Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Feeling Loved

The most amazing thing happened today.

I was sitting in a chair with Mason plopped on my lap. His fat little legs were solidly placed and I had my hands on his waist, helping him stay steady. He loves to practice sitting up, but this afternoon he was particularly pleased with himself.

He looked up at me from his perch and his little blue eyes sparkled. His chubby little cheeks lifted, and his lips curled in to his crooked smile. I smiled right back, caught up in his happiness. He was just so proud. He looked down for a moment and then looked back up again, still grinning from ear to ear. I smiled again, cooing at him and told him how much I loved him. And in that moment, as the words left my lips, he placed his little hands on either side of my face and looked right in to my eyes.

And I knew. I knew – in that moment and forever – that he loved me too.

Sure, a few seconds later he pinched the crap out of my cheeks, squishing my skin between his fingers. But I didn’t care. Heck, pinching is nothing new; my entire body is his everything. I am his food, his shelter, and his comfort. I am his ladder and his rock. I am a pillow, a chair, and yes – sometimes – the perfect toy for grasping.

By the end of the day, I feel all used up. My body is bone tired and my eyes burn and the thought of another sleepless night makes me a little bit weepy. But I’m never empty. I may be well worn, but I’m incredibly full. In fact, I have never felt so full in my entire life.

I am filled to the brim with love. For Mason. For Parrish. For the entire village that it takes to raise a baby. I am overflowing with gratitude and thanksgiving, and constantly counting my blessings out loud.

And yes, it’s hard. It’s so very hard. It’s take-a-deep-breath and choke back the tears hard.

But mostly it’s amazing.

I don’t dwell on the fussy mornings or my foggy brain. I don’t count how many times I’ve been spit up on, partly because I’d lose count but mostly because it doesn’t matter.

Although, can we just pause for a moment and talk about how babies have a real knack for spitting up right down your shirt and in to your nursing bra? And it’s always your last clean nursing bra – well, as clean as it can be seeing as how the baby did the exact same thing a couple of hours ago and you can’t remember if this is the same bra or a different one….

But seriously, it doesn’t matter. Not to me.

Because today I gave him all of my love for the millionth time over since his conception, and he gave it right back to me.

Two little hands holding my face, and I felt it. This tiny baby loves me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dear Mason, A Reflection on 4 Months

Dear Mason,

The fact that I’m posting this 3 days after your 4 Month Birthday is definitely a reflection on what this past month has been like: busy busy BUSY!

You have changed so much! Your Dad and I feel like this is the month that you really came to life. Your personality is starting to shine through the newborn sleepiness phase and every moment we get to spend with you is an absolute blessing.

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You make new friends where ever we go because baby, you are always smiling! You are the definition of a happy baby, and I have to admit – you might turn out to be just a little bit rascally!

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If you’re not smiling, then you are most likely talking. You love to babble away and use your eyebrows to help you express yourself.

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We still aren’t sure about what you’re trying to tell us, but we continue to mimic the sounds you make and that gets you super excited. You’ve also started to mimic some of the sounds we make, like when we blow our lips at you, and I can see your brain working and working to try to get it right.

Your absolute favorite place to be is outside, which is lucky because me and your Dad love to be outside too!

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We take a big blanket and lay it in the front yard and let you play and stretch and kick your legs.

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On particularly warm days – which are quite often here in NC – we even take you outside for some naked play time.

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That is absolute HEAVEN for you! You love to be naked.

We’ve also started taking you on more walks, sometimes in the stroller and sometimes in our arms.

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You like to be in a position where you can see everything, and you particularly enjoy watching the wind play with the sunshine on the leaves.

Just like past months, you still LOVE to drink milk! And luckily (well at least for Mommy) this month you learned how to drink more efficiently!

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Your nursing sessions went from lasting for close to an hour to maxing out at 12 minutes. You literally took a nap one day and then woke up and decided you didn’t have time to camp out on the couch anymore.

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There are WAY more fun things to do! Like watch your fur brother and sister or play with that cute baby in the mirror!

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Since you became a more efficient eater, we’ve been able to leave the house a lot more and take you on adventures! We’ve dined out a few times, hung out at a cider bar, and even just played outside with friends.

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You even came to work with Mommy one day!

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You did such a good job playing while Mommy worked, and you loved having more people around to smile at and babble with.

We also took you on your first trip to the pool!

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No surprises – you loved it!

In the past month, you’ve also started drooling. We can’t believe you’re already teething, but sure enough when you actually let us take a peek at your gums, we can see the white of a tooth starting to break through. This also means that in addition to drooling, you can’t stop putting anything and everything in to your mouth!

Fingers, Yukon Cornelius, Toys – everything is fair game!

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But teething also means that your sleep has been interrupted a bit. You also rolled over for the first time last week, and all this development means that it’s harder and harder to get your brain to relax and take a rest!

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So we’re all a bit more tired these days, but it’s totally worth it to watch you enjoy all the new tricks that you’ve learned. In fact, just in the past week it’s hard to get you to play flat on your back anymore. You are always trying to roll and play on your side or your tummy.

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You also like for us to hold you up so that you can stand. Your little legs are getting so strong – we definitely think you will be an early crawler.

Besides rolling, your other new skill is grasping. You have gotten so good at grabbing objects within your eye line.

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You’ve even started bringing in your toes to help out!

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I bet by Month 5 you’ll be grabbing those helpful toes with your hands. That will be so much fun! And you LOVE fun!

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Oh yes little Mason, you love fun. And while it is so hard to believe that 4 months have passed by already, I have to say that they have been the most fun 4 months of my entire life.

