Benjamin 9 months

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I have been calling Benji “almost 9 months” for the past few weeks, so would think that it would be less of a surprise for me when he actually became 9 months old. Nope. Still surprising.

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It just sounds too old.

9 month Collage

As you can probably tell, he did not sit still for very long and we had an interruption visitor that was a bit of a distraction.

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I am seriously considering giving Ben a new middle name because lately Benjamin Trouble seems more appropriate. This little guy is EVERYWHERE and he is into EVERYTHING. Especially the dog’s food and water dishes. We do our very best to keep little things off of the floor, but if there’s anything there, he will find it and put it in his mouth—paper, dog hair, stickers, dog food, leftover food, the dog, etc. He does a great job at crawling through and under things and we often find him in some little corner very proud of himself.

He has one tooth on the bottom and he is possibly working on more currently because he has been drooling all of the time. Since we started giving “baby led weaning” a try and letting him feed himself, he has gone from eating very little solids to eating anything you put in front of him ravenously three times a day! I think his favorite is mashed potatoes.

We are still working on words but we think we have heard a “dada” from him a time or two. He also says “baba” which we all know is the precursor to mama. Don’t let his lack of vocabulary fool you, he is very vocal. He loves to yell and growl and make all sorts of noises. UPDATE: A few days after I first wrote this, Ben has started saying Dada pretty much non-stop. He babbles it, he says it when he’s angry or trying to get our attention, etc. While I am still working on “mama” I think it is the most adorable thing to hear him jabbering on and I love that this gives us a clue into what his little voice will sounds like when he starts talking.

Benji continues to be more and more mobile. He is able to pull up on tables, couches, and chairs. He can navigate from one to another. He has even started holding on with only one hand or just resting on something with an elbow. He had a short time were he would be “stuck” holding on to something, but he quickly figured out how to bend down and sit and he has been practicing. Standing my himself seems to be not far off and we will see what happens after that. I’m not wishing for an early walker, but I’m not strongly against it either. He is already so independent and he gets so proud of himself whenever he develops a new skill.

He has still been having trouble sleeping. I won’t get into it much, but sometimes it feels like he’s a newborn again. And sometimes it’s not that bad. I try to remind myself (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) that this is just a season that will “pass” and someday he will stop waking at night and he will stop doing a thousand other baby things and maybe just maybe I will miss this, sleep deprivation and all. Maybe I’ll write more on that another time. For now I will enjoy my two sweet little loves that get big all too quickly and make life beautiful and hard and wonderful.

We had a good appointment with the Dr. for his well child appt. After the nurse took his measurements she checked where he was on the growth chart and declared, “Well, he’s tiny!” hah. He weighs 17.9 lbs (15th percentile) and is 27 inches long (5th percentile). We know he is a little peanut, but we know (and the dr. affirms) that he is growing and thriving. He is just such an active little man and still has so many delightful rolls, so we are very reassured that he is doing just fine.

Why I’m Not Going to Treasure Every Moment

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not going to treasure

 

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

“Don’t blink.”

“You’re going to miss this.”

“Treasure every moment.”

There are some people that would have you believe that every moment of your child’s life is to be remembered and held sacred. That you should never wish away any age or stage. That years from now you will wish you could go back in time to get back to today.

And I get what they’re saying, I really do. And I’ve only been on this motherhood journey for a little over 3 years (my daughter is 2 1/2 so you’d better believe I’m counting from when she was conceived, because that’s when I became a mama). And I even mostly agree with their overall message.

But coming from a mama that’s “in the trenches” with a baby and a toddler, I’m pretty sure I can politely disagree. Because there have been (and will be) moments that I will not treasure and hope to just forget. That there will be stages that I just focus on getting to the other side of. That there will be many days that I just “survive”.

Now, I know there are probably some experienced moms and grandmas shaking their heads at me already. And I will concede that maybe, just maybe, thirty years from now I will have to delete this post because it is just all wrong. But hear me out.

I get sentimental every time I have to trade out my kids’ clothes for a bigger size. I try to keep track of as many of the “lasts” that I can, just as much as the “firsts”. I do my best to be “intentional” during the day with my two littles and say YES when I can to reading and puzzles and “if you try to put me down I will cry”.

