Hello, Little Bit

Dear Little Bit,

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Let me start by telling you how much you are loved and wanted already. It has been a long year of praying, doubt and yet feeling hopeful, and all of that together has made it one incredible year in a variety of ways. And now that you’re here, and it’s all happening again, we can say that our joy is all the more abundant and meaningful.

I found out I was pregnant during our spring break with my family on Sunday, March 22. Your Dad wasn’t yet with us on the trip so I decided to keep it a secret for the next few days until I could tell him in person. When he arrived at the airport on Tuesday, I met him with the following signs:

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I expected your Dad to freak out when I flipped the sign over revealing the news, but he just threw back his head, laughed and said, “I knew it!” He had been reading his Bible on the flight and praying for you, Little Bit, and he said that all of a sudden he had an overwhelming peace and knowledge that you were already in our lives.

And after the long wait, I have to say that I feel the same way too. Just a great deal of peace. In a little over one week, we will get to see you for the very first time and hear your heartbeat. We are eagerly waiting that day, but more importantly, we are anticipating your arrival in our arms, in our home and in our lives in late November/early December.

You are loved, you are loved, you are loved.

Always,

Mom

Mother’s & Father’s Days

Let’s just combine these two, shall we?

Mother’s Day weekend was a little hectic this year; however, it was very, very fun. Ryan and I were in Cincinnati celebrating a friend’s birthday while Charlotte was at the Randolph’s lake house. We were fortunate enough to have lunch with Ryan’s parents, his grandparents and aunt, uncle and cousin on Sunday.

Once we were together as a family of three, we had dinner at a local restaurant near our new home. It was a quiet evening, perfect after a crazy weekend. And it was topped off with a Dyson — I must have been a good Mom this year!

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For Father’s Day, we surprised Ryan with donuts in bed, went to church and then shopped for some new professional clothes for the hard-working man in our lives.

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I love, love, love being a Mom to Charlotte, and though transitioning into my role as a stay-at-home-mom last year was a little scary at first, I wouldn’t trade this decision or this life for anything else. It has so richly blessed me beyond anything I deserve, and I’m so happy to have a husband that loves and supports me in this decision.

As for Ryan, I can’t speak highly enough of how he is thriving in his role as a Dad. Charlotte is just 18-months old, but it’s clear that she loves her Daddy. He is so wonderful with her, and it makes my heart swell to hear or see them playing with one another. He’s good about teaching her, especially during their nightly bath time routine. And he’s pretty much wrapped around her finger.

Needless to say, we absolutely love being parents, and we celebrate parenthood not just on these days but every day through the year.

Ryan’s 30th!

Ryan turned 30 on October 13, and that warranted a celebration! We headed down to Indianapolis for the weekend to meet up with both of our families, including Ryan’s grandparents.

At dinner, we announced that we’re moving to Indianapolis in three weeks — so there was much to be happy about and toast to.

Ryan, I’m so glad you were born, and I love spending each day of our lives together. You’re a wonderful husband and father, and I’ve learned in the last few years that you only get better with age. I love you, sweetheart!

The dirty 30.
The dirty 30.
After dinner at Mesh on Mass Ave.
After dinner at Mesh on Mass Ave.
Drinks at ball & biscuit.
Drinks at ball & biscuit.
Late night for the parentals.
Late night for the parentals.
The next day, we went to Apple Works in Trafalgar, Indiana.
The next day, we went to Apple Works in Trafalgar, Indiana.

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Ryan’s 1st Father’s Day

It was so fun to celebrate the king of our castle this year. It is no surprise to me that Ryan is an incredible Dad to Charlotte, as I’m sure it isn’t to anyone else too. It’s like this guy was made to have a little girl.

They spend each of their mornings together, and Charlotte always wears the biggest smile for him when he comes home from work. When he’s home, they love to play on the floor, eat dinner and do the nightly bath together.

I can’t imagine a better Dad for Charlotte. Ryan is so patient with her and lives to see her laugh. He is the one that answers her morning cries, and he’s also usually the best at making her feel safe and calm. I cannot wait to witness their relationship unfold as the years go on, and I pray that she realizes sooner rather than later how blessed she is with a Dad like Ryan.

Happy Father’s Day to our main man!

Charlotte's Father's Day "craft."
Charlotte’s Father’s Day “craft.”
We made breakfast...
We made breakfast…
...during which Charlotte looked cute in the kitchen...
…during which Charlotte looked cute in the kitchen…
...and then we delivered it to Dad in bed on Saturday morning.
…and then we delivered it to Dad in bed on Saturday morning.
Sunday Brunch at Porkchop.
Sunday Brunch at Porkchop after church.
Best buddies.
Best buddies.
You can't make this stuff up.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Charlotte's gift to her Dad was a Cubs game.
Charlotte’s gift to her Dad was a Cubs game the weekend following Father’s Day.
It was her first one...
It was her first one…
...and the #1 Dad got her to fall asleep during the fifth inning.
…and the #1 Dad got her to fall asleep during the fifth inning.
Thank goodness we found a section that had a ton of open seats available. It was a HOT day, and we needed some shade and a breeze.
Thank goodness we found a section that had a ton of open seats available. It was a HOT day, and we needed some shade and a breeze.

