January 10, 2015

Dear Hattie, 4 months

Dear Hattie,

It was a year ago today that we laid eyes on you for the first time. You were just a little blob with a tiny heartbeat. It was the most beautiful sight for your mom and dad who had spent the previous 2 weeks thinking you were gone.

We moved 17 days before you were born.  This is not something that I would recommend to anyone.  We decided to move in May . . . thinking that we'd actually do the moving when you were a few months old.  But sometimes things just don't go as planned.  I was so worried that you'd be born before we were into our new house.  Thanks for holding out.

I spent a lot of time this summer feeling sorry for myself.  And for you.  I wanted to be putting together a nursery for you, like I did for your siblings.  Instead, I was packing our house up and putting everything in storage.  I wanted to be shopping for you, but instead we were shopping for a new house. I wanted to be sitting with my feet up and my hands on my belly, just feeling you kick and enjoying my last weeks of carrying a child.  Instead, I was living in a small trailer with three children who don't like to relax as much as I do, and then painting and arranging furniture.  I wanted to be all ready for you so that when you arrived, you'd come into a peaceful, put together home.  Instead, we were shopping for furniture when you were 4 days old.

Do you know what?  You don't seem to care one bit.  You don't care that you're living out of your mom and dad's room because your room wasn't ready.  In fact, I think you kind of like it.  And I kind of do, too.  Your siblings all started out in their rooms from the beginning, so you have the privilege of being the only one to shack up with mom and dad for the first few months.

You're such a smiley baby.  The corners of your mouth start to turn up a split second before you actually smile and I think that's my favorite part of playing with you. I can see it coming and have that moment of anticipation before seeing your pretty smile.

You're the fourth child, so there will naturally be less of a lot of things.  I have less time.  I have less energy.  Your baths will be less frequent. I'll remember your tummy time less often. Your letters will probably be shorter and fewer than those of your siblings.

But there will be more of things, too.  You have more family to love you than your siblings did.  You have more chances to see how they do things and learn from their accomplishments and mistakes.  You have more protectors and advocates.  You have more people trying to make you smile and comforting you when you cry.  You have two parents who know WAY more about what they're doing than they did with your brothers.  I really do think the "more" can make up for the "less."

One thing I want to make sure that you know is that you are not any less loved because you're the fourth.  You, my sweet Hattie, are exceptional. We take such delight in you.  We couldn't love you more than we do!

We will never be able to express our love for you perfectly, but we will spend our lives trying to point you to the One who does.  You were so meant to be.


January 6, 2015


We are done having babies. I can say that definitively. Four's our limit and Hattie will be my very last pregnancy. Jack always likes to remind us that this is what we said after Claire was born, but we changed our minds back then. This time, we've left no room for mind changing. I won't go into detail, but we've taken care of it.

On a totally unrelated note, if you see Kyle moving at his own pace for a little while, just leave him alone.

Last week, during the days leading up to . . . well . . . our done-ness, I was a little weepy.  I still blame the postpartum hormones (I think I'll be blaming postpartum hormones for years to come). It's emotional to think about my childbearing years coming to an end. I didn't really enjoy being pregnant all that much, but even I can come up with things that I loved about it. On the morning before Hattie was born, I sat still and felt her little arms stretch and her feet push back and forth against my side. I just closed my eyes and tried to memorize it, knowing that this would be the last time that I'd feel a little one squirming inside of me. I watched my belly move as she rolled her little bottom from one side to the other. What an absolute miracle it is to grow a person. I get all teary just talking about it.

For these reasons, I think it's okay for me to be sad. It doesn't mean I've changed my mind. It's kind of like high school graduation, you know? It was a good time of my life, and I was really emotional about leaving it behind, but I definitely don't want to go back and do it again.

Almost 10 years ago I was told that getting pregnant would be difficult and it was. It took us time and a lot of money to get pregnant that first time, so it's still hard for me to believe that I have four children. Four. If I'm being honest, it makes me feel a little bit guilty, too. But that's a post for another time.

So, here's the plan: I'm going to soak up the months of babyhood that Hattie has left, and I'm going to brave the toddler/preschool years that both Claire and Hattie have ahead of them. I'll enjoy those stages as much as I possibly can. I will be careful not to wish them away.  BUT. I will still look forward to the next stage and I won't cling to the last.