And I absolutely believe that there are moments to be treasured. Oftentimes those are the moments that get me through some of the difficult stuff. I hold on to Benji resting his head just so on my neck and under my chin or standing in his crib and squealing in delight at the sight of me and holding his arms out for me to pick him up. I hold on to Ellery taking my hand and asking me to dance with her, or smiling at me and telling me she loves me unprompted. I melt when I see how much they adore each other and I hope that it never ends and that they are always close friends. I love those moments. And I am blessed with so many! And I have so many more to look forward to!

But I think it’s okay to give ourselves permission to not treasure all of the moments. Like when you start feeding your baby solids (yay!) and then immediately regret it at the following diaper change. It can be easy as a mom to hear the message of “treasure every moment” and think that if I struggle that I’m not being a good mom. Let me weave you a tale.

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It’s the day before Valentine’s Day and your sweet husband asks if you want to go to an all-you-can-eat chili dinner at a local church. “Sounds great,” you say. “Should we bring the kids or find a sitter?” the sweet man asks. Your resounding last words pop right out of your mouth, “Oh, let’s bring them.”

The four of you enjoy dinner together. Sure, there is some juggling of the baby who keeps grabbing your bread and eating part of it while most of it falls in a crumby mess on the floor. Of course, the toddler decides to sit on your lap while she eats her ketchup laden hotdog and you are forced to sneak in bites with your wrong hand. You expect that when you get your dessert that half of it will be greedily snatched up by said toddler as she holds a cupcake in the other hand.

But, you take all of that in stride because your incredibly handsome husband is helping you and you EXPECTED all of that to happen. Sharing your meal is nothing new. Making a mess is part of your itinerary.

But, this next part, takes you by complete surprise.

The baby is getting antsy and wants to be out of the high chair. The toddler is all done eating and very uninterested in the coloring book you brought for her and wants to get up out of her chair. You smile at your loving partner and say, “It’s okay I’ll just walk with them.” You weave in and out of people with trays of food chasing the toddler and holding the baby. She spots a long hallway and starts trotting down it, which you foolishly think is a good idea because then you are away from all of the people and she can get some of her energy out. It is only when you are at the absolute other end of the hallway, seemingly miles away from where the people (and your husband) are that she yells out, “I need to pee on potty!”

No worries. You are literally feet away from the women’s room. But then she yells it again and sounds much more worried and starts walking with her feet apart like some dribbles have already happened. You glance down the hallway hoping to see hubby or ANYONE, but you are sadly all alone. You fling open the door and blurt out instructions while trying to figure out WHERE TO PUT THE BABY! She yells again and has her legs out as far as she can. You put the baby down as far away from germs as possible but still IN the bathroom with you as you try to tell the toddler to hold it. Well you would, but you can already see liquid streaming down her stockings. You yank down the dripping tutu and undies and stockings as she continues to yell and pee (on you) and put her on the toilet so she can finish and QUICKLY grab the baby that is speed crawling towards the puddle of pee.

Then, you have a less than stellar moment as a mom as you reprimand your toddler for peeing the floor or at least for not telling you sooner.

And reprimand is a kind word and not truthful. I yelled.

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It came after a long day after a LONG week, and it just felt like the bale of straw that was thrown onto the camel’s already broken back. The hubby did find me (I don’t know how and I am so thankful) and got the clean change of clothes that was in the car (that he put there a while ago—THANK YOU) and took Benji so I could help her change.

Yes, that might end up being a funny story later on(okay, it is a little bit funny now that it’s over) , but that MOMENT is not one that I will treasure. Not that feeling of wanting to give up. Not that regret at showing my frustration at my sweet girl and in front of them both.

I think it’s okay to admit that I will be glad when potty training mishaps are a thing of the past and when I can go a day without being pooped on/spit up on/etc. Or, wonder of all wonders, when I can sleep through the night uninterrupted.

Will I miss when they were babies and toddlers and every stage in between and after? YES. Do I let the non-treasurable moments define me or my motherhood journey? NO! You’d better believe that I apologized to my little girl and explained how we could have done things differently and told her I loved her and had her crawl on me for most of the rest of the night.

The sweet hubby put her to bed tonight and when she said her bedtime prayers the first thing out of her mouth was, “Thank you for not peeing on the floor.”

I am so thankful for these days and weeks and years through all the hard and the messy and the beautiful. I am thankful that I get the privilege to even have these two blessings that call me their mama. But I’m not going to force myself to believe that I should treasure every moment. And neither should you.

There is GRACE. There is so so much beauty and wonder and sweetness. There is strength that you didn’t know you had and infinite reserves of strength waiting for you from your heavenly Father.

