Saturday, February 11, 2012

Easy Weekend Waffles

A few years ago, my brother Ethan and I attended the Seattle stop of Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain's speaking tour. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I doubled-over listening to them rag on McDonald's and the Food Network. I particularly loved Bourdain's commentary on Sandra Lee's jaw-dropping white-trash catastrophe, "Kwanzaa Cake." (Watch the video for a little self-esteem boost. I guarantee you've never made anything this horrifying.)

I won't lie to you. I love me a Mickey D's cheeseburger, but Bourdain's idea to wrap things like lutefisk and limburger cheese in a McDonald's wrapper to forever turn your kids off their food is pretty brilliant. And ever since the news erupted about pink-ammonia soft serve getting pumped into Mcdonald's beef to make it edible, I barely can stomach the thought of that yellow wrapper, which used to make me drool like Pavlov's dog.

Anyway, one of Bourdain and Batali's biggest issues with the Food Network is their hocking of sub-standard fare, passing it off as haute cuisine so people at home will watch and say, "I could totally make that if I wanted to ..." Problem is, a big percentage of viewers will continue eating their Cheetos, guzzling their Coke, and feeding their families frozen dinners.

While I don't feed my family a ton of prepared food (Lucas doesn't ever get any), I absolutely am guilty of watching the Food Network, reading countless food magazines, and not making most of the things I tuck away in the back of my mind. Since we've had a baby in our lives, my cooking really has gone out the window. I make all of Lucas' food from scratch, but Morgan and I eat far more ghetto "crispy chicken salads" topped with Foster Farms chicken nuggets than I care to admit.

The older Lucas gets, the longer he can play independently while I cook. So when I do find a little bit of time to pull together a semi-decent meal, it has to be fast. Like, 30 minutes maximum fast.

I woke up this morning and decided that we were going to have a real breakfast. I pulled out one of my super cool, but far-too seldomly used fun kitchen toys, found a quick and easy waffle recipe and had a respectable homemade breakfast in about 25 minutes that both my little guy and big guy gobbled up.

I ate mine with a handful of frozen berries. I normally would have used some butter, too, but this recipe made pretty moist waffles and I'm trying to lose a few final baby-weight pounds, so I skipped it. (Most people probably would thaw the berries first, but I have a weird thing for the texture of frozen berries.) Lucas ate his plain with a side of pureed sweet potatoes and pears — he's fancy like that — and Morgan drowned his in maple syrup.

If I can find time to make these and have a nice weekend breakfast with my family, anyone can!

Tip: Make a double batch of waffles and freeze your leftovers to heat later in the toaster. They work just like Eggos. I freeze two waffles each in individual sandwich bags with a piece of wax or parchment paper in between to avoid them sticking together.

20-Minute Waffles

Adapted from Allrecipes Waffles I

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat waffle iron. Whisk eggs in large bowl until fluffy. Slowly whisk in flour, milk, vegetable oil, applesauce, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices and vanilla, just until smooth.

2. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Keep warm on a cookie sheet in the oven at 300F until all waffles are cooked. (I have a Cuisinart Traditional-Style 6-Slice Waffle Iron and find that a scant 1/4 cup of batter is perfect for each waffle, otherwise the batter overflows and your time spent cleaning up will ruin the whole point of these being fast and easy.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Nine Months, Lucas!

Happy nine months, sweet boy!

You actually turned nine-months-old 18 days ago, but I only am now just getting around to writing your letter. I was going to be so on top of it this month, but the past three weeks evaporated. Poof. Just. Like. That.

Your first Christmas was so fun. You had a great time opening gifts, i.e., eating wrapping paper and pounding on boxes. You sat on a lot of laps and got a ton of snuggles while we visited all of your grandparents, and your auntie and uncles. Daddy, you and I spent Christmas Eve morning celebrating together at our house, and later that day went to grandpa and farmor Omdal’s house for dinner. Since they’re Scandinavian, they do all of their celebrating on Christmas Eve. We then headed over on the ferry to grandpa and nana Smith’s house where we spent a couple days. Nana watched you while daddy and I went to church with grandpa and uncle Ethan on Christmas morning. We had a great Christmas dinner together and took a ridiculous amount of pictures. Daddy, you and I stay in the same room at their house, and thankfully, you slept much better during our Christmas visit than you did on Thanksgiving, when you were up every few hours wanting to play.   

