A Letter to Mark, for His First Birthday

 

 

Dear Marky Mark,

Wow. That year went by fast! I was sitting with Daddy at dinner last night and talking about your birth. Just like that, you were here. And now, just like that, you’re one.

 

Snuggling with Mama at the Ice Castles.

 

You fit into our family seamlessly. You’ve gotten used to being carted around to other activities for the big kids – swim lessons, preschool events, family outings. You go with the flow, which will come in handy later in life. As it does now. Your schedule has always been very laid back – nap when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry – and, thankfully, you have dropped your second nap and lined up your only nap with Luke’s nap. Seamless. Thanks for that.

Every morning you wake up and play a little in your bed until I come in to get you. Sometimes Vicki comes in with me. I sing you the good morning song while I open the curtains and turn off your sound machine and any fussing or crying stops as soon as I walk in. Then you smile and giggle when I pick you up. You’re pretty much always happy if you’re being held.

 

Birthday boy!

 

When we went into your room this morning, we sang Happy Birthday instead and I thought it was kinda funny because you were laying down and not standing up like your older siblings have done in the past. So you decided to start pulling up today on Luke’s ottoman and your music table. I figured you just hadn’t had any inclination to do so before. Just like how you still army crawl instead of hands-and-knees crawl. One day you’re going to change your mind and *snap* that will be that.

 

Oh, I can stand. Standing is easy peasy.

 

Mark, you love talking and repeating after us. The big kids take advantage of that and yell in your face, “Saaaaay VICKI” and “Saaaaay LUCAS” over and over. Your favorite word, though, is “Mama”. I can’t pretend I don’t love that. Just like I love your open mouthed, slobbery kisses and how you say “mmmmmm-wah!” when you kiss me.

Your favorite thing in the world right now is food. All kinds of food. The tricky part at mealtime is keeping enough food on your plate so I can grab a few bites myself, but not so much that you shove it all in your mouth and then gag. Then, if you’re not getting enough attention, you make a gagging, choking cough noise so we look at you, and then you smile. Little joker. You had your first cupcake tonight and loved playing with it and smearing frosting everywhere. Just as it should be.

 

Pink car don't care

 

I think back to the hairy, snuggly little baby from a year ago and look at the adventurous, chatty, funny guy we have now and it’s hard to believe they’re the same boy. You’ve grown and changed so much in just one short year. I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with next.

I love you, my sweet Marky Mark. Happy birthday.

Love,

Mama

XOXOXO

 

 

Mark is Eleven Months Old!

 

It’s so weird to believe that he’s almost a year old already!

 

Hiya!

 

Mark is rapidly becoming a big kid. He still doesn’t crawl on his hands and knees, but don’t believe for a second that that slows him down. He is the master of the army crawl and can get everywhere he needs to go powered solely by his left arm, right arm and both legs dragging. He is not particularly interested in trying to crawl on his hands and knees, nor moving himself into a sitting position, nor pulling up. He is content to scoot and drag and roll everywhere and get into anything and everything he can find on the floor. *Since I started writing this last week, he has learned to climb up the step from our sunken living room into our kitchen. So much for containment!

 

The ball was to bribe him to stay still. It didn't really work.

 

He is a HUGE fan of eating. Food is his best friend. He eats absolutely everything I have put in front of him, and attempts to eat any scrap of paper or napkin or toy he may find. OF COURSE this coincides with Vicki’s obsession with beads, so I am constantly on high alert to make sure he doesn’t try and eat any of her beads. It does come in handy whenever I have to give him medicine because he thinks it’s food so he sucks it right down.

 

I tried to get a picture with the monkey and he kept pushing it behind him.

 

Mark has added “Mama”, “Dada”, “DeeDee” (Vicki), “Nana” (for banana), and “Uh-oh” to his vocabulary, bringing the grand total of words up to 6. The other morning, I walked in to get him and as soon as he saw me, he cried out, “MAMAMAMAMA!!” It was adorable and I melted into a big puddle of goo.

Mark got a bad cold at the beginning of February that turned into croup that turned into an overnight stay in the hospital. He was sent home with steroids after showing lots of improvement overnight and charming all of the nurses with his toothy smile. I’m hoping it’s something he will grow out of so we don’t have to do that ever again.

 

Monkey nose. <3

 

Likes: Eating, blueberries, strawberries, being worn, being carried, dragging himself all around the floor, playing with the bolt covers of the toilet, trying to grab toys from his big siblings, attempting to roll off the changing table, nursing, pulling hair, smiling, being tickled, blowing raspberries, peek-a-boo, the cat, his siblings.

