Moments to Freeze in Time


girls-o

Most nights our house echoes with the banter of two teeny girls playing with toys, bare feet padding down the hardwood floors, each chasing after the other one and usually trying to retrieve a toy that one sister has claimed.  Two tiny hands lock on the toy and before I know it, both of them are red-faced and trying to pull it away from the other one, high-pitched squeals and eyes welling up with tears.  Sometimes there is even hair pulling (Milly, that would be all you) and there is almost always crying involved.

Usually, it ends with me just taking the toy or giving Everly the same rundown she’s been hearing since Milly could take stuff: “She’s just a baby.  She doesn’t know how to share yet.  Just give it to her.  Be a big girl.”  And she does, reluctantly, and I wonder if it’s wrong, what I’m doing.

Some days I break up more fights than I can count, and I wonder if you both know, amid all the drama, just how sacred your sisterhood really is.

Tonight, as I was putting Everly to bed, she brought up the beach and how she is excited to go back this summer.  We talked about going into the ocean on the big pink raft with Ganny, eating popsicles by the pool, and how much fun we were going to have.  I mentioned her pink floatie and how important it was for us to be safe by the water this year.

“Mommy. I don’t want Milly to go by the water,” she said, her voice taking a serious tone.  Thinking she was already not wanting to share the ocean with her little sis, I explained that Milly was going to swim with us this year.

“I just don’t want anything bad to happen to her,” her voice cracked softly.  “I’m just worried about her and I know she’s gonna fall in the water, and I just don’t want anything bad to happen to her!”  Before I could say anything else, she burst into tears and hugged me tightly, tears streaming down her face.  I shushed her and held her close as she calmed down, explaining that she was a good big sister, and that it’s OK to be worried about Mil but that she was going to be OK, and that we should always watch out for her.

Trying to keep from laughing out loud or bursting into tears myself, this was one of those moments where I just thought: “Freeze this moment right now.  Never forget this.”

Dear Everly & Amelia, I am sure there are many more arguments with each other in your futures, but my only wish is that you never stop looking out for each other, and that you always remember, that even at 3 1/2 and 16 months old, you were each other’s world.

Love,
Your Mom

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Adjusting

sling

It’s 9 pm and both babies are finally sleeping.  Finding the time to write has been a bit of a challenge as we adjust to having two littles in the house these days.  Two mouths to feed, two sets of tiny hands to hold, two little faces to kiss, two teeny bodies to snuggle.  Maternity leave has been a blessing, however I’m not going to lie and say it’s been completely easy.  There have been plenty of sleepless nights, cranky girls (and parents), messy rooms , overflowing laundry baskets, and attention-starved pups.  But, all in all, we are adjusting and we are doing the best we can, knowing that in time it will get easier.

It’s quiet, calm moments like this, sitting in the dim light of my room rocking Amelia and watching Everly dream, when I can find a moment to catch my breath and just take it all in.  Throughout all of the craziness, I can’t help but feel so incredibly lucky and thankful for everything in my life in this moment.  One day, I know I’ll be an old lady and long for these days when my girls were young, so I’m enjoying each and every second.

Thank God for my amazing husband, he is truly my rock and I would not be the mother I am without him.  And my parents and Mother-in-Law – we are incredibly thankful for your constant willingness to help us out anytime.  Much love to all.

Love,
E

2011 In Review

What a year it’s been!  I’ve been reflecting on 2011 and thought I’d share a few of the year’s highlights…

Everly
We went from scooting, to crawling, to talking, and babbling, and climbing in the past 12 months.  This year was a big one for our little girl; Everly tasted plenty of new foods, got to squish sand between her toes and experience the magic of the ocean, celebrated a very special first birthday, and decided she likes our bed way better than her crib.  She’s proven to be quite the fearless little girl, and not a day goes by that she ceases to amaze us with her loving and carefree spirit.

Marty & I
This past year, we both continued to balance the challenges of work and family life, but we could not have done any of it without each other.  We learned some truly remarkable things about parenting this year, and have a lot to celebrate.  On top of taking on extra responsibilities in our professional worlds, we both sucked it up and got our butts back in the gym, and are looking forward to continuing to do so in the New Year.  Also notable, I’m proud to say that I have successfully weaned Everly from nursing after 16 months.  As a longtime advocate for breastfeeding, I’m so proud and happy that I was able to give my daughter the best start in life and hope to do the same with my next child.

