Tag Archives: children

Girls

I know you’re not supposed to admit to having a real preference about the gender of your child. It’s one of those things that people seem to have no problem asking you about, but I always feel like my response is restricted to “as long as we have a happy and healthy baby we don’t care.” And really, what does your preference even matter. To quote my six-year-old niece “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

Well, when I was pregnant with Hadley, I did kind of care. The idea of having a boy really terrified me. No doubt this came from growing up with four sisters. And I ‘m just a girl’s girl… I don’t get the stereotypical guy stuff like sports or catching frogs or getting dirty. Of course the whole concept of becoming a mom was really overwhelming the first time around, but thinking about changing a boy’s diaper for the first time in my life absolutely terrified me. So I have to admit that when I heard “girl” during my twenty-week ultrasound, I was a little relieved. And so excited to meet my girl.

This time around, I can honestly say I was 50/50 about it. I felt excited about another precious girl and a sister for Hadley, but also the idea of a boy was no longer so scary (maybe because I’ve since changed a boy’s diaper and survived). But someone else had a strong preference. Hadley made her thoughts on the matter clear from the moment she learned her sibling was on the way. It would be a girl, or it would be a girl.

Her determination for a girl I know is pretty typical, since I myself went through something similar when I was about to become a big sister. I spent five and a half (glorious) years being the youngest in our family. You could say the news of a sibling coming to steal my spotlight was a little rough for me. I released some of this angst during preschool art time, by drawing a picture of a baby cradle with a knife over it. My explanation to my parents was simply that the baby better not be a boy. So that’s about as disturbing as it gets. Fortunately, the baby was a girl and never did I intentionally harm her (that I’m aware of). In fact, I adored her and still do. I’m fully aware that kids act out, say crazy things, and it’s our tendency as parents to freak out and worry that we are doing the wrong thing and ruining them. But with this comparison in mind, I think Hadley will be okay.

Still, we tried our best to prepare her. We told that she might get the sister she dreamed of (thanks a lot, Frozen) but if she got a brother that would be pretty great too. A brother would still be fun to play with and wouldn’t steal your clothes (no small issue in a house full of girls, I’ll just tell you). She has plenty of friends that are boys and two boy cousins that she loves.

The night before the gender reveal, we talked her through it again. “Hadley, tomorrow we will find out if you’ll have a baby brother or baby sister!”

She looked at us seriously. “Find out sister.” It honestly felt like an order. The knife over the cradle image briefly flashed through my mind.

Really, we should have known that she would get her way. Her sister will be here in another four months, and we are all so excited. For me, learning the gender makes it all feel more real.

I do recognize how it will undoubtedly be a season of adjustment for all of us. I’ll be going from one baby to two (three, if you count Henry which some days is totally valid). Hadley will get her sister, but will also have her world completely rocked when it doesn’t revolve around her anymore. And Josh is going to be seriously outnumbered, poor guy.

But we are getting ready as best we can. Earlier this week, while going through baby girl clothes, Hadley was having a blast checking to see if the newborn clothes would fit the baby. How can she tell, you ask? Well, simply by pulling up Mom’s shirt, placing the item of clothing on my belly and declaring “It fit her.”

And my heart just about melted on the spot when she brought a sweater over and told me “I keep my baby sister warm.”

Oh, baby sister I wish you knew how much you are loved already.

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A Day at Gettysburg: Proof That I Love My Husband

One of the really fun things about Hadley getting older is seeing her world of people expand from me and Josh to so many others that love her. Of course, those people have always been there but for a long time she was pretty much just really into her mom and sometimes her dad. Saying that she had separation anxiety is putting it mildly. Not only would it upset her that I left, she would be upset whenever I started to walk away from her. And continue to be upset until I picked her up and held her. Of course it’s nice to be loved and needed, but it can also be exhausting (especially when your little one is 25 pounds). So now I am all the more grateful to see her LOVE going to nursery (she actually cheers “Church!” “Church!” as we near the building), and watch her develop bonds with other people. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t want to talk about them, especially her many cousins, aunts and uncles and of course, grandparents.

Now that my parents are ten minutes away, she gets lots of time with Granddad and Sue Sue, which is really fun. This past weekend, we all took a trip up to Gettysburg. NOT the most toddler friendly place (or Erin-friendly place) in the world, actually pretty much the opposite, but we somehow still had a great time. I kept the one-year-old entertained so the other adults could soak up the history of the place. I loved how beautiful it was and that Hadley could run around the countryside. I cared less for the thorough history lesson, but was happy to make my military-obsessed husband happy. He is already excited to go back, sans me and the baby next time I’m pretty sure. 

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And before you start to think I’m the worst mom in the world, that is a GINGER beer she is chugging in the last picture. I am pretty sure she thought it was beer though. 

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Spring, Please Come Back

This past weekend pretty much embodied what a rollercoaster this spring has been. We spent Saturday outdoors, grilling steaks in the sun, finally remembering what it was like to not need a heavy coat, not even a jacket. And then just a day later, we sat inside a winery tasting room and watched as snowflakes fell. Ugggghhhhhhh.

You would think that with all the time we’ve spent indoors as of late, all the hours spent wondering how we should stay productive and NOT rot away in front of the television that I would have gotten a few more blogs posted. But this brutal winter has made it REALLY difficult for me to find motivation to do anything except gut it out. Instead of continuing to whine about how we still have scarves and furry hats out in at the END of March or that there is still a bag of salt sitting out of the front porch because they’re again calling for snow tomorrow, I’m trying to think about all of the things that I will look forward to when the sun returns.

