Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hattie: 18-ish months

Oh my, Hattie.  How you've grown up since you turned one.  Or maybe it started with when you began walking.  I can't quite pinpoint when exactly it was that you broke out of your shell...but you are out and you are a sweet spunky little girler (as you are affectionately known around here--pretty creative nickname for our little girl:).
It's not hard for an onlooker to figure out who you would call your best friend.  You spend every waking minute following Griffy around, imitating him, antagonizing him, laughing at him and making him laugh.  
 I was looking forward to our time together when Griffin started preschool, but you are lost without him.  We have to plan something away from our house because being at our house without him is just weird for you.
 For a few months after you started walking, you carried the evidence of your ever increasing independence...usually on one or both sides of your forehead.
You have a deep and endearing love for animals.  For your first love Cooper, and all of the animals you haven't met yet.  Some of your favorites are ponies, kitties, bears and birds.  Any books about animals are your favorites and you mastered your animals sounds long before the other words you learned.  You are talking more and more everyday...lots of "yes" and "no," but an every increasing vocabulary that I understand far more than anyone else.  You love to babble in your own little language and we just nod right along with you.
Even though you have started stretching your boundaries and straying further out into the world, you still have one arm wrapped around your mamma.  I am your comfort zone, and though it poses a hassle to me in some social situations...I love it.  You get nervous around new people, especially elderly people and when you see someone coming toward us, you start patting my back as if to continuously check that I'm still there, still holding you.  I am.  Always.
One of your favorite activities while I'm feeding Archie (and am a sitting duck who can't play, wipe your nose, or reach a toy) is to "call dada."  You grab my phone and start pretending and I ask "who are you calling?"  100% of the time, you say, "dada."  Then we actually call dada and we all just pretend to have a clue what you are saying, but you certainly have some things to tell your daddy on the phone, and I love that.  PS- you called for dada after naps for the first time, and I'm pretty sure that as if you didn't already, you surely now have him wrapped around your little finger.  And boy is he crazy about you. 

 In addition to loving animals...
...you also love trains, babies, and snacks.  Oh, how you love snacks.  And it's not like you don't eat your meals.  You eat everything...and I love it.  The best compliment I get as chef is you, devouring everything.
This stage in your life was unique in that you became a big sister.  You are still our baby girl, but now you are a big sister and you already love on Archie in the only way you've been taught to love on your baby sibling.  You love to "hold you," whenever I am holding him (for just a few seconds before you are "all done"), you kiss him all the time (probably how he got his first cold), you are always trying to give him his "da" and it makes you very anxious when he cries (which thankfully is not very often). 
Hattie, Archie is so blessed to have you as a big sister.  When you were born and I saw the love Griffin had immediately for you, my heart exploded.  And it exploded again witnessing your instantaneous love for your baby brother. 
As I said, you are in such an interesting development phase.  You are so much more independent and wanting to try things all by yourself, but yet you are still so dependent on us.  You can do so many things by yourself, it's amazing.  You feed yourself, with utensils.  (Griffin is just learning to do this as a 3 year old:).  You drink from a cup, you can sit on a chair and eat dinner.  You play by yourself, you read books, you get me a diaper and lay down for diaper changes.  Such a little helper you are.
I love your sense of caution in the midst of curiosity.  This trait will serve you well.  Having a baby is so much easier because I can count on you to check in with me.  You are not one to wander away, run away or get lost.  You are like a little herding sheep dog.  You go out, check things out and then check back.  Then go a little farther, and right back.

Another amazing quality I see in you is your empathy.  You have a very strong sense of how the people around you are feeling.  When Griffin and or Archie cries, you cry.  Or you come tell me that Archie is "cry....cry..." in your very concerned face.  I love seeing how your heart feels and connects with your brothers.  The same is true of their happiness.  You are a sucker for Griffin's laugh.  But so are we all.
Did I mention that you follow Griffin, EVERYWHERE.  You copy EVERYTHING he does.

