Lillian Mae

 Lillian Mae. Born January 25, 2014 at 11:34 pm. 6 lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long.
So thankful for this tiny and precious gift that will fill up many numbers on my way to 1000 gifts.

A Letter for Baby

Dear Baby,

The time is drawing near for your birth day and we are so excited to meet you! Even as I write, I feel you forcefully kicking and jabbing-letting me know that you are safe inside. You are loved and treasured already. A wonderful blessing and gift from our Father. You are being knit so preciously for us and have already brought us such joy!

I can’t wait to see you! To hold you. Name you. Introduce you to your big sister, Gracie. Will you look like Daddy, or me? Maybe Gracie? You will be your own person. Created for a wonderful purpose and blessing the lives of many.

We’ve had a little practice with your sister, and will do our best to make sure you feel safe, secure, and loved. To grow in knowledge of Christ and to be confident in who you are. To be kind, thoughtful, and respectful of others. We’ll make mistakes, and so will you, but remember you are loved and God gives us grace!

We love you so much and dream about finally meeting you! But can you do us one favor, baby? Try to sleep better than your sister!

Love, Mommy, Daddy, & Gracie

Another Week

Another week has passed. A week filled with more gifts and blessings, some right under my nose and taken for granted. Others harder to find and uncover.  Another week of potty training. Another week closer to baby’s arrival. Another week filled with work, family, friends, and chores. A week of mistakes, triumphs, learning, and growing. So here’s to counting another week of gifts.

463. Nap time struggles
464. Long pigtails
465. Gracie dancing and “shaking her booty”
466. Little toots followed by little giggles
467. Talking about baby’s arrival with Gracie
468. Imaginative play with little tool set
469. Watching little hands create and minds dream
470. Rosy cheeks
471. Head to head early morning snuggles
472. Friend talks
473. Caring co-workers
474. Potty successes
475, Disheveled hair
476. Furniture rearranged
477. Bright sunrises
478. “Gracie do it” commands from Gracie
479. “Hiding”

469
477
479

Weekend Inspiration: Easy Crochet and Sewing Projects

It’s Winter.

And now that are you thinking, “wow, thanks for that update, Moriah”, I’ll continue.

It’s Winter, AND, that means lots more time inside, at least if you live in Ohio, or some other cold part of the country. Due to more time inside, a slow down in my little Etsy store, and being done making Christmas presents, I’ve had some time to crochet and sew a few fun items that I have been wanting to work on for a while. I would love to tell you I came up with the ideas and patterns for all of these items, but sadly, I did not. BUT, you are still in luck! Links can be found below to all of people that did come up with these fabulous ideas. So here’s to inspiring you to be crafty and creative this weekend, or, as I sometimes like to do, dream about eventually being crafty and creative.

And for your viewing pleasure, I am showing how my versions turned out. Now you can take heart and know that you can make these things too!

My version of long-tailed elf hat for baby girl or boy soon to arrive!

Minnie Mouse hat for Gracie’s birthday and a new born version in red. If we have a  girl I will just add a bow on top. If it’s a boy, then it will be a Mickey hat!
Leg warmer’s for Gracie’s birthday. Still have to add another bow! I also may need to myself an adult version of these leg warmers!

 Wet bag completed in preparation for more wet cloth diapers! I used ribbon to cinch mine, or I could still get a trash can to stick it in.

And seriously my favorite new project of all time, the pillow cases! My other pillows were looking pretty grungy, but with some pretty new material, they look brand new. I think it seriously only took me about a half an hour to make all three pillow cases. Gracie loves them too! I made them over nap time, so when she got up and walked into the living room she exclaimed, “new pillows!” I’ve even convinced Dustin that he loves them and that I may just have to make more to change out when I get bored of the current pattern. It’s definitely cheaper than buying new pillows!