Dislikes: Waiting to be fed, getting scolded for biting me, teething, getting his nose wiped (OH THE SCREAMING), the nebulizer, when people leave the room.

 

We got to put the legs back on the music table!

 

At 11 months, Mark:

  • Wears size 18 month onesies and pjs, but size 12 month pants. Fortunately, I have bins and bins of clothes from his brother and cousins, so we have lots of variety over the sizes and seasons to outfit him well.
  • Has 7 teeth and is working on #8. He had only the bottom 2 for months and then suddenly got the top 4 all in one week. Now he has a lovely, toothy grin.
  • Sleeps well most nights. He goes down around 8-8:30 and I don’t hear from him until 7am or so. It’s GLORIOUS.
  • Takes 1-2 naps a day, depending on if we’re home in the morning and how late he woke up.
  • Wakes up in the mornings smiling and laughing and thrilled to see whoever goes in to get him.
Nine month stats:
  • Height: 29.5″
  • Weight: 20lb 3oz
  • Head Circumference: 48cm

Now I’m off to plan a 1st birthday party, but in a stroke of genius, I’m planning it for him and Luke so it won’t be until May. Thus I can remain in denial that my baby is going to be one.

Mark is Eight Months Old!

Where did my baby go?

 

Hey Monkey, long time no see.

 

Mark is acting like such a big kid. He can do so many fun things, and he is a very happy baby. All you have to do is smile at him to get a smile right back. He’s very ticklish and has the best baby giggles.

 

This was his reaction to Luke walking into the room. LOVE.

 

Mark got his first two teeth, the bottom front two, right after Thanksgiving. He was a fussy drooly mess and then one popped out, followed shortly by the other. Judging by the amount of drool we’re currently dealing with, more teeth are coming soon.

 

DROOOOOOL!

 

It’s a good thing Mark has teeth now because he’s started eating real food! His first food was butternut squash when he was 6 months old and we haven’t looked back. Mark LOVES food – he hasn’t met a thing he doesn’t like. He will sit at the table and eat for at least an hour, only pausing from the constant shoveling of food into his food-hole to let you know his tray is empty. He consistently will eat his entire plate and then the leftovers from Vicki or Luke’s meal. Or both. Last night he ate two chicken thighs and about 2 cups of butternut squash. I think he has a hollow leg.

 

Oh, hai. Just sitting up over here.

 

Thanks to all that food (and milk!), Mark has a *ahem* solid base to sit upon and he can sit up quite nicely now. He still falls over when he gets excited, and he tips himself over if he wants to start moving. The current form of locomotion is rolling. He can kind of direct himself to roll towards toys and he only stops when he reaches a wall. He has recently been getting up on his hands and knees, so crawling isn’t too far off. I’m perfectly content with my (mostly) stationary baby for the time being.

Mark said his first word on November 1. We were all laying in bed snuggling and Cory said, “Hi” to him. Mark replied, “Hi!” clear as day. He’s said it a few times since then and I’ve also caught “Mama” once or twice. Most of the time he just squawks or babbles. He will also mimic the sounds and intonations of your voice. It’s super cute.

 

What's this thing on my shirt?

 

Likes: FOOD, Mama, Dada, the jumperoo, the noggin stick, chewing on things, broccoli, steak, chicken, yogurt, Luke, Vicki, being tickled, the Boba, peek-a-boo, bath time.

Dislikes: Being in the carseat too long, dogs (we’re working on it), when the cat tries to steal your food, when your brother steals your food, when your tray is empty, pretty much anything that stops you from eating, when Mama puts you down for too long, when you roll into a wall.

 

Blargh!

 

At eight months, Mark:

  • Wears size 12 month clothes. He was in 9 month clothes from 5-7 months and I stretched that as long as possible so he could wear Christmas pjs on Christmas morning. Now he’s in 12 months onesies & pjs and 6-12 month/9 month pants.
  • Can sit, but only if you put him in that position.
  • Rolls all over the place. He’s a rolling machine. Not really doing any army crawling yet.
  • Sleeps in a sleep sack, on his belly. Every night I put him down on his back and he rolls onto his belly. All my kids are belly sleepers. Weirdos.
  • Is currently being sleep trained because Mama isn’t interested in being awake from 2:30-4:30am.
  • Has had two haircuts to get rid of the crazy hippie shaggy look. His hair has grown in much lighter than what he was born with. I predicted on the day he was born that he’d go light and it’s totally coming true.

Six month stats:

  • Height: 28.25″ (93%)
  • Weight: 16lbs 6oz (24%)
  • Head Circumference: 45.5cm

Mark is Five Months Old!

 

I totally missed the four month post, as we were on the beach. It was worth it.