Your daddy and I are often in awe of the two of you. Of your relationship with each other, and how you two have shaped each other.  I don't even like to consider who you would be if not for him and vice versa.  And while you copy most things he does, you have found ways to make him laugh and copy you.  He knows he isn't supposed to "splash big" in bathtub.  But, he also knows I know you don't know better, yet.  Just last night, I hear him say to you quietly, "Hattie, do you want to splash? Splash, Hattie!"  And moments later he's roaring with laughter. 

When we get you all tucked in for bed, with your pinky, bluey and da....we say "I love you," and you point your finger back to us, waiting for us to point our finger back to you, to touch fingers in the sweetest little non-verbal, "I love you," that's all of your own invention.  We go back and forth while leaving your room, "You."  "You."  "You."  "You." 
On one especially tired night, you were almost asleep by the time you hit the pillow (or the corner of the crib that you love to snuggle up in), and I said, "I love you," but I figured you were so tired I started to leave...and I took one last look at you and though your eyes were closed, head buried, you lifted up your little pointer finger to tell me you loved me too. 
You, Hattie.  You.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Griffin 3.5 going on 6

When asked how old he is, Griffin will give you a variety of answers.  The accurate answer is 3 1/2, barely.  He might tell you he's almost 4, which is not the case or he'll give you another random number 5 and up, which also clearly is not accurate.  The highest I've heard him go is 13.  He may also tell you he's almost in Kindergarten.   Which will be true, in a year and a half.
I so love his desire to be more independent, to be old enough, big enough, smart enough to do certain things.  But I don't want my baby to grow up, so I'm going to try to remember what he's like as a 3, oh sorry, 3 1/2 year old.
Griffin started preschool this year.  He has Mrs. Lindemann and he loves it.  He loves everything about it.  But most especially, Julia.  He and Julia didn't spend a ton of time together this summer, so when they were reunited in preschool, it was like they had to make up for lost time, and yet they haven't missed a beat.
Griffin loves his family.  When he talks about people, he talks most about his family.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins.  They are his people.  It stressed him out when his homework assignment for preschool that was a "get to know you" page asked for a picture of his family, and I told him they really just meant the people he lived with.  He wants everyone to be in our family.  He is so inclusive and inviting.
Griff also has a love of nicknames and abbreviations.  He most recently nicknamed the neighbor boys, "the neibs" (pronounced Nabes).  "Mom!  I'm going to go check if the Neibs are outside!"  He likes to shorten almost anything or anyone's name.  And it is most definitely a term of endearment.

He's got a lot going on inside that white curly head of his.   He's really into his numbers and letters, and wants to know or guesses what everything starts with.  He also counts everything and can even articulate patterns, "Mom, when I turn 4, Hattie will turn 2.  When I turn 5, Hattie will turn 3...etc."  I've seen him go all the way up to "When I turn 11, Hattie will turn 9."  He loves to ponder "What's faster....a cheetah or an airplane?"  "What's stronger...an alligator or a tree?"  Mom, if dragons aren't real, can they have Jesus in their hearts?"
All of the sudden, out of nowhere, you stopped being a toddler and became a preschooler.  I understand that your timing was perfect in this transition, but I wasn't ready for it.  We frequently joke that you are not allowed to get big and that you must stay my baby forever.  Even though you desire so much to get big, have more responsibilities and do more things, I think you secretly love that you'll be my baby forever.

You went to a neighbor's birthday party this weekend.  I let you pick one treat from your party favor bag.  You beat Hattie and me home and when I walked in you were chewing on something.  I asked Dadda what you were eating and he said, "nothing."  I said, "Griffin, what are you chewing on?"  You gave me the sneakiest little look and said, "It's just chocolate crumbs."  As if those didn't count as anything!?  You are hilarious.

Your sense of humor cracks me up.  I can hardly remember any of the things you say, but you are funny.  Really, really, funny.  Perfect timing, perfect delivery, perfect wittiness, funny.  I can't wait to take you out to dinner when you turn 16.  Oh yes I can, remember, you are supposed to be my baby forever?

