Lindsay Sledge

a blog about life with Micah, Denver, Everett, and Presley the dog

3 Year Letter to Denver

Dear Denver,

I am so excited to be writing this letter to you, because it’s time to celebrate your third birthday! You have been so pumped, telling everyone you see that you’ll be three on August 6th, and holding up three fingers, so proud of yourself. Being your mom is an absolute joy and delight, and this year has rocked.

You are so big now! You potty trained easily right after your second birthday, moved to a big boy bed a third of the way through the year, and seem like such a legit kid now, less of a toddler. I don’t even know where to begin recapping this year because it’s been so full and so fun.

Let’s start with your love for people. You are delighted when we go places and when people come to visit. Each day you ask me, “What are we gonna do today?” Whether we’re visiting Los, going to the library, meeting friends at the park, or waiting for your grandparents to come over, you spend the entire day seeking out play mates. Once you see others, you run over, start talking, and hold their attention until it’s time for us or them to leave. You recently charmed a hair stylist so much that you got a lollipop and hot wheels car at the end of the hair cut. By the way, you love getting hair cuts and pretending to give hair cuts at home. You make sure your client wears a blanket cape, grab your drill which doubles as a hair dryer, and say, “Don’t be afraid, this will just tickle.” It’s cute and adorable.

Other favorite games include couch cars, where you drive every single one of your hot wheels from one side of the couch to the other, parking them in a straight line, and cheering when you’ve moved them all. Tickle bear is also a hit, where either you or I pretend to be a bear, and we chase each other around growling. You love painting, coloring, and practicing drawing the letter “D.” You also love being active. You can hit a baseball that someone pitches to you so far it goes over the fence. You love riding your scooter, taking walks around the neighborhood, kicking a soccer ball, climbing on playgrounds, and swimming. The swimming is something I am especially proud of because you were so timid a year ago, and now you’re quick to put on your swim vest and get in the pool. Overall, you do things big and fast. You are so fast that a friend told me, at the library, that I should embrace the running because maybe you’ll get a track scholarship. Perhaps all of my chasing you will pay off one day.

Speaking of the library, you have a great love for books. We read before nap time and bedtime, for about 30 minutes straight, and I think you’d read through every book in your dresser if I didn’t cut you off. You love picking out new books at the library, and you have favorites including Curious George, any book about Halloween, and the Bible.

Denver, I love watching your love for God grow in your heart. Every Sunday, you are genuinely excited to go to church. You recently memorized your first memory verse, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:1). You can sing “Jesus Loves Me,” “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” and “My God Is So Big.” One night, you even told your Bible stories to an unbelieving friend who was over, and it was as if you were evangelizing. I pray that you will continue to grow in knowledge of the Lord and that one day you will choose to follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

One of the most special things about you is your love for music. When you hear songs on Alexa aka “Lex,” you can pick out which instruments are playing and mimic playing them yourself. You dance, rather jubilantly, in the kitchen, and you tell us that you are break dancing. You also entertain us with songs on your guitar, most notably Brad Paisley’s “Mr. Policeman,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Theme,” and “Paw Patrol Theme.” A good portion of each day is spent in the kitchen dancing side by side with your brother, Everett, and this brings me so much joy.

You love “lil Evie” and really are a terrific big brother. You greet him in his crib in the mornings and say, “Hi, cute lil Evs. You are so cute and lil.” Whenever you grab your milk out of the fridge, you also grab some for Everett. You’ve gotten really good at sharing, even when it’s hard, and you often make sure Ev is ok, checking on him when he’s crying or out of sight. You give him gentle hugs, make silly sounds that are specific to the two of you, and laugh hysterically at each other’s antics. I’ll be honest, you do tend to plow Everett to the ground more than I’d like, but I think it’s out of a desire to wrestle.

Some of my favorite moments this year have been listening to you speak. One day you ran to tell me, “I love you, best friend mom.” Another day I said I couldn’t believe I had two sweet boys, and you said, “And we have you, sweet mom.” You are so encouraging, thanking Dad and me for making dinner, cleaning the house, and taking you places. You also lift everyone up when we’re struggling, telling us that it’s ok to make mistakes and cheering Everett on when he’s learning something new. One of the more hilarious moments was when you were having a bad attitude one night and Dad threatened to throw away your beloved gummy bears. You, my strong-willed, determined child, looked back at him and said, “Guess you just throw them away…also my goldfish too.” When Dad threw them away, you didn’t even bat an eye. It was impressive and hilarious.

I want to remember your favorite things, so here is a list, in no particular order. Your favorite shows are Superwings and Paw Patrol. Your favorite color changes daily but is often yellow. Your favorite thing to do is go to the zoo to see the animals, followed closely by playing baseball. Jets Pizza is still your favorite food, and sweet tea is still your favorite drink. You want to be a race car driver for Halloween, your favorite holiday, and a fireman when you grow up.

