Daphne is Five!

As we rode to school today, Daphne squealed, “This is the best day of my life!”

She has been counting down the days until she turns five. One whole hand!

I truly do not have the words to express the light that this little girl exudes. But I am going to attempt anyway.

Here are five things to know about this beautiful soul.

  1. She is the best sister. She adores both of her brothers. She wants to do everything that George does. She thinks the world of him, and she easily follows along to all his interests. When it comes to Wally, she is so sweet to him and caters to his every need. She wants to entertain him and comfort him all day long. She is the perfect middle to this brother sandwich.
  2. Daphne pays attention to the tiniest of details. She loves playing with tiny things, and has a story of the why to every detail. She doesn’t forget the importance of every step of the process and is meticulous to layer every piece as elaborately as needed. It’s as though everything she touches becomes ornate.
  3. She is the biggest bucket filler. Along with paying attention to details on things, she also does this with people. She feeds into others so easily. She is always taking in people’s favorite things and interests and recalls them at later points in order to fill that person up. She is constantly trying to make things because she knows they are something we like or reminds her of her friends. She is a great gift giver and friend because of how she wants to make others feel seen.
  4. She is as stubborn as a mule. I am really getting payback on this one. She is giving me a run for my money on being stubborn. She knows how to dig her heels in when she has an opinion on something. She also does not like to be wrong, so she digs in there too just to prove a point. She doesn’t fall far from the tree on that one….She also wants to know the reason for everything, and she won’t let simple answers go. She is relentless on asking for why.
  5. At the same time, Daphne is very tenderhearted and loyal. She believes in the best in people. It has been really fun to see her at school this year and see how she is developing friendships. While she has this eternal optimism about her, it can take her a while to warm up to strangers. But once she does, she is stuck to you for life. If that wall has come down, she gives her whole self into that relationship and becomes your ride or die with her loyalty.

She is a sweet human, and I feel blessed to have her. Sometimes I feel like we are raising each other. I am definitely not the same person I was the day she was born. I am growing right alongside her.

This has been a big year for her, and she has grown so much-physically and mentally. I am constantly amazed seeing what she is capable of. I am so proud of her, and I am in awe of her.

Five whole years with this little person.

37

As I sit here at the end of my birthday today, I can only smile at the life that I have been given.

There are certain moments of the year where I get reflective and take a moment to be thankful of what I have been given and my current place in life. Things have never been completely easy, and this last year was certainly not a walk in the park. However, my birthday has always been one of those times each year where I can pause and soak in my blessings, see how I have grown, and be thankful for those surrounding me.

This past year was a true testament of how investing in my own growth matters. It was the first year that I can honestly remember ever that my anxiety was not crippling. There were many trials this year that would have sent a younger me in a spiral. Now, has the constant overthinking stopped? Not at all. However, I have become more confident in who I am and learned strategies to knock away the self doubt.

I don’t have to be perfect. In fact, I am far from it. This year I am finally coming to terms with this. God uses broken leaders. There has been peace in finally accepting that I don’t have to be perfect all the time, and being broken doesn’t mean that I can’t still move forward. It only took me three decades to get here, but we all run our own race. (Hebrews 12:1 is one of my favorite verses.)

I talked about the start of my counseling journey last year after giving birth to Wally, and honestly that was a game changer for me. I have learned so much about how to truly accept myself and starting to understand I am not responsible for other people’s opinions. This is still a hard journey, but at 37 I am finally letting some of the things go instead of replaying old conversations that happened yesterday or even 20 years ago. It’s nice to look back at the post, and realize that the work that I have been putting in has been paying off.

I may not be the strongest, but I am stronger.

I may not be the wisest, but I am wiser.

I may not be the healthiest, but I am healthier.

I may not be the best, but I am happy with who I am.

There is not a quick fix in this life, and I am by no means perfect, but I am finally enjoying the journey. Intention has been my focus. I have learned this last year to control my thoughts more deliberately or to reconstruct them when my anxiety does settle in. I have learned to engage in projects with my whole self and know that I am there for a reason even if I don’t understand the why. I have learned how to be better than I was the day before, and even if I wasn’t there is humility and peace in trying again in the next moment. I have learned how to believe in myself.

In the end, I have my family and a purpose in life greater than I could have ever imagined. If my kids were to look back on this moment, I want them to be proud of who I am, and I finally feel at ease with that thought.

So here is to another year around the sun as broken as ever, but more free than ever before.

Walter-16 Months

Weight:  I never remember to weigh him until after he is in bed. He was at 25 lbs at his 15 month appointment. Whoops.

Health: The last couple months have been a little rough. He is cutting his back molars. He has basically had a runny nose non-stop. I think he is going to follow in the big kids’ footsteps and get the allergy cough. He also has had severe diaper rashes. They have been excruciating.

Diet: He is doing great with meals. He is starting to get picky about vegetables, but he still eats really well other than that. He has not met a fruit or a carb that he doesn’t like. His favorite is blueberries, bananas, oranges, and crescent rolls.