In the midst of the rough and tumble, competitive, racing, sport playing, tackling, ball hucking, Viking cheering boy you are, you have the sweetest heart.  The way you look at me, at your dad, at your sister and brother....it gives me lumpers.  From the moment Hattie was born, you have been her biggest protector and instant friend.  I don't know why or how I forgot all that, but I got to see it again when Archie came into our lives.  Your love for your family is so powerful and sincere I can barely talk about it (thankfully I can type it).
You always want a chance to hold Archie, even for a moment.  You come racing out of your bed if you forgot to say goodnight to him.
You already give him thoughts and feelings about how much he loves you and you frequently tell me what he wants and you're usually right.
 Don't get me wrong, you have your difficult moments.  Usually when you're tired or hungry.  But even in the midst of a breakdown, you're easy to reach.  You're a softy.  If I can get in a hug, you're back.  You respond so well to my empathy and you are so reasonable for a 3 (and a half) year old.  The other day Cooper ate your special shark cookie, and all I had to say in the throws of a hug was, "I'm so sorry that Cooper did that, it makes me sad too that he ate your cookie."  And you were fine.
My words will never do justice to the specific joy you bring to our lives.  I feel so privileged to know you and get to be your mom.  With each milestone you've hit, your personality and being flourish even more and I am so proud of you.  If you have to grow up and get big, just promise me you'll always stay my baby.

While I was putting you to bed the other night, we were all done with stories, songs, prayers, etc.  We were just lying there, and I thought you might be sleeping.  Just before I was going to make my move for the door you said,

"Mom, I really like...." 

"What honey, what do you really like?" 


The moment my heart exploded.  Griffin, I really like you too.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Archie: 1 month

I know this feeling.  It's only been a month, but I can barely remember life without him.  Archie, you are already such an important part of our lives and we are all head over heels for you.

At two weeks you weighed in at 9 lbs. 7 oz. so I'm guessing you're right around 10 lbs.  You eat like a champ, every 3 hours during the day and about every 4-5 at night.  Because the other two knuckleheads get up about 7, we try to start our day at that time each day.  It helps with your schedule and making everyone's day a little more predictable.

You are so mild.  Do you know you are a third child?  You are so patient with us, and you love the noisy chaos that is our family.  You sleep better in the midst of the hectic than in a quiet room.  You already don't want to be left out.  When you're awake, you are so content.  Content to stare into my eyes, look around and practice kicking your legs.  You're a spitter like your sibs, but don't worry, I know how to handle the mess and Cooper will love the milky treats you'll leave him all over the place.  The verdict is out on the nuk...sometimes you like it, sometimes you don't. 

I love watching you sleep.  You make silly faces, frowns, scowls, and my favorite, smiles.  You seem wise beyond your weeks, like you know everything that's going on around you, you just can't tell us yet.

Your brother and sister love you so much.  I think you stole Griffin's heart when you gave him cleats in the hospital.  He tells everyone.  He wants to wear anything to match you and he daily talks about how he's going to teach you to play baseball, golf and run fast.  He loves to hold you and tell me what you're thinking.  It's usually that you're thinking how much you love Griffy.  Which you do.

Hattie calls you 'baby' and she wants to hold you whenever I am.  It's a miracle that she's not jealous of your getting most of my attention, but it must only be because she loves you...and love wins, doesn't it?  She's very mindful of getting you a nuk (your "da") and loves to snuggle up next to you on the floor under the "deep blue sea."

 And call me progressive using pink "1 month" stickers on my baby boy...or just call me creative...or just a recycler.  I actually just never ordered any new stickers and then realized I could just use Hattie's and photoshop a new color, however, lack of free time has left no room for photoshop.  Sorry, little man.  Next month I think are green.

Your dad and I just stare at you.  We talk about how wonderful you are, how beautiful you are and how you are uniquely you.  We are excited for who you'll become as time passes, but this first month with you has been so precious. 

