Four Months

It’s been four months today since my mom died.

There’s so much to freak out about it’s impossible to write it all down.

One strange fact I can’t let go of:  Salem was about 4 1/2 months old when she lost her Nana, whom I know loved her the most.  Salem is now almost 9 months old.  I have taken comfort in the fact that Nana knew Salem for more than half of her tiny, short, just-beginning life. She loved her for 4 1/2 months.

Two weeks after my mom died, I could still stay that she knew Salem for most of her wild baby life.  Two months after my mom died, I could still say that she knew Salem for more than half of her bold little life. But very soon, the math will turn around.  4 1/2 + 4 1/2 = 9.  After Salem is 9 months old, my mom will have known her for less than half of her sweet, perfect life.  As time goes on, the overlap between Salem’s life and my mom’s will become very, very tiny. A dot on the timeline of both of their lives.

My mom spent a little over two weeks, total, with Salem.

She held her when she was 8 days old:

December 3, 2016
December 4, 2016

She held her for a week at Christmas:

December 21, 2016

And she held her in March when we visited Cleveland over Spring Break:

March 25, 2017
March 27, 2017

I have maybe a hundred, or more, photos of my mom with Tyler.  But this is all I have of my mom with Salem.  Five photos.  Five photos of my mom and my bitty baby who is her mini-me.

 

It’s the lips, and her smile.  We see her Nana in her every day.  Even Tyler calls it out when he sees her “Bonnieface.”  I can’t believe my mom isn’t here to see her grow up.  Tyler, either, but even at 2 1/2 she could have a conversation with him, play with him, read books with him. They say he won’t remember, but he might surprise us all.  Salem doesn’t have a chance.

She has five photos.

One Year Ago

March 7th, 2016 was an emotional day for us.  It was a Monday.  Tyler was exactly 19 months old.  And it was the fourth (and final) attempt for us to conceive through IUI.  We arrived at Conceptions with dread outweighing the excitement.  We’d been down this road three times already in the past four months, each time the anticipation waning and the fear growing.  What if it didn’t work?  Thankfully, we never had to answer that question.  Two weeks later we learned we were pregnant.

With Tyler, Eric diligently took a photo of me every day and made an amazing video to document that special time in our lives.  You can see that here.  It still makes me cry.

With Salem….second child.  I’m sorry, sweetie.  We just weren’t that committed to the daily, or even weekly, photo.  But here are a few shots of me in some really cute maternity dresses growing a really cute baby.

24 weeks. First day of school!
28 weeks.
30 weeks. Hiking near Maroon Bells outside of Aspen.
31 weeks. That’s my classroom.
34 weeks. Post-season baseball nearly sent me into labor. GO TRIBE!
35 weeks. The leaves have fallen but I’m still wearing flip-flops.
38.5 weeks. The first snow of the year, so we had to go outside at school and see it.

Salem arrived eight days after the snowy photo, three days before her due date.  She’s now just over three months old.  When people say so much can change in a year, it’s amazingly true.  One year ago we didn’t know if we’d ever have another baby, and now we have Salem, who’s not even a newborn anymore.

Loving life!

And Tyler…he’s now been around for THREE March 7ths.

7 months old, at a brewery.
19 months old, at a brewery.  We made Salem the very next day.

OK OK both of those are from March 6th, which was a weekend both years. Besides, once he hit 100 breweries by age 2, he kind of got over it.

31 months old, heading to church.

He has an adorable dinosaur button-down on but insisted on wearing his “baseball jacket” which he will make you snap up to the neck.

I know most people don’t recognize the day their babies were made, but for us, those days were really significant.  Tyler was made on Eric’s 33rd birthday! So March 7th, here’s to you, an otherwise uneventful day.  Thank you!

 

 

He’s Definitely Not a Baby Anymore (Sigh)

Tyler last got a haircut in December, right after Salem was born.  His hair grows fast and furious, and while I don’t want him to be mistaken for a girl, I’m quite attached to his luscious locks.  I’m afraid if we cut them off, they won’t grow back.  He won’t be blonde anymore.  And worst of all, he’ll look so.much.older.

But when your toddler asks for a haircut, you know it’s time.

Before:

During:

On the way home:

After:

Even more handsome, but so grown up.  Tear.

Salem: Three Months

Three months.  12 weeks.  90 days.  Where did it go?  In a practical sense, how was Thanksgiving three months ago?  How was Christmas two months ago?   It seems like only yesterday.  The time is going too quickly with this little one.

Salem is a smiley three-month-old.  As much as we can remember, she’s even smilier (is that a word?) than Tyler was.  Like many babies, mid-morning is a peaceful time for her, so I snapped her basket photos before church today. She was incredibly cooperative, and even Tyler wanted in on the action.

“Hoccer, Mommy!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Salem need hoccer!”
Nana, she looks like you. You can’t deny it.