Charlotte: 2 Months

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Dear Charlotte,

Well, Little Bit, we have the second month under our belt, and what a difference a month makes. Though you’ve grown so much physically and developmentally this month, I think I’ve grown even more.

The first month was like getting to know any other human being. I not only didn’t feel comfortable breastfeeding, giving you baths and changing your clothes, but I also didn’t feel totally secure in talking and singing to you. As with any other person, I was shy and wasn’t sure you liked me, as dumb as that sounds.

But this second month, I’ve done a 180. We chat with one another, I sing weird songs and talk in a high-pitched voice as I narrate everything we do together. And you seem to love all of it. When you cry, I can usually tell what you are specifically trying to communicate to me, and also, when you’re just crying for no reason. I finally feel like I know what I’m doing — not just as a mom but as YOUR Mom.

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Now about you…

You are at such a fun age! You coo and smile and even squeal a little bit, and it’s too much cuteness to take sometimes. While you pay a little attention to your toys, you’re still enamored by inanimate objects like ceiling fans, our media center and something in the kitchen — although we haven’t pinpointed it yet. Oh, and you know what else captures your attention? The television. Yes, we already have to tell you to stop watching television.

We have been so blessed to have your Dad at home on paternity leave for the past two months, which is pretty much unheard of. With your Dad here, we’ve managed to all stay sane despite a weird sleep schedule and maintain basic hygiene standards. You two have kicked off every morning with one another, worn weird outfits that don’t quite match and become quite the Daddy’s Girl. He had to go back to work this week, and we definitely miss him — maybe me more than you at this point. And in other job news, I officially quit mine this week to stay home with you full-time. It’s the job I have always wanted the most, and I can’t believe you’re finally here and I’m finally doing it. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet…

This past month, you celebrated your first Christmas and New Year’s and hung out with your cousin Jack for the first time. With it being winter in Chicago now, there won’t be too many more adventures on our monthly lists, but once the weather is warm, I have a whole slew of activities planned — get ready!

All in all, you are such a happy little baby, and you let us know just how happy you are when you’re awake. We are falling more in love with you every day, and we hope you’re having just as much fun discovering the life around you as we are!

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Love,
Mom

Weight: 11 lbs, 11 oz — 60th percentile
Height: 23.5 in — 86th percentile
Clothing size: In 0 – 3 month clothes, exclusively, for now! However, some of her 0 – 3 month pants create a muffin top effect. So we’ve hid those away, and they’ll never come back to haunt her again!

Charlotte Likes: Talking, smiling, kisses, Mommy’s weird noises and singing, Daddy’s silly faces, sucking on her hands and her glowing sea horse from Great Grandma Pat. Favorite songs include Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks, Ho Hey by the Lumineers and Abba’s Dancing Queen.
Charlotte Dislikes: Going to the bathroom during naps, being cold after a bath and boogers in her nose (seriously, the other day, it was like the end of the world). Oh, and tummy time is still her nemesis.

Diapers: We’re still cloth diapering around here, and I’m glad we’ve stuck with it! Charlotte has suddenly, however, outgrown the small cloth diaper sizes so we are graduating to medium. Unfortunately, that means we’re having to wait for the new size to get shipped to our home so she’s been in disposables for the past few days.

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Sleep: A week and a half ago, “napping” would have made it onto Charlotte’s “Dislikes” list. But she has really become MUCH better at it. That’s because I’ve finally figured out the optimal time to set her down — an hour and 15 minutes after her last nap and that includes her feeding time.

She’s still sleeping great at night! We put her down and while sometimes it takes a while for her to fall asleep, we never have to deal with a crying baby trying to go to sleep. She sleeps for stretches of five, six and very rarely seven hours at a time. I could say that we’re almost sleeping eight hours — but I’ve recently realized that I’ve been doing my nighttime feedings ALL WRONG, according to Babywise.

So we’re back to square one, which means I’m getting up twice in the night again to feed her. I wake her up the first time, and she wakes me up the second time. But I’ll detail that more in a post I’m working on about how I totally screwed up Babywise. Dang it.

Feed: Charlotte averages eight feedings a day and wakes up for food every three-ish hours. She’s still exclusively on breast milk, and now that we both have the hang of that, we’re enjoying it immensely.

Happy 2 Months, Charlotte Ruth!

Charlotte’s Nursery

The nursery has been “under construction” for months now, but it has been so fun to take our time with this and make every detail special just for her. While there are still a few items I need to hang up or find room for, the nursery is finally done enough for me to show.