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And I know your Dad agrees.

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You are our most favorite person in the whole wide world little Mason, and we love you so much!

Happy 4 Month Birthday!

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8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks

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1 month old – 4 months old

Past Letters to Mason:

One Month

Two Months

Three Months

Thursday, May 7, 2015

My Favorite Gluten Free Waffles and Other Obsessions

Happy Thursday friends!

It is currently 5:30 in the morning and sweet Baby Mason is still sleeping, so I thought I would pop in and say hello!

I’ve realized that balancing home life and work life is hard, and trying to find time to blog feels nearly impossible!!! I mean, I’m lucky if I get to shower – praise the Lord for dry shampoo and body spray. Amen.

But since I’m off of work today (Mommy-Mason Day!!!!), I have some time this morning since I don’t have to make a lunch and pack my breastpump. Blogging time – yay!!

Let’s talk about breakfast. Do you guys have a favorite waffle mix?

I feel like every time I’m in Target standing in the Baking aisle, I end up starting a conversation with a new gluten free person and telling them my Must-Buy Waffle mix:

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I LOVE this King Arthur Flour Pancake Mix so much. But instead of making pancakes, I use it to make waffles. This mix gets nice and crisp on the outside, creating the perfect nooks and crannies for a lake of butter:

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and the inside is SO FLUFFY!!

The only downside is that you have to make the entire box, BUT that’s not actually a downside because these waffles make the BEST freezer waffles. So make a big batch and then freeze them. Pop them in the toaster when you’re ready for a waffle and they reheat PERFECTLY!!! Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

We had breakfast for dinner the other week (my fave!!) and had these waffles served alongside a new-to-me chicken sausage:

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Don’t pay attention to the overflowing waffle iron…

These Applegate Farms Chicken & Maple Sausage Patties were SO GOOD!!! I’m bummed that there are only 6 in the box and they aren’t cheap. However, Harris Teeter puts them on BOGO Free often, so I just stock up when they’re on sale.

Breastfeeding has made me seriously crave meat, so I like to have some quick options on hand. Otherwise I’d be requesting cheeseburgers for dinner every night! (instead of every other night) I’m obsessed with cheeseburgers – what else is new.

Also currently obsessed with:

This book:

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Like everyone else in the world!

This drink:

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I LOVE kombucha, so I’m stoked that MOH told me about this one. Blueberry and Coconut water? Yes please!

This baby:

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He LOVES playing outside. He gets the most serenely happy look on his face as the wind blows through his baby hairs. I love appreciating the small things with him.

And my last obsession:

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Baby toes. I mean, come on. What is it about baby toes that are just so….edible?!?!

So tell me. What are you current obsessions?

Do you have a pancake/waffle mix that you absolutely love?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dear Mason – A Reflection on 3 Months

Happy 3 Month Birthday Mason Modesto!

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Of all the weeks, these past 4 have seen the biggest changes yet.

Your favorite thing to do: TALK!

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You are by the chattiest baby I have ever known. Mommy and Daddy still aren’t sure what you’re saying, but we mimic the sounds and you love it!

You especially love to tell stories when we change your diaper or when we’re playing on the floor. You lift and kick your legs with such determination, curl your lips, and let out a big Ahhhh-WOOOO. Sometimes you follow it up with a hu-yuck laugh – it is the cutest!

Also cute, your bulldog face:

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This past month, you discovered that you actually control your hands and your tongue! You love to move your tongue around, blow bubbles, and give us the bulldog face. You’re pretty impressed by what you can do with your tongue, but you’re even more impressed by your hands.

At 2 months you were trying to suck on your hands – at 3 months you were trying to cram both of them in your mouth at the same time! Plus you’ve realized that you can now grab things with your hands. You don’t always snag the desired item on the first try, but you’re learning to try and try again.

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You’ve also started rubbing your face when you get tired. It’s hard because you rub your eyes so much that you can’t fall asleep – which is frustrating – but also very cute. Mommy calls this a very serious case of the Mondays.

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But it’s no surprise that you’re getting so tuckered out because buddy, you are busy!

Tummy time is no longer hated. In fact, you love it!

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You spend lots of time on your tummy these days,

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watching Rainbow Star play some cool tunes and do it’s light show.

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We’ve even started hanging out in your Bumbo Chair for small amounts of time, but your cloth diaper makes it a tight fit. Plus it’s extra hard work because you work on your neck and your core. So after a few minutes we switch to lap time -

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and you love hanging out from this vantage point. The days of playing happily flat on your back are definitely numbered.

Milk is still your most favorite thing ever – which continues to be a good thing for your growing body. You drink lots and lots of milk during the day, and then sleep for 8-10 hours at night. Mommy and Daddy LOVE all the nighttime sleep, but it does mean that naps have become more spotty.

You’re not exactly sure where you would like to nap:

In Mommy and Daddy’s big bed:

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or in your Rock and Play:

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in Daddy’s arms:

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or sometimes just on the floor:

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If your sound machine is playing, and you have a paci and a blanket, you’re pretty willing to try anywhere. But getting you to take a nap longer than 30 minutes is a challenge.

Although we don’t really worry about the short duration all that much because Mason, you are a happy baby!

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You met more new friends this past month:

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but Mommy and Daddy are still your favorite.

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Photo Credit: Ben Bipes

You’re even starting to let us know that you recognize us by giving us direct eye contact and BIG smiles. When you look at us and smile, it’s the best feeling in the world.

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We love you so much Mason – and we can’t wait to see what the next 4 weeks will bring!

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12 weeks, 8weeks, 4 weeks – Mason Modesto Ravelli