2012 – Goals, Dreams & Future Plans
At the top of this list for 2012, I hope to continue to live a healthy lifestyle and do things that genuinely make me happy.  More yoga, cooking whole, healthy meals for my family, blogging more, and taking a day here and there to do something spontaneous with the ones that I love.  These are the things that always put a smile on my face, yet I sometimes find a challenge in fitting them in along with everything else that goes into a typical day.  However, when I make the time, I never regret doing them.  Also on the radar for ’12: we’re counting down the days until we get to return to Destin for another family vacation, and secretly dreading saying Bye-Bye to Everly’s beloved Binky, which will also be happening soon (fingers crossed!)

Thanks to everyone who made our 2011 fantastic!  We love you & can’t wait for what 2012 will bring!  So grab a glass and raise it up, because this one’s gonna be a good one too!

Cheers!
E

Remember last year? Read my 2010 Year in Review.

Letter to my Father

10.28.80 My Mom, Dad, and me.

Dad,

I’m not sure if you realize this or not, but I would not be where I am today had I not had you in my life.  Ever since I was a little one myself, you’ve always been my biggest supporter, my toughest critic, and the person who truly made me believe that I could do anything I wanted to as long as I put my heart and soul into it.

I remember when I was very young and in the car driving with you to pick up a newspaper after church.  I sat across from you in our grey station wagon as you unrolled the Sunday paper and placed the front page on my lap.

“Read that page to me,” you said, taking a sip of your black coffee.  Mind you, I was at a reading age, but nowhere near the level capable of reading any type of newspaper.  You didn’t care.  I had no idea what the words meant that I was sounding out, no idea if the phrases I was saying made any type of sense or not, and struggled to get through it.  “Keep going,” you told me.  And I did.

It sounds silly but this little Sunday activity laid the foundation for everything else I would ever attempt in my personal and professional life.  Going back to college, writing my senior thesis, making a career change, speaking my mind in a boardroom, becoming a parent myself.  So many things scared the crap out of me and seemed so unattainable, yet I always had that drive to keep pushing forward, no matter what I was up against.

So today, Dad, and every day, Thank You, from the bottom of my heart for playing such a key role in my upbringing.  You are one heck of a father and an even better Grandpa to Everly.  Happy Father’s Day!

Love,
Erin

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Rainy Day

“I had you.  Right there with me.  I had you living in my life and I was alive.”

-Francesca Lia Block

I’m home sick on this rainy Friday and have been looking at pictures of Everly from the early days and getting sentimental.  One day she was a tiny newborn, swaddled and cooing around the world that she would soon know, and with the blink of an eye, here we are as she is about to turn 8 months old. Ev’s free-spirited personality has continued to blossom and her body now moves with purpose as she gets closer and closer to crawling each passing day.

To all the Mamas, Daddys, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and those who have little ones in your life, hold them closer today, kiss them extra, and cherish every waking moment that you are blessed to have with them.

Love,
E

2010 in Review

Wow, 2010 has come and gone faster than the blink of an eye and it’s most definitely been the best year of our lives.  While we are totally looking forward to all the surprises and new experiences that 2011 will bring, we realize that 2010 would not have been as special without the people who lived it with us.  You all know who you are.  We are so lucky to have had each and every one of you by our side throughout every waking minute of the year.   Thank you for being the best family and friends that anyone could ask for.  Without you, 2010 would not have been the same.  Here’s a look back at some highlights from our year:

January
Surprise! We’re pregnant!  I started this blog and began gearing up and dreaming about becoming a Mama.  I had no idea this little online space of mine would be admired by so many.

February
I’m still barely showing and wishing I looked more pregnant than I actually do.  We start taking belly pics anyways.

March
You’re hired! Marty and I both take new jobs and major career strides with two of the best companies St. Louis has to offer.  And… we find out we’re having a GIRL!

April
Not sure what happened in April.  I’m sure I was eating my weight in cheeseburgers and Pappy’s Smokehouse.  Anyways, here’s a picture of my hot husband.  Isn’t he handsome?

May
The Loo.  Yup.  Month One of our Bathroom Renovation project.  Being as I am 7 months pregnant, we decide gutting/remodeling our bathroom during this time is not the smartest idea.  Live and learn, right?  We also clink glasses to celebrate 4 years of marriage.

June
Hello Baby Showers.  We get ready for this little girl with our family & friends and have a blast setting up  her bedroom.  And the bathroom is finished!