 

Mark was a big fan of the beach.

 

Four and five months blend together a lot anyway. Mark has started rolling first front to back, then back to front a week or so later. He now sleeps on his belly about half the time, even though he gets put down on his back every night. Speaking of sleeping, he finally moved out of our room at the end of August.

 

Look how big I am!

 

Lucky #3 got spoiled with 2 extra months in Mommy & Daddy’s room due in part to exhaustion and a chest cold. Mark has laryngomalacia, which is when the cartiledge in the larynx is soft and collapses over the airway during inhalation. Basically it means he’s a really noisy breather and he will most likely grow out of it. He’s already much quieter than he used to be, so we are confident that he will not need any medical intervention to correct the issue. When he had that chest cold, however, he would often gasp loudly for air if he got worked up when he was crying, so we kept him close by so we could keep that from happening.

 

The long hair has since been trimmed. It was out of control.

 

It’s very cool to watch Mark grow and learn how to do things. He now reaches for toys and grasps things like rattles, the mirror on his playmat, and Vicki’s hair. He can sit in the bumbo and once even managed to dive out of said bumbo. Mark likes the jumperoo and no longer needs a step beneath him to reach the ground. He loves to grab the toys dangling from the handle of his car seat. His disposition in the car has greatly improved, partly because he can now play and partly because the weather has cooled. If he starts crying, I can usually just blast the air in his face and he calms down. Poor little sweaty man.

 

Always a smile.

 

One of my favorite things about Mark is is his smile. If you smile at him, he smiles back. He’s just a happy guy. We practice sitting up, but when he smiles, he arches his back and loses his balance. The kid smiles with his entire body.

 

 

Stats from Mark’s four month appointment:

  •  Height: 2’2″ (76%)
  • Weight: 13lb 12oz (17%)
  • Head circumference: 43.2cm (66%)

 

Baby side eye

 

At five months, Mark:

  • Wears size 3-6 and 6 month clothes. 6 month pjs and onesies, 3-6 month pants. As per usual, he’s long and skinny.
  • Chatters a TON. We call it “blarghing” because that’s the best representation of the noise he makes.
  • Adores his big brother and sister. He lights up when they come see him, grabs onto them when they hug him, and slimes them when they lean in for a kiss.
  • Is teething like crazy, but no teeth yet. He tries to shove both fists in his mouth simultaneously and drools like a faucet.

Knuckle sandwich, anyone?

Luke’s Train Quilt

 

The Dude has an obsession. An obsession with trains. So when I went to make him a quilt, there was only one option.

 

CHOO CHOO! (Fabric is Scoot by Riley Blake.)

 

This fabric is perfection as it has a ton of trains, trucks, helicopters, wagons, backhoes, etc. I had to teach myself appliqué to make this, but the look on Luke’s face was worth it. He kept shouting out, “NAIN! Mommy, NAIN! Nain a-boose! Nain cah! Nain cah! Nain N-GIN!!!”

 

Quilted details for the track, connections between trains, and smoke coming out of the smokestack. (Quilting by http://www.citymausquilter.us/)

 

He asks to sleep with it every night. “Nain blanket, mommy?” That and 4-6 different train cars, obviously. My work here is done.

 

Handmade tag, signed <3 Mommy on the reverse side.

 

He may be middle-childed every now and again, but he’s the first one to have a quilt made by Mommy. So it all balances out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to my Daughter, for her Fourth Birthday

To my shining star,

I would have written this yesterday, but I was busy. From the moment I opened my eyes to see yours inches from my nose to the moment we fell asleep holding hands, yesterday was full. Full of smiles and giggles, playing and snuggling, presents and candles and cupcakes. No time for writing, so it had to wait for today.

 

Playing on the beach in Chatham.

 

Four years ago you were born and made me a mommy. It seems like it’s been longer that we’ve known each other. You feel that way, too, and cried when you realized you weren’t at our wedding. Sorry, baby. Time is a funny thing.

Vicki, you are such a sweet and crazy girl. You’re the best big sister ever and love to teach Luke new songs and games you learned at school. You love to hold hands with Mark and give him toys so he doesn’t cry because “Marky crying gives [you] headaches.” You have no problems sharing me with your brothers, probably because personal space is a foreign concept to you.

 

IMG_8252.JPG

How we eat breakfast most days.

 

You’re an old pro at preschool this year. You were so excited to go back and see all your friends and teachers. When I picked you up a few weeks ago, you proudly introduced me to every kid that walked by us. It about made me burst with happiness. Your listening skills have greatly improved, although we still need to do time outs occasionally – like when you dropped stickers in my coffee yesterday morning. Don’t mess with mama’s coffee, ok? It’s just not right.