I love being able to have deeper conversations with Jack and Ben and I'm looking forward to being able to do that with the girls, too. I welcome the idea of having four kids who can entertain themselves for longer than 10 minutes, tie their own shoes, put themselves back to sleep at 3 AM and play games that all of us can enjoy. Perhaps we'll have a ceremonial burning of Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry-O.

Sure, there will be new and different challenges as they all get older, and I'm certain to have plenty of "I wish I could just go back to when they were babies" moments, but I'll welcome the next stage with open arms.

January 4, 2015

We have no idea

A year ago today, we were about to be snowed in. We all kind of expected it, but we didn't know how bad it would be. We thought it was the last day of Christmas break. We had no idea that Christmas break would last another entire week because of snow and cold . . . a week I will always refer to as "the longest week in the history of mankind."

A year ago this evening, we did a make-your-own pancake bar with the kids and I smiled and laughed with my kids for the first time in over a week. I was coming off of about 10 of the worst days I've ever had and had finally accepted what I believed to be the loss of my pregnancy. I was anxious to get to my appointment at the hospital the next day because I hadn't yet miscarried. I was so nauseated and just wanted the whole thing to be over. We had no idea that we'd get stuck in in the snow in front of our house the next day and wouldn't make our appointment because the plows didn't come on time. We couldn't have known that we'd have to wait another whole week before we could get a new appointment.

I wouldn't have believed you if you'd told me that the appointment we had a week later would show a 8-week old embryo (named Hattie) with a strong heartbeat.

It's amazing how much has changed in the last year.

Last Christmas, it never crossed our minds that it was our last year to celebrate with Kyle's Grandpa Luke. A year ago, we had no plans to move to a new town. We had no idea that our house would sell in a week, and no clue that we'd live in a trailer for a few weeks since we would close on the sale of our old house before we could close on the sale of our new house.

We wouldn't have been able to fathom how emotional it would be to say goodbye to our old house . . . the one we'd occupied and built our family in for 10 years. We were also completely unaware of how much stuff we actually owned.

We didn't know that I'd go into labor right on my due date and deliver a healthy little girl on Kyle's birthday, just 17 days after getting the keys to our new home.  The weeks that we brought Hattie home, we painted, unpacked boxes, managed Claire, and sent Jack and Ben off to their first days of school and preschool.  These weeks were unbelievably hard, and we were stunned by the outpouring of meals and help by our friends and new neighbors. A year ago, we never could have painted the picture of what our lives would look like in September through December of 2014.

2014 was a very good year, but right from the very beginning it was full of surprises. One thing that I'm sure of? We have no idea what surprises 2015 will bring, but God is always faithful.

January 2, 2015

A few posts about Claire . . .

Facebook has become my "mini-blog."  Anecdotes and quotes seem to wind up there.  Here are a few about Claire from the last few months.

"Dear Jesus, thank you for my whole life. Help me not be sassy so Mama's head will stop hurting. Amen."


Jack: OK, let's play the game where no one talks, and the first one to talk is out.
Claire: I TALKED!
Jack: No, we haven't started yet, but you have to be . . .
Claire: I TALKED!
Jack: No, you're not supposed . . .
Claire: I'M TALKING!


Claire calls Hattie "Baby McBaberson." She refers to the rest of us as just "Baberson." What will she be like when she's 13, I wonder?


I have to confess, that when I was helping her try on her new Elsa costume on tonight, I choked up at the thought of someday helping her get into a wedding dress. Is 4 months too long to still be blaming postpartum hormones? I do hope, however, that her wedding dress isn't closed in the back with Velcro tabs.


When Claire turns 3 next week, leaving the terrible twos behind her, she'll magically become more easy going and cooperative, right? RIGHT?


Claire's pretty insistent that "the little George Jesus" lays down his sweet head.


Chicago traffic seems to move 10x slower when your 2-year-old is trying to hold it.

These two both had well visits today. One did really, really well. The other started out screaming and ended by giving the doctor a very, very detailed description of every single one of her bowel movements for the last 4-5 days. Fun times.


Remote control light switches are all fun and games until the sun goes down and the 2-year-old can't remember where she put the remote.


Claire just asked if we could go to Starbucks for a "grande caffiene." Heaven help me.


In the parking lot at Home Depot, Claire screamed, "you never let me do anything dangerous, Mom!" At least she's paying attention