You are getting so big! At your nine-month checkup, you weighed just under 20 pounds, and were 30 inches tall. That’s the 25th percentile for weight, and 75th–90th for height. You’re tall and skinny, just like your daddy. I’m surprised you’re not chunkier because you are eating us out of house and home. I looked in the freezer this weekend, and you were down to just a handful of food cubes. (I make all of your food and freeze it in ice cube trays.)

I had a marathon cooking session for you on Sunday, and hope our new stores will last for at least three weeks: 12 pears, six sweet potatoes, five avocados, one pound each of peas, green beans and broccoli, and a giant slow cooker full of chicken and dumplings. You’re eating more table food these days. I put the chicken and dumplings through the food processor, and also made a batch of beef stew for you a few weeks ago. Prior to you turning nine months, we were following the four-day wait rule of introducing new foods, looking for allergies, stomach upset, etc. The rule was lifted by your pediatrician this month, and it has been so much more fun to share some of our regular meals with you. It also is much easier to find new foods for you to try.

You love cheese. You really love cheese. This is how I know you are my son. You’ve had mozzarella and cheddar, and I have to ration it very carefully. Otherwise, you grab it in fistfuls from your tray and gobble it up all at once. We call you our little Cheese Squirrel, because you stash it away in your cheeks and gnaw on it for a disgustingly long time. I had to stick my finger in your mouth and scoop some out the other day, because I was afraid you would choke. Against my better judgment, I shared a Pillsbury biscuit with you this weekend, and you had a complete cow because I wasn’t handing over the pieces quickly enough.

Speaking of whining, you’re really starting to show a little temper. You do not like to have things taken away — this usually happens because you like to chew on everything. If we say “No,” and remove something from your hands, the lip immediately comes out and I’m certain that the slow bursts of your melodramatic cry can be heard by the neighbors. You’re extremely loud when you’re mad! You also still despise tummy time. You’re showing no interest in crawling, and pitch a huge fit every time we place you on your belly. They tell us that you don’t usually do this at daycare, but you obviously know that daddy and I will be quicker to pick you up when you meltdown. We’ve been “torturing” you with this a lot lately, letting you cry longer than we have during the past few months. I know it’s important for your development, but I still hate seeing you so upset.

You figured out how to move forward in your walker this past weekend, and immediately went straight for the kitchen cabinets and drawers. When we redirected you so you wouldn’t smash your fingers, you then tried to pull the bottom rack out of the dishwasher. Daddy went straight to Lowe’s and picked up some childproofing materials. You often buckle your knees when we try to sit you down because you like to stand so much, and you’ll walk across the room when we hold your hands. I think you might skip crawling all together and once you figure out how to pull yourself up, will go straight to walking.

This week also marks your move into the older/mobile infant classroom at daycare. I think they gave up on waiting for you to crawl, and just decided to move you anyway, since you were the oldest baby in the younger infants room. You seem perfectly content to sit and play with the other babies moving all around you. I think what finally may motivate your mobility is another child stealing your binky one time too many. You DO NOT like to be without your binky.

You babble nonstop when the pacifier isn’t in your mouth. I sometimes take it away for a little while just to hear you talk. I love listening to you and think you’re beginning to associate certain sounds with objects. Your binky is your “ba ba” and it’s by far your clearest “word.” You also say “mama” and “dada,” but I’m not quite sure that you’re associating those sounds with me and daddy.

You have all four of your bottom teeth and your upper-right lateral incisor. We can see your other three front teeth ready to pop through your gums any day now, and sometimes you wake up screaming in horrible teething pain. For the most part, though, you sleep a solid 12–13 hours a night, and it is awesome. We know how lucky we are that you’re such a great sleeper, and we are incredibly thankful.

We had the first snow of the season at our house this month, and also had the chance to spend a snowy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend with our friends, the Cudworths, at their cabin in Ronald, Wash. You seemed to really like the snow at our house when we first took you out, but after it turned into the Storm of the Century and we tried to get you to play in it a few more times, you very clearly let us know that you no longer were interested.

Right now I am spending between two and two-and-a-half hours a day commuting to and from work. That’s more than three working months per year wasted in traffic that I could be spending with you. It’s awful. Really, really awful. I’m frustrated when I get to work, and I’m frustrated when I come home. I do my best to not think about work and focus solely on you during our very limited time together in the evenings, but my commute is taking a serious toll on my happiness. It’s not fair to any of us. Hopefully it won’t have to be like this forever.