Vicki, you’re so independent and confident in yourself. You’re not afraid to challenge anyone when you think they’re wrong and you’re correct. I remember one day you wanted to color on your whiteboard with crayons and Daddy told you that we don’t use crayons on whiteboards. You insisted, over and over, that these were special crayons, and you were right. We are so proud that you stand up for yourself. Remember to always do that.

 

MOM! No more pictures!

 

You make us laugh every day and say Lucas is your best friend. You always want to hold my hand and sit next to me on the couch. You invent concoctions with your food and never eat them. You set Luke up to get in trouble and then sit with him in time out. You sneak into our bed in the middle of the light like a snuggle ninja. You carry around all of your possessions in backpacks, purses, your pockets, and your arms – random things like old keys and my honor society charm from college. You emphatically state that you “ba-hate zucchini!” but eat broccoli raw. Every night at bedtime, you tell me “goodnight, my darling flower princess key crown wand” – the nickname you made up for me – after you tell me you love me better than Christmas trees, water parks, and jungle gyms. Best compliments ever.

My sweet girl, I love you better than Christmas trees, water parks, and jungle gyms. You are my favorite Victoria.

 

Love & kisses,

Mommy

XOXOXO

First Day of Preschool, 2014

 

So excited for her first day!

 

This year was pretty smooth. Everything was the same – same preschool, same teacher, same friends. Nothing to really be nervous about, but there were a few moments of nerves anyway. Yesterday, over grilled cheese and tomato soup, I told Vicki I’m really going to miss her while she’s at school. She got a little choked up and said, “I’m really going to miss you, too, mommy.”

 

Those shoes? Rainbow stars. Obviously.

 

Of course, this morning is the only day this week that she slept past 7am, so I had to go in and haul her out of bed. She later told me that she was so excited about school that she couldn’t sleep last night.

 

Look, I'm holding the sign, too! Wait, why are you guys laughing?

 

Poor Luke wanted to go to school so badly, too. When we went to orientation last week, he was so excited. “Schoo! Plee! Dudas! Too?” Buddy was disappointed today when I drove off with Vicki and he didn’t get to come. Next year, dude.

 

Vicki was done with pictures...

 

until Cory told her she'd get ice cream tonight if she smiled.

When I dropped Vicki off, I got an extra long hug, and then I hightailed it out of there before we both got emotional. No crying for anyone this year.

 

All the kids!

 

I promised her cake pops after school so we’re going to swing by Starbucks and have ourselves a few moments together. I’m so excited for her to learn and grow this year!

Mark is Three Months Old

 

Hello, everybody!

 

Still technically three months. For a few more days. I’m rolling with it. Not Goose, though. He still doesn’t roll. Not sure if this is because he doesn’t want to or because his tummy time is limited so I can make sure his older siblings don’t tackle him. They’re not trying to be mean, they just want to play with him like they play with each other.

 

Smiles for everyone!

 

Remember when I said Mark was stoic? I think he found his smile. Perhaps he just hadn’t gotten the hang of it yet, because now he smiles CONSTANTLY. He wakes up smiling, babbling, and cooing. He has totally found his voice and jabbers on all the time.

 

This picture. I cannot stop laughing.

 

I finally moved him to his own room this past week. He was a very spoiled little boy and got to sleep in our room for almost 2 months longer than the other two. I’ve been meaning to move him for a while, but then I got sick, and then he got sick, and then I wanted to finish up his room so I didn’t have to decorate it when he was already sleeping in there. Team Green strikes again.

 

I'm bigger (and hairier!) than the monkey!

 

This month, Mark got to experience babysitters! We left him before for a few hours but he always slept the entire time we were gone. Now he gets stuck at home with the other two when Mommy and Daddy go out on the town. (aka have dinner and a conversation, then putz around to make sure we get home after bedtime) Mark has had no issues taking bottles and he charms everyone he meets. He’s also now old enough to go to the gym playroom and every time I go back to pick them up, he’s being held. Such a ladies’ man.

 

He still does the froggy legs all the time. <3

 

His night sleep has been pretty good, save for a few off nights here and there. He usually gets up once to eat and then wakes up for the day around 5:30-6. There were a couple of nights where he slept through and that was amazing. I don’t really mind the once-a-night wakeups, it’s the thrice-a-night that kill me.

 

So charming.

 

At three months, Marcus:

  • Wears 6 month clothes. I waited too long to move him up and pretty much skipped the entire 3-6 month size. I blame summer and the lack of footie pjs and/or pants. Although 3 month pants are too short and 6 month pants are too big in the waist, so it’ll be babylegs for the foreseeable future.
  • Still naps exclusively in the swing, with no plans to change that. If it ain’t broke…
  • Has been introduced to the Bumbo and loves having a new perspective on the world. He will spend a good 15-20 minutes in there just looking around and watch Vicki & Luke play.