Denver, my sweet baby boy, I am so grateful that God gifted your Dad and me the privilege of being your parents. You are an incredibly kind-hearted and creative boy, and each day I am overjoyed that you are part of our family. Please stay as joyful, willful, and beautiful as you are now. Truly, we love you exactly as God made you.

Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet Denver Josiah. You are so loved.

Love,

Mama

That Kid

I am mom to that kid: the boy who is a bit bigger, a bit louder, and a bit more unruly than other kids his age. He is my joy and delight (he, and his little brother, of course). He made me work ridiculously hard during the first four months of his life, with sleepless nights and colic, but we powered through. He learned to walk and talk and run and shout, always a bit earlier than his peers, and he became much happier with his newfound freedom and ability to communicate.

He’s almost three now, and I’ve settled into motherhood for the most part. I know my sweet boy, and he knows me. Our relationship is built on love and trust. It’s a relationship that I am proud of, because it has taken time and attention to cultivate. We both yell at times, because we have big feelings. We both apologize often, and the hugs strengthen our bond. I know that the seasons come and go, some full of calm and cooperation, and others full of crying and hysterics. I also know how important it is for me to remain steady while adapting new parenting strategies to care for such a bright and opinionated little boy.

The new season we’ve entered is one of defiance, and I have not yet figured out how to adjust my parenting to his needs. He uses the word “sneaking” and blatantly chooses to run off when I ask him to stay. Public outings are especially hard with a one-year-old brother in tow, who has his own needs and desires, and also a bit of the strong will that my oldest champions.

Today at the library, we had a rough day. My oldest ran through the building as soon as we entered, laughing hysterically because he thought it was a game. The librarian gave me a reproachful look, and I told her I’d handle it. I needed to use the restroom, and that created a power struggle, because he wanted to play trains. While playing trains, baby brother pooped, and we had to go back to the bathroom for a diaper change. I literally had to drag him across the floor with his brother in my arms while other parents watched. Then, when story time for the one-year-olds began, he wanted to stand on the bench and look out the window, which the librarian asked him not to do. I wish she’d just let him look out the window, because he was happy and not disrupting anyone. Once he got down from the bench, though, he decided to run as fast as he could around the room, circling all the families, and being incredibly disruptive. Nothing I said deterred him. Finally, after another reproachful look from the librarian, I picked up our bags, his brother, and marched through the middle of story time in order to intercept him and drag him, kicking and screaming, out of the library. As we walked to the car, and he was wailing, people watched us and even commented that someone was having a bad day. At this point, I started to cry. We were all having a bad day.

I texted my friend after the outing, for a bit of encouragement, and also to share the embarrassment I was feeling. She sent me kind words, and it was helpful to share the feelings with someone else instead of ruminating on them alone. I talked to my oldest, told him I loved him, and asked him to think about ways he can listen and obey better next time, so that instead of leaving, we can stay. I held my youngest in my arms and read him many books when we got home to make up for the books we missed at story time.

What else can I say? I wish the librarian had been more understanding and used her words and authoritative position to help engage my son rather than wishing him away. I wish another parent had offered me some help or even a knowing smile as I carried 50 pounds of upset children, books, and a diaper bag to the car.

However, as embarrassing and frustrating as the situation was, I don’t wish these moments away. It’s these hard moments that God will use to grow my children and me. These moments teach my children that they are loved, regardless of their actions. They also learn that there is a time and place for certain behaviors. They learn that grownups get upset, just like they do, and that we all have to work on patience and putting others first. I feel as if I am being sharpened by iron each day, specifically in the practice of gentleness and faithfulness, such needed characteristics in caring for children.

I would not trade my strong-willed child for anything. I marvel at his determination and creativity, traits that make the days highly entertaining, even if draining. He is smart, hilarious, and beautifully intentional. He loves with his whole heart, and I can literally feel his feelings, whether he is incredibly happy or sad. I’m still learning how to parent him well in each new stage that arrives, because once I think I’ve figured him out, he changes again. Each change brings new abilities and a deeper relationship, though, so it’s always so worth it once we make it through the tough part.

In the meantime, when I see another mom with “that kid,” I will tell her she’s doing a great job. I will encourage her to keep her head up. I might even give her a hug. These tough little ones are incredible gifts, and it takes incredible strength and endurance to parent them well.

12 Month Letter to Everett

Dear Everett,

Happy first birthday my darling baby boy! I cannot believe that it’s been a year since I first held you in my arms. I remember the first moments snuggling with you on my chest as if it were yesterday, and I am so very thankful for this past year.