Daddy and I both had the opportunity to work from home last week due to the massive snowfall, and it was so blissful. We managed to take care of you, get all our work done, and spend extra time together as a family. I’m working hard to figure out a way to make this happen more often, but I unfortunately don’t work for the most flexible company. I really hope you’re never faced with this type of situation when you’re older. The saying that time is “the only thing you can’t get back” is so true. I’ll do my best to help you understand that and take it to heart.

I love you so much, little Boo. You are an awesome little boy and I’m so glad you’re mine.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Eight Months, Lucas!

Happy eight months, Lucas!

I'm a little weepy writing this, knowing that another month has flown by and you are growing up so fast.

You no longer are my itty-bitty baby. Several people lately have commented that you look much older than your actual age. You are a big guy! I can't wait to learn your height and weight at your nine-month checkup in early January. I think you're a little over 20 pounds now, and almost 30 inches tall! (Oh, and you're ridiculously cute, too, but of course I think that.)

Lucas LOVES eating! (Click the image to watch.)
You really pack away the food. Daycare asked us to bring a third meal for you, because your appetite is so gigantic. You're up to four five-ounce bottles at daycare, I nurse you three times a day (and full time on the weekends), and you eat about eight ounces of solid food. You get so excited when you see us coming with a bowl and spoon — you squirm in your chair, kick your legs and shout at us to hurry up! And I think you're mainlining it into those long legs, because it certainly isn't going into your belly. Your legs are so long that any pants with adequate length are absolutely huge in the waist. I have yet to find a baby belt, but you desperately are in need of one! You obviously take after your tall daddy, not your short mommy.

We spent your first Thanksgiving visiting grandpa and nana Smith. You sat at the table in your highchair and let mommy and daddy have a nice meal while you munched on your puffs and entertained everyone with shouts and giggles. I can remember just a few months ago when we never thought we'd enjoy another calm meal again, and it's remarkable to see how much things have changed since then. I'm sure mealtime will get wild again once you get a little older, but for now, things are just about perfect. I never have felt as grateful and surrounded by love as I did this Thanksgiving. My life is so rich, and looking at you, daddy, and the rest of our family had me feeling incredibly blessed.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we went with grandpa and farmor Omdal to find a Christmas tree at a u-cut farm in Stanwood, Wash. I carried you in a front pack, and you were so happy walking through the woods. You had a huge smile on your face and squealed with delight when we let you touch the trees. Our decorated tree seems to be the best thing you've ever seen. You light up with wonder and awe whenever we hold you up to it and let you grab an ornament or branch.

You're very eager to crawl, but haven't quite figured it out yet. We've seen you get up on your knees a few times, only to immediately crash back to the floor and kick your legs vigorously in frustration. Most of the other babies at school crawl around you, and sometimes steal your binky and toys. Your teacher tells us you don't like this very much, so hopefully you'll be able to hang with the mobile kids soon. On second thought, since we've done absolutely no child proofing, perhaps you can hold off on moving around for a little while longer!

This past Sunday was a little crazy. We stopped by the flu clinic at your pediatrician's office and got your booster shot. You didn't even cry — it was pretty remarkable and the nurse thought you were awesome. (She no doubt tells all parents their babies are awesome. I ate it up, nonetheless.) But by that night, your nose was running and your second cold was in full swing. Ah, the endless mommy guilt of having you in daycare and exposed to every cold virus known to man. You were full-blown screaming by early evening, which really is unlike you, and we realized that you also had cut your third tooth (one of your lower lateral incisors). Shots, buckets of snot, and a new tooth. It was the golden cranky-baby trifecta. Part of me expected a large trophy to materialize, congratulating us on having this all happen at once.

Within an hour, daddy and I threw our entire parenting arsenal at you: milk, food, ibuprofen, a clean diaper, a bath, and the incredibly disgusting, yet tremendously effective Nosefrida(which you recognize now, and immediately sets off a complete meltdown). It semi-worked, but you've continued to be stuffy all week and have a yucky-sounding cough in the evenings, particularly when you lie down at night. Your eye was really watery yesterday when I picked you up from daycare, and I had a sick feeling that we could be in for our first case of pink eye. It looked much better when you woke up, but has gone back downhill today, so daddy is taking you to the doctor in the morning.

You need to get better soon, because daddy and I can't wait to celebrate your first Christmas. You are such a blessing to us, baby boy. My cup truly runneth over.

I love you,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Seven Months, Lucas!

Happy seven months, little Boo!

