Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Happy Weekend.

Sometimes we have a weekend that is just so good.  No real plans.  No pressure.  Just invitations to hang out.  And eat.  And play.  Those are the best kind of weekends.


A trip to the country with my city boys...
Friends of ours live about an hour and a half from us.  They have a beautiful piece of land and 4 (FOUR!) boys.  We explored the wide open spaces and introduced ourselves to all of the animals.
This gorgeous old cabin sits behind their home and has a view of the lake.  Parts of it seem to be frozen in time.  I want it.


Dinner, charades and Candyland with family...
Fletch talking to PopPop.
Fletcher enjoyed his dinner with Uncle Sean after we had a our Mexican feast.
Hanging out with Uncle B.
The cousins love to get together and play games with Mimi.

It really was a relaxing weekend.
The time spent with fresh air, friends and family was good for all of us.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fletcher | 2 Months

Here we go.  Another month down.
While an average size at birth...Fletcher has grown into a fat little fox-monster.  I shouldn't be surprised.  All of my boys are big.  But seeing my tiny little newborn skip all the way to 6 month clothes has made me feel a bit wistful.
You'd think that with my third child I'd be really laid back, and in most ways I am...the sound of crying doesn't stress me out, every little grunt or sneeze doesn't make me run to his side in a panic.  I don't wake in the middle of the night just to make sure he's breathing.  However, I'm preserving his baby-ness more than I did with the other two.
When Max was a baby he was on the fast track from day one.  I followed all "deadlines" imposed by the baby books...I introduced him to a bottle within the first two weeks, moved him to his nursery to sleep at exactly 12 weeks and encouraged him to walk at 9 months.  Interestingly, the results of all of this can been seen in Max's serious, rule-following personality nearly 4 years later.  I was a bit more relaxed with Sullivan, but still happy to move him along.

With Fletcher, I'm hanging on. It takes everything I have in me to leave him for even an hour or two.  I avoided giving him a bottle in the beginning and now I'm paying the price for it since he's somewhat reluctant to take it at this point.

I've already witnessed how quickly they grow up twice and I've been determined that its not going to fly by this time.  But its already begun.

On the positive side, seeing a little personality emerge as each day passes is one of the greatest prizes of parenthood.  Fletcher has started smiling and getting super excited when he tries to "talk".   And after perfecting the "serious frown" that reminds me so much of Max, he has started getting more smiley each day.  He's finally getting the hang of it! :) Not quite as serious as Max was...not quite as silly as Sullivan was.  He's very much his own person already.

Dear Fletcher,

  I love the person I see when I look into those ink-blue eyes of yours.  We talk.  I tell you all of the ways that we belong together.  Watching you try to get words and sounds out brings me the greatest joy.  Your arms flail wildly as you try to convey how much you love me too ;)  I listen and smile and ignore my to-do list as I soak up every minute I get with the person you are today. Because I know I'll miss you soon.  I know I'll miss this little person who is right in front of me because of all the changes you will undergo in this first year.

You have reshaped our home and our hearts.  You have made your way into every corner of our lives.  Your newness has been exchanged for a comfortable belonging-ness that comes with being a perfect fit.

2 months in and we couldn't love you more.

My whole heart, 


Monday, January 13, 2014

Fletcher's Nursery

My sweet baby fox.  Here is your nursery.  

I think it's my favorite.  Something about it just feels right.

I love that its collected, not decorated.  I rummaged through antique stores, estate sales, Etsy shops and the far corners of our home to gather items for a thoughtful, warm space for you to come home to.