  1. One less thing to say no to. I have a nineteen month old. She happens to love the following: pulling open every drawer, dumping out every bag she can get her hands on, pouring milk out of sippie cups, and just generally making messes. I really hate messes. I also really hate how often I find myself saying no to that curious little one. And almost every day this winter we’ve been going through this little dialogue. Mama? Outshide? Snow. She shuts down her own question before I can even answer. I mean really my one-year-old must think she’s being raised in Siberia. But someday soon I’ll be able to respond YES everyday to that sweet little request!
  1. Walks. I love being able to walk places. Especially with a baby, it’s a huge pain to load them up in the car and have a destination point in mind. I like to wander, get fresh air, exercise without thinking about it. Plus Henry is getting a little chunky, poor little guy has been so cooped up and sedentary.
  1. Seeing green. I lived in Utah for eight years. While the west has it’s own kind of beauty, my heart always longed for the rolling green hills of Virginia. I NEED GREEN, please. I’m sick of bare branches and a world covered in snow or mud.
  1. Seeing people. I literally haven’t seen most of my neighbors since November. I mean are we bears?!!
  1. Shower beer. Don’t judge and definitely don’t knock it till you’ve tried an icy cold beer in a steamy shower on a hot summer day. Literally. Nothing. Better. These days all I want is red wine, which basically just means I’m really cold. 
  1. Sandals. I never thought I would say it, but I’m SO sick of boots. My feet need to breath, my toes need to be seen again.  
  1. Tan line. I need one. That’s it.
  1. No longer resenting my dog for making me walk him first thing in the morning. I mean it’s not Henry’s fault. Really I should think less about how mad I am for having to bundle up and go outside and more about how much it would suck to have to poop in snow.
  1. Less bronzer. Can I please just have some sun-kissed cheeks? And really, at this point bronzer only works so well on skin this pale.  
  2. Goodbyes to layers. I’m all about effortless style. Now that I’m a mom, I don’t have the whole morning to accessorize. Instead of pulling my socks on BEFORE my jeans so they don’t get bunched up under my boots, figuring out what scarf to pair with my shirt and what purse will go with the scarf AND my coat, I’m dreaming of the day when I simply slip into sandals, pull on a sundress and GO. The only layering I want to have to think about is which dress to wear over my bikini.

Hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer for these small dreams to come to life. I mean spring HAS to come at some point, right? Are polar vortexes possible in April? Don’t answer that. Here are a couple (ONLY a couple) of rare moments we’ve been able to enjoy outside this spring.

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Christmas: Part Two

As usual, I was stressed about all the wrong things this Christmas. This should be a lesson to stress less in general but… I think it might just be who I am so I’m going to let it go for now. As you know, I was really nervous about the long car ride with a seventeen month old who protests the moment she SEES her car seat. But in spite of that, we had a couple of things on our side this time. Normally our trek through the mountains of West VA involves some kind of precipitation in various form of ICE, gusting wind, semi-truckers who don’t seem to have a real grasp on how massive they are, and of course, the road to get there is windy and treacherous. Josh LOVES driving next to his anxiety-ridden wife, especially when I gasp and grab the Oh shit handle as we pass trucks, or when I demand that we never drive behind anything carrying logs, and the best– pointing out the dumb asses who are texting while driving. I seriously want a sign that I can hold up to my window, calling these people out for their recklessness. I mean do you drivers not see the perilous CLIFF to our right?? Or your kid in the backseat? And my BABY in my backseat? Okay, I’ll simmer down. Our drive was pretty easy. For starters, it was a balmy 65 degrees meaning no ice, no crazy wind. Also on our side? A happy baby. Hadley didn’t sleep at all, but she also didn’t scream. We DID listen to the Elmo CD for an excruciating seven times on repeat, but you do what you gotta do to keep the kid content or at least quiet.

I was grateful that we arrived without incident or major stress, and even more grateful that we got to spend a relaxing week with Josh’s family. His parents are so great about giving us a break from the baby so we can do exotic things like have a meal at a restaurant, go see a movie in the actual theater, and shop without worrying about when Hadley will get tired of being strapped in a cart. Last year Hadley was only five months old and still refusing a bottle, so leaving her was difficult and stressful and not really worth it. Now she is more than happy to hang out with Nana and “My Bumpa” as she calls them. 

I love the Christmas Eve service at the church. Simple message, beautiful music, and the peaceful lighting of the candles. I remember last year my sister-in-law Joni and I were SO stressed about bringing the babies to the service. Any church service is stressful with babies, but particularly the quiet and peaceful ones involving open flames. Of course, since I was worried about it, infant Hadley was absolutely fine. And consequently, I wasn’t stressed about it at all this year, and toddler Hadley was the opposite of fine. At the start of the program, she decided that she needed to be part of the nativity display at the front of the chapel. If a seventeen-month-old blond baby jabbering to the animals in the stable weren’t distracting to the rest of the congregation, the moment she shouted “BUMPA” to her grandfather giving the sermon certainly was.

So here’s where we spent the Christmas Eve service. 

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                                       Thankfully, she found another nativity display to mess with

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                                                      Please can’t I go inside and see my Bumpa?

 

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                                                                            She eventually found him

As much as I was convinced that Hadley wouldn’t really understand what was going on Christmas morning, she picked up on the present thing pretty quickly. Since she (we) love accessorizing, one of her stocking gifts was a pack of hair bows. A few presents later, she got another hair bow from Josh’s mom. She looked up at me and said “More?” Yep, baby girl, that’s pretty much how the day will go. Followed by the inevitable overdosing on food, and the subsequent falling asleep in front of the television after dinner. 

We spent a lot of time just watching Hadley and her cousin Sophie interact. Some of my best childhood memories are vacations with my extended family, and I LOVE it that Hadley is always surrounded by her cousins. Built-in playmates for life. Always someone to do Ring Around the Rosey with and for Hadley, it doesn’t get much better than that. 

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