 

This is my new favorite picture in the history of ever.

Mark is Two Months Old!

I wrote this a few weeks back and took the pictures in June, but finally put them together tonight! Good thing, too, since he’ll be three months this week!

 

I say it all the time to people who ask – Mark is a really good baby.

 

Woohoo! 2 months!!

 

He hates being hot or being left alone (ie put down while I shower/pee/care for the other children), but other than that, he’s a happy kiddo. He is in love with his swing and takes epic naps in it almost every day. He’s most awake in the evenings once the other kids are in bed, and we play and do tummy time, then snuggle before I go to bed. He’s still sleeping in our room in the co sleeper, and sleeps swaddled for 4-6 hour stretches. Last week when we stayed in a hotel and he slept in bed with me, he slept for 8 hours straight. Really. Good. Baby.

 

Baby power!

This month, Mark has started to smile. He make a cute little baby noise (goo!) and then contort his face into a smile. It’s positively adorable. He’s mostly stoic, but when he smiles, he lights up the room.

 

A hint of a smile.

 

Mark loves to look at fun things like lights and ceiling fans. He doesn’t look at people much because he’s too busy looking at everything else! His eyes aren’t blue and they aren’t brown – they’re somewhere in between. Kind of grayish. I don’t know what color they will end up.

 

Why so serious?

 

One of his favorite things is a nice warm bath. I put the baby tub on my bathroom counter and he likes to look at himself in the mirror while I bathe him. He does not like it when I wash his hair in the sink and screams like I’m water boarding him. To be fair, one time I did get water in his nose so that was probably unpleasant.

 

Two little monkeys.

 

Mark does not like his car seat, but LOVES air conditioning. I have to blast it in the mini van to keep him happy (and close the vents over the other kids so they don’t get cold). And since he doesn’t like being hot, he enjoys the pool. I wear him in a water sling and dip his toes into the water.

 

Tummy time!

 

At two months, Marcus:

  • Weighs 10lbs, 6oz (26%)
  • Is 23.75″ tall (85%)
  • Has a head circumference of 39.7cm (50%)
  • Wears 0-3 month clothes, almost exclusively onesies and rompers because it is so hot all the time.
  • Likes: Mommy, boobs, Daddy, Vicki, Luke, A/C, the swing, clean diapers, baths.
  • Dislikes: Heat, humidity, the car seat, when I can’t pick him up immediately, eating too fast and throwing up, when I take a shower.

Marcus is starting to develop a personality and interact with us! It’s getting a little more interesting!

A Letter to my Dude, on His Second Birthday

Dear Lucas,

Well, that escalated quickly. This time last year you were still a little guy, not even walking, just saying a few words. Now you’re a big brother, climbing everything, getting into all sorts of trouble, and with opinions on everything. This past year you’ve turned into such a person –  and a really fun person at that.

Luke, you’re a really sweet little dude. You are quick to give hugs and say “sorry” when you make a mistake. You give really good kisses – sounds kinda awkward to say, but it’s true. Sometimes you get goofy and won’t stop kissing me while I sing you your lullabies, laughing the entire time. Your laughter is infectious, and music to my ears. I like to tickle you just to hear your giggles.

You love your brother and sister so much. Every morning, when you wake up at the crack of dawn, you ask for them first. “Dickie? Baby?” and you get excited when you see them. When Mark cries, you try to help and give him his binkie. Whenever you see me without Mark, you ask where he is and/or look down my shirt to see if I’m wearing him. Jealousy is something that has never even entered your mind.

At the playground, you try everything you see the other kids doing. You usually need help the first few times, but then you’ll do it by yourself. It’s enough to give me heart palpitations sometimes. You are fearless when it comes to climbing things, but don’t like the slides quite as much. At our playground at home, you sometimes like to climb up the rock wall and climb down the ladder instead of using the slide. You also like to climb on the back of our couch and tell yourself, “Get down!” Then you giggle. You’re quite the little jokester. Every morning I ask you what you want for breakfast and you reply, “Chicken, french fries?” just to make me laugh. It works, every time.

Luke, you’ve grown so much in the past year, but never so much as in the 36 hours when I was in the hospital having your brother. You have always tried to keep up with the big kids and lately, you succeed. You want to do everything your big sister and cousins do. You’re growing so fast and learning so much. I am so excited to see what you’ll do next and so proud to be your mommy.

I love you so very much, my dude.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

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