Simple Valentine’s Day Decorations

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Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

I don’t always decorate for today,
but when I do, it’s pretty simple and mostly from stuff I already have. :)

Here is the chalkboard in our living room.

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I used these super sweet mason jars with crocheted hearts from Raising Up Rubies to create a simple garland with mini clothespins. (Seriously her shop is the best and her blog is the best. Her Instagram is even the best. I just get so inspired by her.)

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The pom pom garland I had already made last year sometime and I decided to see if it would work if I hung both. And then the number of pom poms worked PERFECTLY with the spacing. Happy little surprise.

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The heart cross stitch design I actually copied from this tutorial for a cute memo board from East Coast Creative. Easy to recreate and super cute.

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And this is our mantle.

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The fabric scrap garland I actually made for Christmas (for my ‘booth’ at my first ever craft sale), but the colors worked really well for Valentine’s Day too. The embroidery hoop “O” with the flower was actually left over from the sale, too.

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The letters I made following this tutorial here. I had the straws and knew this would be a perfect, simple decoration. The tissue paper flowers are from Ellery’s baby shower that I have held onto and been able to use over and over.

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Pretty simple, but it makes me smile when I see it.

Hope you have a great day!

 

 

Benjamin 8 Months

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8 months old

8 month Collage
This past month has arguably been the biggest month so far for our little Benji. A few days after he turned 7 months he started crawling and he has been becoming more and more adventurous ever since. At first he would crawl a step or two and then immediately stop to sit and he didn’t quite grasp the concept that crawling could get him to the things he wanted. Hence he would be fussing a few steps away from me but wouldn’t crawl over to me. Now, he SPEED crawls whenever he sees anything/anyone he wants. If I am on the floor for any reason he is going to crawl over to me and pull himself up on me. Which brings me to my next point, he’s pulling up on things. Slow down Benji boy!!! In the first picture you can see how he pulled himself up on the laundry basket I had him sitting in. He’s way too adventurous for his own good and has gotten himself stuck underneath tables and chairs or standing holding on to things he can’t get himself down from. But he learns so much every day and is able to do so much. It makes me very thankful that we already lowered his crib to the lowest setting, because otherwise he would be trying to topple out of it.

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He seems to be a very physical little dude despite his small size (“though he be but little, he is fierce”) and as soon as he achieves a milestone he perfects it as soon as possible. He is able to go from his back to his front to sitting to crawling to his tummy, etc. It seemed like as soon as he started to be able to sit on his own that he immediately did it all the time. In fact, I forgot to mention this last month, but he started taking big boy baths sitting up in the tub by himself. Which also means he gets to take them with his big sister—which automatically makes it the best thing ever. They both have always loved taking baths and now they BOTH love taking them together. Benji does a lot of splashing and Ellery loves washing his hair and having him in there with her.

Of course, we celebrated Ben’s first Christmas this past month also. We were able to celebrate many times with a lot of family and we were just SO loved on and SO blessed. Ben’s response to the Christmas tree was pretty much the same that Ellery’s had been in previous years. Kind of fun to look at and mess with, but not a huge attraction. He pulled down plenty of ornaments of course (of the twenty or so that Ellery placed on one branch), but he even left the presents alone. I do have to add that the highlight of Ellery’s season was “the happy snowman” as she calls him. One of our neighbors down the street has a big, round, inflatable snowman that has different faces that flash with lights. It has brought her so much joy! It is “sleeping” (deflated) during the day and when it inflates in the afternoon she yells “the happy snowman is awake!” and runs and tells everyone around. She even remembers him if we are somewhere else when it starts to get dark. Thankfully, he did not get taken down when Christmas was over and he is still bringing our house happiness.

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Before Christmas Eve had been doing a lot with hands and slapping things in front of him, but then his Great Grandma Gerry showed him how he could clap them together and he has been happily clapping ever since. He also did this thing for a while where he would quickly sniff in and out of his nose. I think he was just being silly, but I remembered that Ellery had a stage of that also and I thought that was kind of fun.

Unfortunately this past month also brought our first ever trip to the ER for little man—he’s okay now though! He had been sick around Christmas and had these really rough coughing fits. There was one night where his breathing seemed really bad and I was afraid to lay him back down to sleep after nursing him. So we called on some amazing family to come over and stay at the house with Ellery at 1 a.m. and drove over to the hospital. All in all it took much less time than I expected and he was a champ. He was diagnosed with RSV and we were able to give him breathing treatments to get better over the next week or so. We have been battling one sickness or another since Thanksgiving with one or both kids, but we are hoping to all be well soon. We’re mostly there right now.

