terrible time with Summer. She cried constantly, needed to be held all the time, woke up throughout the night, and just seemed miserable. She also started to get a little rash on her forehead, tummy, and feet. I was so upset for a while, thinking that her personality must have altered and now I had a miserable baby instead of a happy one. Which, of course, would be fine cause it’s not like she’s going to be a baby forever–I just missed her giggles and smiles and stuff. But then in addition to the rash, she stopped wanting to eat anything and thus stopped wetting her diaper. We finally realized that she must be sick. We went to the doctor last Monday and he told us that she has a little stomach virus, which was also causing the rash (luckily Summer had a really mild version). He recommended that we give her Pedialyte to keep her hydrated and told us that it should remedy itself in a few days. Luckily, he was so right. After only one or two small drinks of Pedialyte, she was ready to nurse again, which was a HUGE relief. We made it through several episodes of diarrhea and just one more grumpy day and then she was back!! We are so grateful that she got better as quickly as she got sick. This is the first time she’s been ill, so Tim and I feel like we’ve made it through another parenting challenge. High five (said like Borat). The last few days I’ve inadvertently been doing even more fawning over her because I’m just so grateful that she’s still the same sweet yummy girl.

Other recent highlights include a visit from Ellen, a Taylor friend yesterday! She was a junior when I was a freshman, and that class on our wing treated us babies like royalty. Best upperclassmen award, for sure. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years, so it was great to be with a fellow 2CO lady, catching up and walking around Highlands.

Also, Tim has been kicking butt at both work and school lately. He’s had an amazing work week, what with town being CRAZY and packed with leaf-lookers and such. He’s so sweet and complains so little. What a troopah. Also, he’s got a 97% in his class right now BAM.

And also! Summer is so close to crawling! She gets herself on her hands and knees all the time, and then pushes up into planks haha. Little yogi. But still no mobility!

And finally, here are some recent photos. 🙂

on love.

I think…Summer sort of told me she loved me last night (not with words of course, let’s not get crazy). This is something I wasn’t expecting for years, and I also wasn’t sure what it would feel like. I mean, kids simply do not have the depth and severity of love for their parents like parents do for them. My love for her is completely unconditional (but obvious and not-so-obviously  differs from the love between Tim and I). Tim and I will always have an exchange, actions and words that keep the other one aware of how loved and adored they are. We can always count on each other for that. But with Summer, I am totally prepared to lavish everything I have on her without the same sort of reciprocity. Therein lies the mystery in what receiving love from your own children is like. But just yesterday, I think she and I exchanged something like an understanding of love. For all I know this is completely in my head but whatevs. Allow me to describe:

Last night Summer had a particularly monstrous bed time.

Typically, she’ll have a bath, be really cuddly and giggly for a bit, and then settle down for the last supper. Most nights she falls asleep while eating. Whenever she doesn’t, we just lay her in her crib after we are positive that she is no longer hungry, and sometimes she’ll cry and squirm about for a while but she falls asleep on her own pretty quickly. Recently, this has all been transpiring by 11:00 the latest, but last night 11:00 came and went and there was little chatty Summer, displaying zero interest in leaving the party. Uh-oh.

At a little after 11, I laid her in her crib. This was met with expected crying so I quickly left and shut the door. (Such sounds are too painful to bear.) Ten minutes go by and this girl is WAILING. I mean screaming, freaking out, losing it. I went back in her room half-tempted to rip it apart searching for the predator making her squawk so hideously. I rubbed her back and shushed her until she calmed down. Side note: it really is the weirdest thing that babies like being shushed. I literally loathe it. Actually, it’s the only time I got mad during labor–when I thought Tim was shushing me.

I stayed for a long time and when she seemed okay, I left again. This time it took only two minutes for the crying to escalate to sheer hysteria comparable to a miserable hyena. Nonny Karen is visiting so she went in to have a go at it. By this point, we are all on the verge of tears because of how horrid and sad the crying is, and because we are simply dying to watch the season premiere of Homeland and we’re already a day behind (#goodbyebreakingbad). Haha just kidding, it is completely because we hate when she cries (she so rarely does) and by now I’m feeling like the worst mother in the world. I keep thinking about how she must be so mad at me cause if I were her I’d be screaming in contempt, not loneliness. Like jeez woman why you gotta be so cold.

Soon I heard footsteps coming down the hallway and thought “Holy crap. This has gotten so bad that Summer taught herself to walk so that she could escape.” But no; I learned that as soon as Nonny picked her up, she began throwing herself at and reaching for the door. So now here she was: her face salty and wet and her eyes fixed on me. I am the target of her fury and I am full of guilt because she must feel full of betrayal. Tim took her and whispered loving thoughts to her in a way that would have hushed me contentedly, but to each their own, I guess. Her eyes stayed on me. I ashamedly began making my way towards her to shower her in apologies and kisses and cuddles, and I was met with her lunging at and reaching for me. I winced and prepared for the blow, but no. She just held me and I seriously died. She just hugged me and cried into my shoulder much more softly, and truly we were both so grateful for each other. I bounced her up and down until she finally slipped into slumber. In order to prolong this magical moment of her sweet love, I shrunk into the rocking chair and just kept her close to me for a while longer before I laid her peacefully in her bed. I was literally ecstatic.

I know I’m really stretching the significance of this, but to me her choice of, hugs for, and contentment with me was a gift. It was her saying “I love you, mama!” long before I expected it. I am so excited for little gifts like these that I will unexpectedly receive throughout her life, hopefully culminating in her friendship.

Side note: Summer totally adores Tim. I’m definitely not the only person she ever wants to spend time with. And when Tim is playing his guitar or singing, it’s over. And also she was alone with Nonny for a while yesterday and today and was totally happy. This was just a random incident of her wanting my affection that just slaughtered me with yummies.

P.S.S. I am in no way against Ferberizing.

Lastly, this was all over by 11:45, for those interested.

Here are some photos!

glider high chair