When you are a grown up and read my messages, please don’t think that daddy and I neglected you for three months because there is not a five- or six-month letter. The recurring theme of “no time” since you entered our lives may be getting a bit stale, but this new pace still is throwing me for a loop.
I am kicking myself for not writing to you since August, afraid that I’ve already forgotten some of your milestones. I’m still working on striking the balance between being your mommy, having a full-time office job, being daddy’s wife, and occasionally finding a few moments for myself. I know it will all work out, though. It always does. We’re blessed like that, our family. I try to count those blessings every day. Sometimes I just look at you and stare, thinking, “Are you really my baby?! I actually get to keep you?!” It always fills me with such happiness knowing you’re mine.

Here’s a little play-by-play of where we’re at:
  • You are a sturdy little guy, and can sit up beautifully. You’ve been able to do this pretty well since you were about five-and-a-half-months old.
  • You have been eating solids since you were about five-and-a-half-months old, too. We were going to wait until six months, but you were eyeing our food with so much longing, that we caved. “Cooking” for you has been a ton of fun, and I make all of your food from scratch. So far you’ve tried oatmeal, sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, green beans, avocado, peas, butternut squash and puffed cereal.
  • You eat almost everything with an incredible amount of gusto. You easily put away an entire half of a large Haas avocado or pear for dinner on a regular basis. Sometimes you pound on your high chair and shout for more food in between each bite. And you reject butternut squash with nearly the same amount of passion. You hate it. You throw your head back, scream, and spit it back at us as if your life depended on it. I keep trying to feed it to you, because everything I read says you may change your mind after 15 or so tries. I’m not so sure. It’s hard to calm you down after you taste it, too, and help you realize that we’re moving on to something you actually like. It’s a little ridiculous, really!
  • We give you a sippy cup filled with water at each meal, but you don’t really drink out of it, yet. You mostly just chew on the handles.
  • Even though you really chow down on the solids, your sleep still is hit-and-miss. Some days you sleep for eight- or nine-hours straight. Other nights you’re up every three hours. A little more consistency in this area would be greatly appreciated.
  • Your two bottom teeth cut through right as you turned six-months-old. (One the day before, and one the day after.) This was pretty traumatic for all of us and there were a lot of tears and buckets of drool. Once they were in, though, you calmed down.
  • You vigorously chew on absolutely everything you can grasp. There must be more teeth on the immediate horizon.
  • You are starting to pay more attention when we read to you, and like to turn the pages of the books by yourself. Your favorite book right now is Peek-a-Baby. (Of course, I’m just guessing, but your attention is completely undivided when we read it.)
  • You like to sit independently, grab at your books and play with your own toys. You can do this for about 15 minutes before getting too bored and needing someone to pay more attention to you.
  • You are beginning to consistently use sign language for milk. I didn’t think it was true when daycare told us you could do this, but now it happens almost every time you want to nurse or have a bottle. It’s very cool and I love it! I can’t wait until we can communicate more with you.
  • When you use your voice, it often is in the form of a very, very high pitched squeal or scream. You smile and giggle after you make these screechy noises, so we don’t think you’re upset, although you nearly take out our eardrums with each outburst. We like the soft, sweet babbling you do much better.
  • Daddy and I dressed you as a very adorable monkey for Halloween. I went as a snow leopard, and daddy was our zookeeper. We had a small party at our house and let you stay up much later than usual (it was just too noisy with all the other kids for you to go to sleep). You also got to wear your costume at school in a parade, and have fun with your friends painting pumpkins in your classroom. The other babies got really messy, but daddy had to encourage you to really dive into the paint. You don’t like to be very messy. When you get food on your hands while you’re eating, it seems to bother you a bit, too. In this sense, you are just like your daddy, who I affectionately refer to as Colonel Clean.
  • This past week marked your first real sickness and fever. Daycare called and had us pick you up on Tuesday. You have to be fever-free for 24 hours with no medication before you can go back. It’s Saturday morning now, and your fever finally was gone as of last night. Daddy and I alternated staying home with you and it has not been fun for any of us. You felt so miserable. All I wanted to do was make you feel better, but my bag of magical mommy tricks kept coming up empty. You cried a lot and just wanted to be held, but soon that stopped working and you were inconsolable. In fact, you were so fussy that you bit me twice while nursing. I almost went through the roof because it hurt so bad, and when I yelped, you melted down worse than I’ve ever seen. I hope you get over this behavior quickly.
  • This morning you woke up and seemed back to your regular, smiley self. It is such a relief to see you feeling better. You fill our house with a tremendous amount of joy and laughter, and daddy and I can’t imagine life without you. Watching you grow is just awesome, and we can’t wait to see what you do next.
I love you,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy Four Months, Lucas!