Just so you can get a full appreciation for her outfit.
“Mommy! Me too!”

And in a wave of three-month-old maturity, Salem can suddenly keep a pacifier in her mouth.  Hurray!  Tyler never took one, so we have about 42 brand-new pacifiers that now might actually get used.

Thank you to Aunt Laura for the adorable owl hat and thank you to Laura Smith of RubyRedHandmade for the headband!

Two Peas

It’s official.  Our kids look alike.  When Salem was fresh and red and wrinkled, it was hard to tell.  But now….

And there’s so many more.  We knew in the womb the baby looked just like Tyler.  One ultrasound photo in particular gave us the chills.

Ultrasound photos are always kind of creepy (don’t worry, I’ll spare you the 4D freakiness) but when this smashed face appeared we both couldn’t believe how much the baby looked like Tyler (big lips from Grandpa and big nostrils from Daddy).

We keep wondering…will her eyes stay blue (like Tyler’s were) or change to gray-green?  Will her hair grow in blond?  So far, she eats and sleeps just like him (lots of snacking and catnaps) and is long and skinny like he was.  It will be fun to find out, but I don’t want to rush it!

 

 

 

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Last summer I was daydreaming about what we should do for the new baby’s nursery.  We had done the nursery for Tyler in gender-neutral green, gray, and yellow, and I still loved the way it looked (and functioned).  Light-bulb moment!  Keep the nursery the same! Tyler’s getting a big boy room!

I didn’t have a theme in mind for his new room, only that Eric and I really wanted it to be a playroom for him as well as his bedroom.  Our house is small and we want as few toys in the living room as possible. Four months before the baby was due, Tyler turned two and we had no idea if he would still be in a crib when the baby arrived.  Two months before d-day, we realized Tyler would probably sleep in a crib until he was six if we let him.  He, to this day, has NEVER tried to escape.  I don’t think the thought has ever occurred to him. So, I scored an IKEA crib for $15 and a mattress for $10 for Tyler’s new room.  Eventually we’ll take the side off of it but hopefully he sleeps in it as long as he fits in it, because a crib takes up way less space than a bed in his playroom/bedroom.

I found an adorable alligator duvet on PBK.com that I scooped up on clearance.  But that’s all I had to go on.  My parents came out in October to “do the room” so Eric and I had to make some choices.  We He painted the room gray and installed crown moulding with my dad. (Lowe’s makes a nifty kind with corner pieces that the boards pop into so you don’t have to miter, FYI!) We still needed curtains and while trolling PBK.com again I saw that the toddler duvet I had purchased was on super-duper-extra clearance ($9.99!) so I bought two more and my mom transformed them into curtains.  We Eric built an IKEA dresser and BHG cube shelves from Walmart, and painted an old bookshelf white.  Eric chose the softest, most comfortable rug from Home Depot.  I organized the toys and created art for the walls.  We absolutely LOVE how the room turned out!

We literally provided him with steps out by putting the cube shelf next to the crib. Still has never tried it.
Eric installed curtain tiebacks to let the light in, but when we close the curtains at night those toddler duvets really block the light!
I framed some images from his favorite books.
A gallery wall of family photos is over the bookshelf, and an art cart is next to the reading chair (from our living room set but it doesn’t fit in the living room!)
Eric also made the pallet shelf above the dresser we are currently using to display books.

I knew if we had a girl I would add a touch of girliness to the nursery, so I painted Salem’s letters pink and found a cute pink sheet at Target. Other than that, the room is pretty much the same, and we still love it.

Which kind of baby will we have? Boy or girl?
Girl!
We love you SO much, Salem.
Our sweet pink burrito.

 

 

Tyler at Two (and a half)

This kid never stops amazing us.  He is kind, gentle, friendly, animated, silly, and loving. He chats with us about his friends at school (still don’t know if the kid is named Wylie or Riley), his baby “shishter Shalem”, and Jesus.  He wants to watch “Gwinch” and build Thomas tracks and read Llama Llama.  He remains obsessed with baseball.

And yet, he still really doesn’t want to pose for the gosh dang camera.  Tyler, pull it together for Mommy, will you please?  Here are a few shots of Tyler “in” the basket at age  2 1/2 as well as a look back at some other memorable basket photos.

Tears.
He said he would sit in the duck bathtub, but not the basket.
My favorite toddler.
One foot in the basket because I let him hold the candy jar.
Age 2, tears.
18 months, tears. Is there a theme here?
My harmonica-playing toddler.
12 months (apparently the end of the Era of Happy Basket Photos)
I couldn’t resist.

On the Eve of the End of Leave

Salem will be eleven weeks old on Friday, and I’m headed back to work on Wednesday. I’m so, so glad I was able to spend more time with her–I went back when Tyler was only seven weeks old.