I hope these projects will leave you feeling inspired (or at least hopeful!) and that you all have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

A Letter to a Soon to be Big Sis

Dear Gracie,
You are so loved. From even before the moment you entered this world, you were wished and hoped for. God knit you together as a wonderful and precious gift for Mommy and Daddy. You are almost two years old and soon to be a big sister! We know you are going to be a wonderful big sister and show your baby sis or bro how much you love him or her. Mommy and Daddy know that sharing attention will be hard, especially at first. You are the light of our lives, bringing so much joy and laughter into our world each day, and we want you to always know this and feel loved. 
There will be times when Mommy and Daddy get busy taking care of and loving on our new baby, and we’re sorry if this might make you feel sad sometimes. But even when we fall short, know that you are loved and there is One that will never fall short. In the midst of all these changes in our lives, Jesus remains the same, and Daddy and Mommy will work to continue to remind you of this great love. 
We are so excited for the new baby and we are so excited for you to become a big sister! Our family of three will be a family of four and you will someday have a playmate. Someone to go on adventures with, share secrets with, and dream with. Someone to also argue with, tattle on, and blame things, but someone you will love. You are a precious blessing. Fearless, curious, kind, and joyful. I know you will share these wonderful qualities with the new baby and teach him or her so many good (and maybe some not so good) things. You are unique and you are loved. 
Love, Mommy, Daddy, and New Baby

The Not so Glamorous Gifts of Mamahood

Another week of new adventures and blessings. As you can tell from my list, this week was a week of potty training. It came with its successes and small set backs (reference #452), but I tried to look at the process as a gift. Though not a very glamorous task, and while sometimes frustrating, I am reminded that I get to be a mama to this tiny, precious blessing and am tasked with helping her grow and learn. Whether the learning process involves treating others with kindness and respect, learning to count, or learning to poop in the potty and not her Hello Kitty underwear!

446. Interruptions
447. Scribbles
448. Napless afternoon
449. Potty training
450. Prayer time with Dustin
451. Baby dancing in belly
452. Poopy Hello Kitty underwear
453. Gracie wanting me to “sit” with her and just be present in all she does
454. Gracie climbing through legs
455. Long eyelashes
456. Kind stranger
457. Crocheting for littles
458. Massage
459. New pillow cases
460. Reading Bibles stories with Gracie
461. Braided pigtails
462. Getting closer to baby’s birth day

Hand-Made Thank You Cards: A Way to Connect & Give

Connect and Give are a big part of my goals for 2014. One small way that I have found for Gracie and I to connect and give to others is in the form of hand-made cards. I can be rather absent minded about writing thank you notes, or I write them and fail to actually get them sent out! With all the forms of social media, it’s pretty easy to write an e-mail or send a Facebook message, but sometimes that doesn’t even happen.

On a recent cold day, Miss Gracie and I sat down to work on some cards. I told her we were making these cards to write notes. The notes would say thank you to people for all the nice Christmas presents they got her. She actually got pretty excited about this activity, and it was a nice way to show her the importance of thoughtfulness and thanking others for kind things that they do. In her broken, toddler way, she kept saying “make cards-people-thank you-presents”.

All we needed was some card stock, finger paint, and a pen for writing! I helped Gracie make two little finger prints on the front, and then inside the card we put her handprint, which was kind of like putting her signature on the card.

I made the two little fingerprints on the front into birds and then added my thumb prints for a heart above. I added our note to the inside and our cards are now ready to go!

Now I actually have to mail them…

Parenting 101: What Works For Us, Might not Work For You

You know how before you have kids it is so easy to look at other parents and judge, judge, judge? You look at them and think that their way of parenting is the “wrong” way and you would never make those parenting choice. After, Gracie, was born, it made me realize that my idea of parenting (and often life in general) is constantly evolving and what may work for one family, won’t necessarily work for another.

One of those things that Dustin and I happened to think we would do differently, was letting a toddler age child sleep in our bed at night. Guess what people, Gracie, now sleeps in our bed, every night, for a large portion of the night. And guess what else? We like it that way! It didn’t always start out this way, and at first having her in bed was more for our own survival and sanity, but we did a little research, and by trial and error came up with a solution that worked for our family.

When she was a newborn we mostly used a rock-and-play or a co-sleeper that was laid on the bed, but keeps baby safe from mommy or daddy rolling in the night. We used mostly the rock-and-play as the queen sized bed seems to be over taken by the co-sleeper. This worked for a while, and though it helped having her so close, I was definitely still exhausted as I had not mastered breastfeeding laying down, and she was up frequently through the night. Once that happened, it was a lifesaver and I definitely plan on working on that more with baby #2!

Once she got too big for her rock-and play, probably around 6 months or so, we started trying to transition her to a crib in her room. I was still breastfeeding and Gracie girl still liked to be close to mommy and daddy and nurse during the night. So while we tried to keep her in her crib, we opted not to go for the cry it out method. She would start the night in her crib and then end up in our bed. At this point we had also invested in a king size bed, and to make it safe for her we kept the mattress on the floor and also used separate covers and only one pillow.