Clothes: He is in size 18 month clothes, size 5 in diapers, and size 5 shoes. We skipped right over 12-18 month clothes, partly because he can fit in 18 month just fine. But really, I could not find that size in any of our boxes of prior kid clothes. No clue where that size went off to.

Sleeping:  For the most part he does really well sleeping. He goes to bed around 7:30-8, and then wakes up usually around 8am. He has one nap mid-day. However, if he does wake up, he is a bear to get back down in the middle of the night. It takes a lot of work to get him back down.

Likes:  His new favorite activity is climbing everything. He loves anything he can pull up on or if there are stairs. He loves the movie Encanto. He is obsessed with Daphne and Daisy. He likes the first two pages of any book. He loves playing with the hose, and going outside in general. He loves to get the dirt out of the pots. He loves to brush his own teeth.

Dislikes:  Due to his diaper rash, he HATES getting his pants changed. He does not like any pages past the first two of any book. You cannot have a piece of bread near him without him getting some. The audacity that we have to eat carbs without sharing.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Wallington Bear, Wally Olly, Waller, Wallace, Wallaby, Butters, Sweet Bean, Stinkerdoodle, Waltie baby, Cutie baby, Sweetie baby, Baby guy, and Baby Walter.

Milestones: He is a climber, of all the things. He can follow simple instructions like putting his cup away, and he is starting to know where things are located in the house.

Quirks: My favorite quirk is that he hums while he eats.

We parents are:  doing ok. The past couple months have been fairly difficulty for me at work. There have been a lot of changes and many pivots. It has been exciting to work with my colleagues to provide the best experience for our students, but the resources are slim and we are all just trying to make things work. While it has been hard, it has been cool to see the creative brainstorming we have been doing to get it all done. Tom has been awesome. He is really living his best life and has no complaints.

Big kids are:  doing pretty good. George is working extremely hard to do well in school. It has been fun to see him reading all the things. He got recognized a couple times for awards during the month, so that was heartwarming to see. He also started soccer again, which seems to be a good fit for him. It’s just cool to see him growing and learning. Daphne started soccer again too. She is doing amazing at school. She loves her friends so much. She adores Wally. One of her skills is filling other people’s buckets, and she loves to make Wally the center of her world.

Daisy is: doing great. Wally is her favorite, and they are so cute together. She is still really skiddish, but she is such a great dog.

In case you are curious, here is George at sixteen months and Daphne at sixteen months.

He does not give up smiles easily, but I love his sweet little soul.

Walter-14 Months

This blog has basically become a tribute to my kids, but here we are documenting 14 months of this little man.

Weight:  Honestly, I have no idea, #thirdkidprobs. I would say probably around 25ish pounds.

Health: He has had some colds over the last couple months, and I believe he is cutting some more teeth. But overall, he has been fairing pretty well health wise.

Diet: I am officially done nursing forever and ever. Wally had been weaning himself off for months, I just kept limping us along to get to a year. The last month I was just feeding him at night before he went to bed. We officially stopped on Christmas. He is doing really well eating wise with meals. We did have to stop giving him whole cow’s milk. He would throw up within minutes of drinking it. I drink almond milk myself, so part of it may be that I never had it in my diet to begin with. He does do other dairy just fine, it just seems to be actual milk. So he is on almond milk for now. He loves any kind of fruit and mashed potatoes. He cannot stand it if others are eating in front of him and he doesn’t have anything. He will start screaming after you. We have had to send the kids off to other rooms to eat snacks when Wally is awake. Needless to say, he has been doing really good eating, and we have zero concerns here.

Clothes: He is in size 12 month clothes and size 4 in diapers.

Sleeping:  We are officially down to one nap. Over the holidays, we were having a really hard time getting him to go to bed. It would take almost an hour with Tom and I switching off trying to put him to bed every 10 minutes. As soon as you laid him down, he would start screaming at you. He was also struggling with naps. So once the big kids went back to school, and I went back to work, we tested out only doing an afternoon nap. It has helped a lot, and the fighting sleep is much less. So he usually goes to bed around 8pm, and waked up around 7am, with one 2 hour nap in the middle of the day.

Likes:  He still loves music, baths, and sticking his hands in Daphne’s mouth. He has a couple books that he loves to carry around, a lady bug and a fire truck one in particular. He has a deep affinity for the bathroom, and its like he can sense the doors opening and darts for the bathrooms when he can.

Dislikes:  He hates when you try to do anything with his hands. He despises diaper changes. Waiting any amount of time for food.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Wallington Bear, Wally Olly, Waller, Wallace, Wallaby, Butters, Sweet Bean, Stinkerdoodle, Waltie baby, Cutie baby, Sweetie baby, Baby guy, and Baby Walter.

Milestones: We have a walker! He took his first steps on Christmas, and now he is practically running. He can go up and down stairs now, which is terrifying. He started clapping recently too. He says thank you.

Quirks: My favorite quirk is that he hums while he eats. He also likes to burrow his head in your lap. When Tom and I come home from work, he runs to us and tries to climb up to us for a hug.