I knew maternity leave would feel like a blur with the holidays and visits from family and friends, but WOW, did it go by quickly.  I had been worried about being cooped up in the house with a newborn because I had loved being able to walk and walk and walk with Tyler in the stroller in August and September (the best month of the year in Colorado!) Although we had some incredibly nice days, there were many wintry days this January.  (I don’t remember December.  Between Christmas and all of Salem’s crying, I just don’t remember much about December.)

The first couple of cold, windy days in January I started to go crazy with Salem stuck at home.  She cried a lot for awhile there, and daytime TV is terrible.  But after a sunny patch and after Salem got just a bit older, I began to look forward to the next blustery day.  I loved spending time with this baby girl, just holding her and looking at her and really, really wondering who she would look like as she grows up.

All of a sudden she was smiling.  And cooing.  And grabbing at her toys on the playmat. She didn’t need to be bounced for hours anymore.  She could sit in the Bumbo and watch her brother run and play.  What happened to my wrinkly, fragile newborn?  The one who wanted to eat every twenty minutes?  The one who fit into newborn clothes until she was nine weeks old?

She went to daycare today for the first time, for practice.  She did great.  My strong, sweet little champ who took a bottle when she was four days old and will let anyone feed it to her. She even came home in the same outfit I sent her in.  Tidy, like her brother.

I keep telling myself I’m going back midweek for a reason–a short week, followed by two more short weeks (President’s Day).  Then it’s March, and Spring Break will be here before we know it.  I wish I had more time at home but summer is just around the corner (which is basically the whole point of being a teacher.)  We will settle into a new routine tomorrow, a new, temporary way of life.  Wrangling two kids is already significantly less challenging than it was a month ago.

Salem is a peach.  We love her so, so much.  Here is a look back, in lots of photos (and a few videos), at her first eleven weeks of life.  I hardly recognize this little peanut…

4 days
8 days
17 days
19 days
21 days
23 days
24 days
26 days
28 days
29 days
1 month
1 month
One of my favorites

5 weeks
Another favorite

6 weeks

A favorite
7 weeks

 

8 weeks

2 month checkup

9 weeks

First dress!

10 weeks

Salem: Two Months

Our girl is getting bigger every day.  She weighs in at 9 lbs, 10 oz and is in the 75th%ile for length.  However, when her height and weight are compared, she’s a string bean like her brother and is barely on the charts.  She loves to eat and sleeps well at night in 3 to 4 hour stretches.  Sleeping during the day is another story, but again, she’s just like her brother. She might nap for 10 minutes and be ready to party again.  She cries a good deal more than Tyler did, but she’s probably just trying be heard in this chatty family!

Salem was officially two months old on Wednesday (which means Christmas was one month ago…!)  I tried to take photos of her in the basket that day.  Five times.  She would not cooperate.  I snapped a few this morning when she tends to be at her mellowest.

Since she was really snuggled down in there, here are a few shots of her stretched out, and you can see her face in the bouncy seat.  I adore this penguin sleeper, and strangely enough we have two of them from two different hand-me-down bags.

About the only skills Salem has acquired are smiling and batting those delicious eyes. Here is a short clip of her being darn cute.  We love you, Salem Elizabeth!

 

Welcome To The Family of God, Salem!

Salem was baptized on Sunday, December 11 at Mt. Hope Lutheran Church in Boulder. It’s the church where Eric grew up before he moved to Oklahoma, and Eric’s parents still know some members of the congregation.  So, just as Tyler was baptized there, we had Salem baptized at Mt. Hope as well.

We are honored to have Katie and Mike Flood as the godparents of Tyler, and they happily agreed to be Salem’s godparents, too.  It is so fun to watch our children grow up together!

Since Eric wore a blazer, I dressed Tyler up in an adorable BabyGap velvet blazer I got off of Facebook.

My handsome men.

Salem wore the baptismal gown from Eric’s side of the family that is almost 100 years old.

The gown is from Grandma Holle’s side of the family and all of her grandchildren have worn it as well as dozens more.

Proud Grandpa and Grandma Holle.

Pastor Adam made Salem cry, but just a little bit and less than Tyler did when it was his turn two and a half years ago.

A Lutheran baptism is part of an otherwise regular service, so at one point Pastor Adam called up children to the altar for a blessing.  To our surprise (well, not really) Tyler willingly walked up there on his own.  And let Pastor Adam hold him while he spoke!

Tyler sat between Mike and Katie at the service and was an angel the entire time.  He is such a funny kid that way.

Our family of 4.

It was so wonderful to have the Holles here from Arizona for Salem’s baptism.  We all went out to breakfast afterwards to celebrate!

The bump in Katie’s belly is Salem’s new BFF, Anna.

Anna Hope was born on January 12.  That makes our “little sisters” barely seven weeks apart. We visited Anna again when she was one week old and snapped these cute photos.

Whispering secrets already.
Kickin’ it.
Yay! We’re friends!
Come play with me again soon, Salem!