We often wondered as new parents whether what we were doing was right. I wondered if I was breastfeeding her too much during the night. We wondered if we should keep her in her crib all night, or let her cry it out more as she got older. We stressed, we planned, we read books( try The No-Cry Sleep Solution for some helpful hints. I will need to be reading this again soon!) , and eventually we transitioned to a place where we felt comfortable. A place that said “this may not be perfect, and may not look like your (anybody that likes to judge) idea of parenting, but this is where we feel comfortable as a family. This is where we find sanity, happiness, and sleep! A place where Gracie feels secure, and so do we”.

Who can resist sleeping next to this!?

We still don’t always feel like we’re getting it right, but through it all, one thing remains consistent. We are always striving to do our best as parents for Gracie. Raising her in a loving, Godly environment. A place where she feels safe, is able to express herself, try new things and know that she is loved. A place that has enough structure for all of our comfort levels. Structure to show her she can’t always have what she wants, but also a place where structure doesn’t always dictate or crush creativity, and fun. And like I said, we don’t always feel like we are doing these things right. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail, but God gives us grace, and thankfully, so does little Gracie. When she looks at us with a mischievous grin, or gives a gentle hug and kiss, we know that we must be doing something right!

So where are we today in our not planned to be a co-sleeping family, but happened to end up that way story? Gracie starts the night off in her big girl bed, (she also naps well in her own bed) with the understanding that when she wakes up later she is allowed to come into mommy and daddy’s bed. If we aren’t in bed yet, she can get in our bed, but has to stay their (as in no getting up and playing or coming to find mommy and daddy). This allows Dustin and I some alone time in the evening to get things done, relax, and spend time together. She snuggles with us during the night, and occasionally still asks for a “ba ba” (bottle) during the middle of the night. She usually get ones when she first comes into our bed, but we have been trying to get away from anymore milk during the night.  The girl is pretty attached to her bottle though and refuses to drink from any other device, no matter what type of cup it is (believe me we’ve tried, and are still trying). I know it’s pretty much a comfort thing, especially now that in the last few months we’ve given up the binky that she only used for naps and bedtime. Again, it is one of those things that we sometimes wonder how hard to push for. Is it really hurting her to have a bottle at night? (We don’t let her just have the bottle through the night to suck on at will as we know that wouldn’t be good for little teeth. She drinks it and is done.) I know that if I was still nursing her, she would probably want to do that occasionally for comfort as well. She weaned at about 15 months pretty easily on her own. I starting cutting back some, and before I knew it, and almost before I was even ready, she seemed to be.

Daddy and Gracie napping while visiting family in Virginia

So there is a little bit of our story. A story in which we grew and are continuing to grow in our understanding that not all parents will have the same parenting style, and that this is ok! It’s a story that is going to continue to evolve once baby #2 joins our family and we have to figure out how to keep two littles asleep in our bedroom (any co-sleeping parents have tips on this!?) So I encourage you to find a system that is safe (like don’t just throw a newborn into your bed to co-sleep without any knowledge of it or safety precautions) and comfortable for your family, and not judge other families that choose to parent a different way. If the child is safe, happy, and loved, I think we can say we are headed in the right direction! So what does your story look like? What works for your family? I’d love to hear your story, in a nonjudgmental environment of course!

A Continuation: Another Year of Gift Counting

To start the new year off strong, I am using this first Monday of 2014 to post my Gift List.  Some date back to fall, but I love to re-read these and remember the blessings and the gifts that these things are.To remember the beauty of fall colors, even when the leaves are long gone and the bitter cold has set in.   To give thanks again for things forgotten and continue adding to the ever growing list.

418. Trees on “fire” with color
419. Dancing in carseat
420. Giggles in bed
421. Front teeth grins
422. Clean sheets made instantly dirty again
423. Dreaming
424. Devotions with Dustin
425. Learning letters
426. Snow
427. Baby’s forceful kicks
428. Humming bedtime songs
429. IHOP after church
430. Babydolls
431. Family chatting
432. Crooked headbands
433. Snow angels
434. Stockings
435. Giving of time
436. Learning the hard way
437. Challenges
438. Saturday work
439. Frequent trips to bathroom
440. Deciphering toddler language
441. Tutu dancing
442. Gracie kisses and hugs
443. Cookie making
443. Dependable car
444. Cozy home
445. Bedroom door opened easily by little hands