After Ben got better, he started teething! (If it’s not one thing it’s another) But, I am super excited for the new level of cuteness that comes with little baby teeth peeking out of chubby little mouths. He is getting one of his lower front teeth, and it has made him a little grumpier than usual. He is still not a huge fan of eating solids, but does pretty well if you let him hold the spoon each time or give him puffs or something he can grab with his hands. Little dude seems to be pretty independent already.

His absolute best friend in the whole wide world is his big sister. He adores her and loves to crawl after her and laugh at her and be around her as much as possible. I expected this from the younger sibling, but what I didn’t necessarily expect is how much she adores him right back. Every day Ellery asks for him to come to her tea parties and usually doesn’t even bat an eye when he crashes into all of her plates and things that she has set up. She asks for him if he is napping and insists that he needs to play with her. The other day while she was listing off things that she wanted before naptime (she is a hoarder, I don’t know how she sleeps with all the books, animals, and toys that she has in that toddler bed with her) and she asked for Benji to sleep with. Today they were just sitting in her room making each other laugh by making faces and noises. MELT MY HEART! I really really hope that their relationship only gets stronger over the years. I know that they will fight and probably not like each other a lot of the time, but I really hope that they are forever friends. They are adorable together. Ellery will even help feed him and honestly, he eats better for her.

I can’t believe our little man is 8 months old already (which seems dangerously close to being close to a year old) and what a delightful, silly personality he has. Seriously, he just makes faces and does so many little things that make us fall in love with all over. He is currently giving me a run for my money by nursing every 3 hours (at least) around the clock and I am dearly missing my sleep. But, I wouldn’t trade a year of restful nights for my Benjamin.

Goals and Word for the Year: 2015

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Happy New Year!

One of my goals for 2015 was to try to blog at least once a week. Today is January 7th so if I didn’t blog today then I would already blow it. *phew* That was close.

Basically that means that chances are good that I will not meet that goal, but I really am going to try to write on here more! I really enjoy keeping track of Ben’s progress on here, posting DIY projects, and writing the occasional soapbox. I think that maybe I put too high of expectations on what I post and so I’m going to just try writing more and see how that goes.

I have a few other goals and “resolutions” but I still haven’t spent that much time thinking about it all so I’m not going to post about them right now. I tried to keep it realistic and keep in mind that I can spread it out over the course of the whole year—not just January.

I really love choosing a WORD for the year and while I have done it in the past I have not always kept it in mind for very long. For 2015 my word is:
STRETCH

stretch

I want to stretch my abilities and my comfort zones. (Plus maybe stretch my body and finally lose the baby weight, how’s that for a cliché January resolution?)

Well, not much for a blog post, but I’m gunna call it good.
Thanks for reading!

Benjamin 6 and 7 months

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Better late than never?

Benji 6 months (2)

This is my absolute favorite way to have Benji—on the changing table in just his diaper. I cannot resist his pudge and his rolls and the way he grabs his feet and sucks on them. I squish him and kiss him and tickle him and we both LOVE it.

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Benji 6 months old

Yes, that’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle outfit, and yes, it has a half-shell cape.

6 month Collage

Since I’m writing this late I’m going to do my best to remember all he was doing a month ago, but some of the details are a bit fuzzy so give me some grace.

Right around the 6 month mark, we tried giving Benji some food. I mashed up some banana and fed it to him (Ellery even helped!) and for a couple days in a row he LOVED it. Then, the next day he gave the most disgusted faces and would just spit it right back out. We have tried lots of baby food (homemade and store bought) and he is still not a fan AT. ALL. So, we will keep trying, but not pushing it. Some kids skip the baby food stage, so maybe that’ll be Ben, too.

Since he started rolling over he was also occasionally rolling onto his tummy while sleeping. Now, it is all the time. He rolls on his tummy and cuddles his little elephant and it is the cutest thing. He started pushing up a lot more on his arms while on his tummy and reaching for toys.

He started being able to sit by himself for short periods of time. And we think that we have heard an occasional “dada” in some babbling, but it is few and far between. He is very vocal, but it is mostly yelling and not sounds.

He’s really starting to gain on his stuffed dog.

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Can you handle more cuteness?