My Boo,

Happy four months, sweet boy! I'm a week late with your letter because, well, our lives have been pretty crazy during this last little stretch. I went back to work on Thursday and you started daycare. Leaving you with someone else during the day was the most difficult thing I've done in my entire life. I barely can write about it without bawling my eyes out. I'm quite certain that I've shed more tears in the last week than the entire rest of my days combined.
Your daddy drops you off in the mornings, since your "school" (makes me feel better than calling it daycare), is right next to his office. He comes and sees you at lunchtime, too, to feed you a bottle and play with you. It's kind of ironic that he now gets to see you more often, since I'm back in the office each day. It's good for you both to spend extra time together, but I still feel like someone has ripped my heart out of my chest when I leave each morning. And no, I'm not being dramatic, it really is that intense.

Everyone tells me that going to work will get easier, but I'm not completely convinced. I just keep telling myself that I'm working to provide a better life for you, which includes a financially stable household, but it's gut wrenching to say goodbye to you. These past 20 weeks have been the most amazing, special time. I cannot explain the love I have for you, because it's still so new, intense, and simply overwhelming.

I want to continue nursing you until you're at least a year old, because I think it's the best thing for your health and development. And pumping at work, well, it just sucks. Something about this whole situation seems inherently wrong to me — that I can't be with you during the time in your life you need me most. I really think American maternity leave laws need to be reformed to look a little more like they do in Scandinavia. I could go on about this for days, but let's just say I've become a bit of a "lactivist." It's amazing how one's views about something they never gave so much as a second thought can become so incredibly strong once they've had a personal experience. The nursing bond – for me at least – is so much more meaningful, special and emotion-invoking than I ever could have fathomed. But alas ... it is what it is, and I'm doing my best to deal.

You are changing and growing so much, and you're just plain fun right now. Your personality is starting to shine and we're getting a glimpse of the little boy you're becoming. Your laughter and squeals fill our house with joy, and your smiles are endless. You love to twirl around with us, be sung to (even though your daddy and I both are completely tone-deaf), and occasionally will pay a little attention to your books during story time. Your hand-eye coordination is skyrocketing, and you can trade your binky back-and-forth between hands, but you can't consistently get it back in your mouth yet. The day that finally happens, your daddy and I are going to do cartwheels and open an expensive bottle of champagne. (We spend a lot of time "binky fetching.") You've also figured out how to arch your back during diaper changes, which is a new challenge for us, and you love to "dance" on your playmat by kicking your legs and pounding your belly. We laugh so hard at your antics, which in turn makes you crack up, too.

You are such an easygoing kiddo, and there are only a handful of things that wipe the near-constant grin off your face: (1) hunger, (2) naps, (3) possible early teething, and (4) a week of backed-up poop. Now, I know most people don't care to read about your bowel habits, but one purpose of these letters is to help me remember things about your childhood that I may otherwise forget (be that intentional or not). And hey, I may want to reference these events for a future sibling. We're a little concerned that you've started pooping so infrequently this month – we had a five-day stretch and a seven–day stretch, but you always seem to "work in out" in the end. And when you do, it is the most wretched of wretched events. I hope this pattern soon ceases. I suppose that's one upside to daycare, though, considering you may someday choose to unleash on them instead of your daddy and me.

You've really kicked up the drooling and have started to bite down on things instead of just sucking on them. It seems a little early to be teething, but a few people have pointed out that they think you've started the process. You've woken up screaming in the night a few times lately, too, which is a new thing for you (and yes, to the other parents of young babies reading this, I do know how lucky we are). I'm still in denial about the teething, but we have your four-month checkup this coming week, so we'll ask your pediatrician what she thinks.

Your naps still are pretty irregular. They're developing into an every-other-day pattern. At the same time, you're not cranky on the days you don't want to go down – it just seems like you're trying to say, "Hey lady, I'm not tired, so stop trying to put me in this crib!!" But the following day will be filled with a couple two-hour stretches. I'm still of the mindset that as long as you continue sleeping so well at night, I don't really care what you do during the day. We put you down around 7 p.m. each evening, and generally you sleep until about 6 a.m. Now that I'm back at work – I'm trying to work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – I have to wake you up to eat earlier than normal and I feel really guilty about it. You don't seem to mind, though, and usually go right back to sleep after you're done eating, so I'm trying to let myself off the hook.