We parents are:  doing fairly good. Tom was working the evening shift the last couple months, and he just transitioned back to the day shift. I also got quite a bit of time off for the holidays, and I have been working from home all of January. It has been an interesting time with schedules. We have a weekend away planned though now that I am done breastfeeding, so that will be nice for us to have some time together.

Big kids are:  doing pretty good. George started basketball, and it is an experience for us all. George has started getting Wally out of his crib on his own, which is scary but endearing at the same time. Daphne is really coming into her own with school. She also loves Wally so much. They have started nuzzling with each other, and it is so sweet. She really is a little caretaker.

Daisy is: doing great. Wally is her favorite, and they are so cute together. She is still really skiddish, but she is such a great dog.

In case you are curious, here is George at fourteen months and Daphne at fourteen months.

He is so chill, but he does make you work for his approval. It’s so fun to see Wally’s personality really come out!

Walter-12 Months

One whole year. Twelve months of this little boy who has completed our family. He is the dream that I never though would come true. Today is about celebrating all that he has brought to our family and all that is yet to come for him.

Weight:  21 pounds and up to the 37 percentile. Our pediatrician is not concerned about his growth and weight anymore so that was positive to hear.

Health: He did have a double ear infection earlier this month, and we found out today that he has another one. He is cutting his two incisors, so I am sure that is contributing.

Diet: WE MADE IT TO A YEAR WITH NURSING! There were moments this month that I wasn’t sure that we would, but here we are! I decided that I would stop pumping last week and just start the weaning process through the Thanksgiving week since he does not have long nursing sessions. I only nurse him now in the morning and right before bed. I am not sure how long we will do that. Over the last week, he has either done really well nursing or he has had no interest. So we’ll see on that, but honestly it is just a relief to put the pump away. He has about 4 six oz bottles a day. My app says that we have had 108 feedings over this last month, and spent around 15 hours nursing him. I have also pumped 40 times over the month. I did not have this app the first month of his life, so I would estimate that in the last year I have nursed him close to 2300 times, and pumped close to 325 times. We are feeding him 3 “meals” a day, and he is becoming a really good eater. He is eating mostly what we eat at meals without much doctoring for him. His favorite food this month is definitely oranges.

Clothes: He is in size 6-9 month in clothes and size 4 in diapers.

Sleeping:  Bedtime is around 8:30. During the week, I wake him up around 5:30 and do a quick nursing session before putting him back down. Due to school pick up times, his schedule is all over the place. He usually takes at least one nap a day if he sleeps in until around 9. But he can do two naps a day depending on when he actually wakes up. On the weekends, I don’t get him up until closer to 7am.

Likes:  He still loves music, baths, and sticking his hands in Daphne’s mouth. He loves to play with with Daphne in the play kitchen, and is particularly fond of the play pots and pans. He has these little wooden balls that he likes to carry around. He likes to scrunch up cloth in his hands. He also loves to pull and play with my hair while he nurses. He loves doing penguin kisses with me.

Dislikes:  He still does not like it when I leave the room. He does not like to wait on a formula bottle. He can hear when we are making them and screams until we get them to him. He apparently hates balloons, and he had a meltdown when we tried to do our birthday tradition with them in his crib. He hates oatmeal. He also is not fond of you trying to make his hands do things. We have been trying to teach him signs and clap, and he does not want you to do it for him.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Wally Olly, Waller, Wallace, Wallaby, Butters, Sweet Bean, Stinkerdoodle, Waltie baby, Cutie baby, Sweetie baby, Baby guy, and Baby Walter. It’s really gotten out of hand…

Milestones: He is just really moving every where. He started climbing the stairs, and standing in his crib. He is drinking from a sippy cup. He is doing new sounds like “caca” and “gaga.” He also does squats and bounces a lot.He also started cruising across furniture, so I would think that walking is coming soon. He had his first Halloween (as Luigi) and Thanksgiving.

Quirks: My favorite quirk is that he hums while he eats. It is so funny to listen to him during meals. He does downward dog in his crib. He also likes to burrow his head in your lap.

We parents are:  doing pretty good. My world was turned upside down at work due to some structural changes, and I am being challenged in all kinds of ways. But it has been good, I promise. I am learning a lot and being stretched in new areas of the college, so that has been exciting to learn and lean on a new team. I am not sure that there is anything else new, but we are doing good!

Big kids are:  doing alright! At the start of the month, all three were sick at the same time. They both are still so in love with Wally. We had parent teacher conferences this last month, and it was so nice to hear how they are doing at school. Both received compliments about how kind they are to their classmates, which to me means so much more than anything else.

Daisy is: doing amazing. They are really warming up to each other. Within the last week, she has discovered all the food scraps that Wally drops at dinner. She also likes to burrow her head in your lap, so it is super fun when we are all on the floor when Wally and Daisy try to crawl in your lap.

In case you are curious, here is George at twelve months and Daphne at twelve months. I feel like I am going through the roller coaster of emotions with them all turning one all over again!

I think every parent has these moments where they grapple with time and how polarizing it can be. It is a bittersweet day to say goodbye to the baby days, but also I love everything that he is. He has been the perfect calm in the storm.