Like I mentioned in the Apartment Tour post, we did not paint any of the rooms in the apartment when we moved in. As you’ll see, this was pretty much the only room left untouched, so we needed to make up the color somehow. I’ve always loved navy and gray and knew that I wanted to incorporate those colors, but I was feeling uninspired about the “wow” color until I saw a blog post on Lay Baby Lay, which is probably the best nursery blog you’ll find out there. Surprisingly, Ryan agreed to coral right away.

In July, we actually made the first steps toward putting the nursery together by assembling a crib. When we found out that we were having a girl, there was only one crib choice for me: the Jenny Lind Crib.

Swoonworthy: when your husband builds a crib for your baby.
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We then scoured Craigslist and second-hand furniture shops for a dresser/changing table. One day, each of us stumbled across the same one separately on Craigslist. Although I wasn’t 100% sold on it, we bought it from this guy who buys vintage furniture at auctions and then restores the pieces. I used the term “restore” loosely here because after purchasing the dresser, we found that he was terrible at repainting furniture. Fortunately, we were going to paint it a different color anyway.

Now that the changing table/dresser is done, I’m SO GLAD we bought this one. It’s beyond perfect both aesthetically and functionally. Everything else just seemed minor to these two pieces and don’t really have a “backstory.” So without further adieu…

This area is Charlotte’s little “book nook.” As you can see, Little Miss has so many books already so she will definitely be well read thanks to our friends and families. Her books are accompanied by a little night light we got from Ikea, a vase that I just had to have for this room from Anthropologie, her lamb bank from Deeda (aka Mama Linda) and her Potbelly Bear (I had one just like this as a kid — ask me what happened to him).

We found the glider on Walmart.com, of all places. It was NOT easy to find a glider that I loved that wasn’t crazily overpriced. But I finally found it, and so far, we love it. And I equally love the quilt on the glider as well. This was made for us by one of Ryan’s good friends, Katie, and we’ve deemed it Charlotte’s official baby blanket — the one that we preserve and she’s not allowed to sleep with until it’s merely shreds of fabric. Finally, the rug in this room is from my aforementioned favorite place, RugsUSA.

You all know the story of our changing table/dresser now. Above the dresser, we have a few photos from Irene Suchocki, who I’ve been obsessing over for years. Her prints just have a wanderlust whimsy about them, and they’re also affordable for someone who has been featured on many blogs and morning television programs. You can find her Etsy shop here. The other framed pieces are vintage fairy tale etchings that my mother used as part of the decor for my family shower — of course, one of these features Cinderella.

That dresser is practically overflowing with clothes. As I mentioned in our Apartment Tour post, we don’t have much closet space in this apartment. I have her 0 – 3 month clothes hanging in there currently, but everything else, along with blankets, burp cloths and cloth diapers are housed in this monstrosity of a dresser.

Finally, we have her crib area, which features her little wicker trunk that houses her toys and the mobile I made above her bed, which I found the DIY instructions for on Oh Happy Day! Josh’s girlfriend also made a mobile, but it’s a little too heavy to hang above the bed so it’s going somewhere else in the nursery.

Sorry for the overkill on the word count. We’ve just put a lot of work and thought into the nursery, and we’re just a little obsessed with it. It’s ok if you’re not.

Ok, Charlotte, it’s reeeeaaaady for whenever you are!

Happy Two Year Anniversary!

I can’t believe it was only two years ago that Ryan and I said “I Do.” It feels much longer than that but in the best way. This also marks the anniversary of when we started dating as well…

Ryan and I had known each other in college but had never officially dated at school. However, there was always a strong connection between the two of us, something we both felt but just wasn’t right for that point in our lives.

The weekend it all started — dressed as a mime and Gilligan at a Halloween party. Awesome costumes, past selves.

A few months after I graduated in May 2007, Ryan randomly IMed me one night (thanks, Internet!), and we spent a few hours chatting. The following night, he sent me a text message, and I knew at that point that this was the start of something big.

In October of that year, I made a weekend trip to Chicago from Greencastle, where I was living and working at the time, and well, most of you know how the rest goes…

One year later. At this point, I had officially “followed a boy to Chicago” and was settled in an apartment a few blocks away.
In October 2009, we had just recently arrived in Buenos Aires, where we spent about six weeks exploring the city before scoping out the rest of the continent. This is the Floralis Generica in the neighborhood of Recoleta — it opens and closes throughout the day.
On October 30, 2010, we celebrated our wedding day with friends and family. My favorite part of the day? Our ceremony — it felt like we were the only two people in that room.
Last year, we made a quick trip to Denver and Winter Park for our anniversary — it was by far one of the most relaxing trips we’ve taken (if you’re ever in the area, we HIGHLY recommend Devil’s Thumb Ranch). Oh…and this photo was taken on the side of the road, in the mountains, in 40 mph winds. Great idea.

Obviously, celebrating our anniversary this year is a little different. There are no costume parties lined up or trips to take. Instead, we’re waiting on our little one and enjoying a nice dinner at “our place,” NoMI. As you can see, October 30 has always been a significant day for our relationship — maybe it will bring a baby too?