Archie man, you have so effortlessly joined our family, wooed us, and stolen our hearts.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet Archie

Introducing Archer Robert Woodbury.  Archie was born Tuesday September 16th, 2013 at 10:59 am.  He was 8 lbs. 13 oz. and 20 inches long, sporting a full head of blonde, curly hair, and is the newest love of my life.
I woke up at about 4:30 am with contractions.  Since this wasn't the first time I had been awoken by contractions, I was not alarmed, but taking note of how close they were together, how strong they were and if I could fall back asleep.  By about 6 am I knew this was it and I woke Nate up to tell him.  We packed our bags, and the kids bags so everything was ready to go for when they woke up around 7. 
We had breakfast as a family of four, called Meme and Inan to come get the kids and enjoyed a quiet morning.  Well, I enjoyed it on the outside, but was laboring in silence to myself.  They pulled away from our house about 8:30.  We tidied up our house, and called the hospital to let them know we were coming in the next hour. 

We got to the hospital at about 9:30 and the nurse at the desk was getting everything ready for me to go to the room where they check you to decide if you are in labor.  Thankfully a seasoned nurse walked by at this time and witnessed me contracting, and while silent, she knew I was farther along than it looked at quick glance.  She asked if this was my first, and I told her it was my third.  She asked if I thought I was getting pretty close and I said yes.  So, she suggested bypassing the assessment room and we took a short cut to labor and delivery.

By the time we got to the room and got settled it was about 10:15.  The nurse checked me and informed me I was 8 cm.  The doctor came in shortly after and we made as quick a plan that we could.  1.  Get epidural or intrathecal  2. Break water  3. Have baby. 

When the anesthesiologist came, we decided to go with the epidural.  So, he got it in place and let me know that I should only feel 2 more contractions and then the epidural would kick in.  I specifically remember this moment because when there is an end in sight, enduring what comes next doesn't seem so bad.  It's finite.  I even said back to him, "then I will enjoy these last two."  Then, the doctor broke my water.

By the third and then the fourth contraction that passed after that, I knew something hadn't gone as planned.  I remembered the relief I felt with Griffin at 10 cm when the epidural kicked in almost immediately.  The relief didn't come, only the urge to push.  I told this to the nurse and I caught a quick glimpse of panic in her eye.  She calmly mentioned she'd get the anesthesiologist back to fix it.  Then she checked me again and said that instead of the anesthesiologist she was going to get the OB.  It was time, and the epidural didn't work.

This was new.  Hattie's labor and delivery had gone so similarly to Griffin's, and we had timed the epirdural/intrathecal so perfectly both times, I had done much of the labor but still had some relief for the actual delivery.  I had thought I could time it that way again, but Archie was coming too fast and his head was too low that it somehow blocked the epidural from taking effect.  As the pain and pressure increased, I was scared, but tried to keep in mind that there still would be an end, he would be out soon.

It was not that I didn't enjoy Archie's birth because of the pain, I did.  It was even more emotional because of the pain.  There was more at stake to get him out and meet him.  I remember cherishing Nate's supportive words and using the look of excitement on his face to focus on our sweet boy.  After a few minutes of pushing, it was all over, but it had only just begun.  We met Archie.

All 8 pounds 13 ounces of Archie.  His amazing hair, and his striking handsomeness.  When we met him we were almost shocked at how much he looked like Griffin.  Minus the dimple chin, we were sure they were twins.  As the minutes and hours passed after he was born, he started to look less and less like Griffin and more and more like himself. 

On the day he was born he got to meet his big brother Griff and big sister Hattie, almost all of his grandparents and his Aunt Elissa.  We cherished our time with him in the hospital and home alone with him before the kids came back and we fell in love, as parents, for the third time. 

Tomorrow he will be 4 weeks old.  And in this short time we've had to get to know him, we have gotten to see him become his own little baby.  While he may follow in his brother's footsteps, he will not be in his brother's shadow.  He is already an amazing little boy, all on his own.  In the words of his grandma Shelley, "He looks like Archie, no one else." 

Welcome, Archie.  Our lives are forever changed the day we welcomed you.  Our sweet baby boy.  We are beyond blessed to meet you.
 I am overwhelmed with love for you, little one.  I can't believe how blessed I am to call you "mine."