I suspect you'll be able to roll onto your tummy within the next week or so – you're so very close. I think it may be one of your first "firsts" that I miss because I'm at work. It just kills me. Do you see the recurring theme this month? It's mommy guilt, and I sure have a lot of it. I'm doing my best to work through it, but it certainly is not easy.

My entire being is filled with love for you, baby boy. It gets stronger every day, and I am so looking forward to watching you grow. You mean the absolute world to me, and I promise to try and make the very most of the time we're together.

I love you,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vote for Lucas!

Several people suggested I find a photo contest to enter Lucas' "unhappy troll" photo. I sent it in to Parents Magazine last Thursday, and got an email this morning letting me know that it's a finalist in this week's Photo Faves contest.

Click on the link below (and share it with your friends, if you like) to vote for him and help him earn $250 for his college fund!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Three Months, Lucas!

My Sweet Lucas Boy,

It’s 7 p.m. on your three-month birthday and I just laid you down to sleep. We’ve been taking a picture of you on the seventh of each month, but this month we'll be one day late. The little photo shoot I planned for this evening was derailed by a hysterical milk meltdown after your bath. And then, once your belly was full, you were so sleepy that I couldn’t keep your eyes open for photos. You’re happiest in the mornings, so we’ll just try again after you wake up tomorrow.
Hooray! We had a happy and awake boy this morning. July 8, 2011
Daddy and Lucas hanging out before work. July 6, 2011
You’ve really started to show your personality this month. You are such a vocal little boy and love to laugh, babble, and squeal at anyone who will listen. You can deliberately grasp the dangling rings on your playmat now, and we watch your hand-eye coordination increase exponentially each day. You are very proud whenever you get your fingers around something and look at us with a huge grin as if to say, “Check out what I can do!”
Chatting with auntie Em at the cabin. July 5, 2011
At your two-month check-up, you could already flip from your front to your back and even showed off your trick to the pediatrician. Now you’re working on flipping from your back to your front. You actually enjoy tummy time now and are happiest spending it on mommy or daddy’s chest and making silly faces at us. We love to make silly faces back at you, too.

Your salivary glands have found their “on” switch. You drool -- a lot. Your daddy and I were caught a little off guard by this, because it happened so suddenly. You were a dry, clean baby one day, and a spit monster the next. You have figured out how to blow raspberries through your sea of slobber and it’s pretty funny to watch you crack yourself up. You have a true laugh now and hearing your giggle completely lights up my world. I love watching you delight in your own antics.

You’re still exclusively breast fed and I hope to be able to continue this until you’re six months old -- and beyond that, too, but in combination with solid food. We found a daycare for you next to daddy’s office, so when I go back to work in five weeks, I’ll be pumping milk for you during the day. I’m glad we found a safe and loving place for you to be while we’re at work, but it makes me very sad to not be able to stay with you myself. For now, I’m trying to soak up every minute of every day. Sometimes I just look at you and feel so overwhelmed with love that I burst into tears at the thought of someone else taking care of you. I know it will get easier with time, but right now that’s really hard to imagine. I’ve never felt so protective over something or someone -- and never could even have closely imagined these feelings until you arrived. Having you has made me realize how much my own parents love me. You’ve already taught me an amazing amount about life in your short three months.

We spent Fourth of July weekend at Samish Island with auntie Emily, uncle Peter, and the Cole and Keeton families. Watching all the homemade floats and classic cars in the annual parade was so much fun. I can’t wait until you’re big enough to scramble after the candy along with all of the other kids. As usual, the entire island was under siege with an abundance of highly illegal, ridiculously loud, and very scary (to me, at least) homemade bombs and, thankfully, some incredibly beautiful fireworks. For the most part, you slept through the entire night, with just a few startles. We were counting our blessings, to say the least.

Yesterday, July 6, was one of the warmest days of the year, topping out in the low 80s (we haven’t had much of a summer). You were so hot and uncomfortable, and the only place you wanted to be was in my arms. I had you stripped down to your diaper, which made things a little better. Every time I needed to get something done, though, and set you down in your bouncy chair or swing, you started crying. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but the second I would turn to pick you up, you’d flash a huge grin, blow a raspberry at me, and start laughing. I immediately was butter in your hands and did whatever you wanted. You finally fell asleep on my chest, laying on the couch. I stole a few extra minutes of snuggle time because I figure those special times are limited and I should eat them all up before they disappear.

But even when you’re grown and don’t want to snuggle with me anymore, you’ll still be my baby. You’ll always be my baby. No matter what.

I love you,