It turned out to be the softest, most peaceful place in our house and I love to just be with you in it.
From the little wooden sewing drawers that hold your the authentic army cot that your Boobo slept on during his youth (that technically belongs to your Uncle Michael ;) the small wooden duck that was a gift brought to us all the way from Slovakia...every item in your room could be a story.
My dear friend, Amy, took this picture on Fletcher Street in Chicago and had a canvas made. It's the welcome sign on the door to your room.  It makes me smile every time I walk passed it.
I made the cornices above your windows out of foam board, batting, fabric and hot glue.  A lot of hot glue.  I like that they hide the blackout shades hung behind them.
Lolli made this sweet horse especially for you, personalized with your name and birthday.  It goes perfectly in your room.
Your brothers love to sit at the table and read or color while I rock you to sleep.
I bought this little plant when you were barely the size of a pea.  It's been living happily in your nursery for many, many months. 
Each piece of furniture in the room is second (or third or fourth) hand.  I sanded and painted (with a mask on :) and tightened screws and gave these forgotten pieces a new purpose.

Your crib sits in what used to be a closet and really opens up the room.

This room was a labor of love and I wouldn't change a thing. I know you're not aware of all of the decor and details, but you really do love your nursery.  It's one of the brightest rooms in the house, so when I open all of the blinds and let the sun shine in you get quiet and look around.
Fletcher in his favorite, softest blanket made by his Mimi.
You blink slowly and take it all in.  You love the contrast in the herringbone rug and watching the small crocheted horses on the mobile as they go around to the music.  You won't remember these early days but the time spent together in your nursery are some of my most precious with you so far.

{Before pics when it was Sullivan's nursery.}

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Happy, happy, happy."

Sullivan Michael @ 27 months
I've described Sullivan many times as my quiet, introspective guy.  Although these are qualities that I absolutely adore about my sweet Sully I've been worried about his speech for awhile.  

He doesn't really have an interest in impressing anyone with his words (he's not a chatter box like Mr. Max), so when you ask him to say something or repeat a word, he'll often just smile instead.   I know he understands every word that we say, but I wonder what's on his mind.  I want to hear his gentle voice more often and let him tell me for himself who he is and what he likes. 

 For instance, I know his favorite color is orange.  It's the color he always picks when we're coloring or using play dough or picking out cookies with sprinkles.  But he's never told me its his favorite color.  I have a video of Max when he's 22 months old telling me "I like blue. Blue is my best!"  Watching it recently made me wonder what words are inside Sully that might not be getting out due to some sort of barrier rather than simply being an attribute of a quieter disposition.

So I decided to have him evaluated by Missouri First Steps just to see if there was anything we could do to encourage him to speak up more.  A specialist came to the house and brought toys for Sullivan to play with.  She gave him directions, which he followed well.  She showed him flash cards of animals, but she would call the animal by the wrong name to see if Sullivan would correct her.  It was cute because she'd hold up a picture of a horse and say "This is a pig"...Sully would giggle, shake his head and say "noooooooo...horsie".  He thought it was so funny.

The therapist gave me some great ideas of ways to help him expand on what he already knows.  And how to encourage him to ask for what he wants before I start naming options that he can just say "yes" or "no" to.  Other than that she thinks he's on track for his age and that being soft spoken is just part of his demeanor.  She said there's no reason to worry and she didn't see any reason for any sort of speech therapy.

Although I can't wait to learn more about my son from his own words, I've decided to relax and let him do things at his own pace.  One of his favorite things to say is "happy, happy, happy..." when he's having fun.  He says it more to himself than to anyone specifically.  After the speech/language therapist left I watched him walk around the house with an armful of toys singing "happy, happy, happy, happy" with pleasant little smile on his face.

There are a lot of things I can't wait to hear from him, but for now, I think he's said all I need to know.

 **Update:  Since the visit from the therapist in early November, Sullivan's speech has taken off.  He went from speaking 1-2 words at a time to speaking many full sentences now.  My favorite things he says are "I love you too, Momma" and "I hold Baby Fletcher?".  I don't know if its because he's a "big brother" now or maybe I'm treating him more like a big kid now that Fletcher is here.  Or maybe something just clicked inside him.  Whatever the reason, it's so awesome to witness his progress and hear what's on his mind more and more each day.  So proud of you Soul Man :)