July
Holy hell it’s HOT outside & what happened to my feet/ankles?  I am as big as a whale and I’m due this month.  My family goes on the beach vacation that we were supposed to attend and there’s nothing left to do but eat popsicles and float around at the lake.  Despite my HUGENESS, I rock an old yellow bikini since I refuse to spend money on a maternity swimsuit.  Marty is quite amused by this, though make him promise never to speak of it again.  I start writing letters to Everly to share with her when she’s older.

August
… And then our life began.  Happy birthday Everly Grace Buehler.  I’ll never forget the moment when we first laid eyes on each other and how completely vulnerable I felt.   Marty and I are reborn are parents and life has never been better.

September
Still sleep deprived and adjusting to our new life with baby, I return to work and begin juggling life as a working, breastfeeding/pumping Mama.  Holy shitballs this is hard!  We also start venturing out more with Ev.  I learn to do all sorts of crazy things – like how to change a poopy diaper using your lap as a changing table while in a tiny 3 ft by 3 ft restaurant bathroom.  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

October
30.  Despite the stigma with this age, I feel amazing!  I’m right where I want to be & have never loved more.  After having a baby, I appreciate my body more than I ever have in life, even with a few extra pounds to lose.

November
So much to be thankful for!  Babies, husbands, families, friends, the grace of God, the air I breathe, the good times & even the bad.  Everly sees snow for the first time and we embark on her first Christmas.

December
Promoted!  And we’ve only just begun.  I start a new position and get a fat raise – Holla!  Everly gets baptized.  We celebrate our first Christmas with Buggie and Santa brings us a fancy red Kitchenaid mixer.  Everly starts solid food. She loves her rice cereal and sweet potatoes.  And this New Year’s Day, we woke up with a smiling baby in our bed instead of a hangover.  Life is great!

Thanks for making 2010 such a fantastic, memorable year for us and here’s to 2011.  Happy New Year!  Cheers!

Love,
E

Dear Everly

Dear Everly,

I am writing this while you lie asleep in your crib at the foot of my bed.

I wanted you to know something.

My camera is filled with nothing but pictures and videos of you.

My house is in disarray (and your Mama  knows how to keep house like none other), yet it’s never felt more like home.

My life has never been more complicated, yet it’s also never been this satisfying.

I have never been more sleep deprived in my life, but I have also never felt so refreshed.

I had such a good laugh tonight when I came home from work, late as usual, to a sink full of dishes, stack of bills, hamper of dirty laundry, and a happy husband and baby waiting for me and thought to myself, “I am the luckiest girl in the world.”

I’m sure I’ll give myself another huge laugh when you’re a teenager and I’m looking back at these old letters, but we won’t go there yet.

Thank you for enriching my life in so many different, unimaginable ways and simply for just being our little Gracie-Boo, as your Dad & I like to call you.  We have so much ahead of us.

You are truly the best!

Love,
Your Mom

Reflections

Thinking about this life…

It goes by so, so fast.  One day you’re here and then before you know it, a simple blink of your eyes and you’re somewhere else.  I remember being 7 years old and confiding to my best friend that I was going to have 3 kids by the time I was 25.  25 seemed so far away…  and here I am 30 years old.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind.

Wake up early, get ready for work, feed baby, kiss baby goodbye, coffee, emails, meetings, put out fires, try to stand out in the corporate world.  Come home, enjoy every waking second you have with husband and baby, go to sleep, wake up and do it all over again.  Since I’ve gone back to work from maternity leave, I’ve found myself letting these daily operations get the best of me and seeing how fast this life is passing me by.

That’s why I’m trying to decompress.  I’m  trying to not let the little things that normally break me down get the best of me.  I’m trying to put my anxiety-ridden, perfectionist, type-A self in the backseat and I’m letting the Mama and Wife in me take the wheel from now on.  Now, at the crack of dawn when I wake up and crawl down to the tip of my bed and peer into the waking eyes of that baby as the sun creeps up, I take in every golden moment.  I relish every second.  I forget about everything else.  I get lost in her smile.  I beg for that moment to last forever and to never forget.

Life goes by so fast.  And it’s so easy to get caught up with all the hectic, insignificant things that come up.  If I can give you one piece of advice from this post, it is to never take anything for granted.  At the end of the day, I come home, hang up my coat, and take my problems, debt, and everything that went wrong that day and push it aside to make room for my family.  I push it to the back of my mind.  Because at the end of the day, at the end of this life, those things just don’t matter.

When I lay my baby down to sleep and curl up in bed with my husband and dogs and close my eyes at night, I know I have it all.  What an amazing, peculiar, and intense feeling to know that you are loved.  I am forever grateful to have all of this.

Love,
E