7 month Collage

Benji 7 months old

Well, he is not far from crawling! We went to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving (which was wonderful) and spent a lot of time with their almost one year old cousins. They were crawling all around the whole time. When we got there all he could do was push up on his arms, but then he started pushing up on his toes and planking. Then he got up on his knees and started rocking. Now, he is doing all those things and starting to move his legs and arms. He is capable of all of the steps of crawling, but hasn’t been able to put them all together yet. Still, he can get a lot of places already just be rotating himself around on the ground which means he is already getting into a lot of things. Which means he is going to be into EVERTHING as soon as he figures it all out. He is also able to support himself on one arm and reach for things with the other—like the low hanging Christmas ornaments that Ellery grouped on the tree for him.

He is a champ at sitting up by himself now. He can also get himself down on his tummy from sitting most of the time in a very controlled way. He sits and rocks himself and then reaches with both hands to try to snatch things up. He is definitely doing all he can to try and keep up with his big sister. I’m pretty sure that Ellery is his favorite person and he loves to watch her. Unfortunately he also grabs for her at every chance he gets, which usually means he has a fistful of hair. And it’s not just Ellery’s hair, but mommy’s hair and daddy’s beard hair, too.

He still usually takes 3 naps a day. I have tried phasing out the evening one, but he just gets too tired and so I figure he’ll let me know when he doesn’t need it anymore. He also still gets up at least 2 or 3 times a night to nurse. We have tried a lot of things to try to help him sleep for longer periods at night, but I’m trying to accept that this might just be what he needs right now. (My theory is that maybe if he slept less during the day he’d sleep more at night, but again, he’s kind of set in the schedule he’s in right now.)

He’s still not interested in eating any kind of solid food, but he also has no sign of teeth yet. He has been blowing raspberries which he thinks is super amusing (we do too).

So this is a little blurry, but too funny not to share. Ellery always wants to get in on the fun. I’m sure that each picture could have it’s own caption contest, and they really capture their personalities right now.

ellie and benji Collage

Benjamin 5 Months

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A little late, but here are Benji’s monthly pictures.

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Ben 5 months old

5 month Collage

Our little porkchop is over 15 pounds now and is still as sweet as ever. He is such a friendly little guy and loves people. He certainly has started recognizing faces (even those that he doesn’t get to see very often) and LOVES hearing his name. He gives especially big smiles when you tell him that he’s handsome, which he hears a lot, because, come on, look at that face.

He can sit by himself for a pretty decent amount of time before toppling over these days. In fact, he sat in the laundry basket for his photo shoot for quite some time. He certainly loves these advances in independence. I think he is going to love it when he learns to crawl and is able to get himself to all the things that he sees and wants. Although I’m hoping we still have a while before he gets quite to that stage. He can definitely scoot though, especially on our hardwood floors. He just pushes his little self backwards further and further. He is SUCH  mover and always rolls to his belly when laid down and loves kicking and jumping and standing (with help of course). We have started putting him in his jumper and he really enjoys bouncing and swinging.

He loves his big sister and watches her a lot more to see what she’s doing throughout the day. I definitely think he’s going to do whatever he can to keep up with her as quickly as he can. He is also very sensitive to her and there have been a few times where he as seen her throw and fit and then he starts crying uncontrollably. Ellery is very much still learning how to share and take turns and we know it won’t be too long before he starts taking her toys and the like. At this point though she is still Ben’s biggest fan and loves lying next to him and talking to him.

I hear a lot of mamas talk about how their nursing babies stare into their eyes lovingly as they nurse them. Well, Ben doesn’t usually do this, but instead will lie back when he is all done and smile and giggle at me and it is adorable. It is amazing to me how much nursing seems to help him. He can go from being so upset to being absolutely calm and happy. It’s pretty awesome. I am still so thankful that I was able to pump for Ellery, but I am SO thankful that Ben and I have had such a different journey with breastfeeding.

He has discovered his feet and loves grabbing them while lying on the changing table, between that and the rolling he can make it quite a challenge. He has also started to discover his voice and does a lot of babbling and yelling these days. I am stunned by the sheer volume that this tiny little person can come up with. He has gone back to nursing several times a night especially since he was sick for about a week and a half with a cold. It is so hard to watch your kid be sick especially when they are so little and you feel helpless to make them feel better. He seems to be feeling better now so we are praying that we can stay healthy for a little while.

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I just love those cheeks. He’s kind of a little guy, but he just has the most adorable rolls. He still loves being tickled and getting/giving kisses and getting raspberries on his tummy. You’ve just gotta watch out for him grabbing your hair or face—that boy can pinch! We love him anyway.

Also, he’s got his daddy’s eyes, and I love that. :)