The last month has been full of surprises because you have learned so many new skills. For instance, you now dance standing up. When you do, it looks like you are completing mini squats over and over again. You also wave and blow kisses, but you will only blow kisses to me! I secretly don’t mind, but I think Dad would be delighted if you’d send him some kisses soon. You also think it’s hilarious to laugh, and you tilt your head back laughing louder and louder as I laugh with you. It’s hilarious to watch!

This month, you also cut two more teeth, for a total of six in your first year! You definitely have some big teeth like your mama, and your smile lights up any room you’re in. Keep smiling, little buddy, and keep getting those teeth!

You’d think with only six teeth, you would have trouble chewing table food, but no, you’re officially weaned from baby food and loving life! We’ve discovered that you have an incredible appetite. For breakfast, you are the only one at the table who gets cereal, fruit, cheese, and eggs, and it’s because you will eat it all! I was unsurprised to see that you grew so much at your one year checkup, because the calories had to be going somewhere!

Speaking of checkups, you have got to be more careful. Little Evs, you are constantly getting head injuries. Now that you’re comfortable walking, you are going faster and faster, running into everything and toppling over at higher speeds. You’ve also developed a penchant for stairs and are unaware that you can fall down them. Good grief!

While I haven’t enjoyed the injuries, I have enjoyed watching you learn to coordinate your movements well enough to kick a soccer ball. You’re always observing Denver at play, and you pick up on things that are well before your time! You seriously found a ball and kicked the ball across the yard, all on your own, and it was impressive. Good work, little buddy!

You finished the year with five words: mama, dad, book, ball and neigh! Not only can you say the words, but if I ask you to find a ball or a book, you know where to go and get them! You can also point to the fan when I ask you where it is! Such a smarty.

We traveled to Virginia this month for Aunt Hannah and Uncle Paul’s wedding! I’m not going to lie: it was challenging. You are a tricky age for travel right now. You were not happy sleeping in a pack in play, you missed all of your toys at home, and to top it off, you were sick. I am glad we got to see the family, but I am also glad we’re back home now. Here’s to hoping traveling is a bit easier next time around.

We finished up your 12th month with a goldfish themed birthday bash! It was so much fun. You enjoyed playing with all your new gifts, trying cake for the first time, and flirting with all your aunts. I’ve always loved birthdays, even more so now that I get to celebrate the births of my sweet boys.

I love you so much little Evs! Your Dad, Denver, and I are so very thankful that you are in our family. You have added so much sweetness and laughter to our home. Happy 12 months!

Love,

Mama

11 Month Letter to Everett

Dear Everett,

You are one month away from the big one and I cannot believe it! As we near your birthday, I feel all the emotions. I’m so thankful for each day with you, somewhat relieved that the baby year is coming to a close, and also missing the days when you were so little that you’d fall asleep in the crook of my arm as I walked you around the house.

This month has been a bit rough because everyone has been sick again. You and I both got a particularly mean stomach bug, and Dad stayed home from work to take care of us. I’m so thankful that we’re on the mend now.

On a brighter note, it’s getting warmer outside, and you are loving exploring the outdoors. You especially love our backyard, full of sticks, mud, and toys that you’re enjoying for the first time. It’s so nice to play outside with you, and I am excited for spring and summer which are just around the corner.

You’ve learned some new tricks this month, such as playing peekaboo and neighing like a horse. Additionally, when you hear music, you sit on the ground and rock back and forth with your feet kicking to the beat. It is ridiculously adorable. I love seeing you get excited when you master new skills, and I’m enjoying the intentional interaction.

In anticipation of your first birthday, Dad and I have been making a list of your favorite things. It includes: toilet paper, the dog water bowl, goldfish crackers, refried beans, and the book Goodnight Gorilla. Dad reads the book to you every night before bed, and you laugh hysterically. Your laughter brings our family such joy, and it’s a very peaceful way to end the days.

Your favorite thing is probably bath time, when you splash, drink water, and giggle with Denver. Dad has been decorating you with letters which you don’t seem to mind.

Lastly, you enjoy wrestling! If anyone is laying on the ground, you come over to tackle them. Denver is your favorite to wrestle, but you sure make the effort with Dad and me whenever you see an opportunity.

Happy 11 months my sweet, growing baby boy. I’m excited to celebrate your first year next month!

Love,

Mama

10 Month Letter to Everett

Dear Everett,

Happy 10 months to my littlest walker! I cannot believe it. A few days ago you started taking steps, and now you are walking halfway across rooms! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!! It’s hilarious, because you are so little and yet so determined. You use anything around you to pull up, and then you take off, typically with a dangerous object in your mouth. I thought this month would be about cruising and learning to steer walkers around corners, which you’ve become quite good at, but you took things a whole step further! Congrats on this walking milestone, Ev. You rock, and your dad and I are so proud of you.

Speaking of your dad, you said “Dad” for the first time this month! He was delighted to hear it, and we’re both hoping you start saying it more consistently soon.

Denver is also pretty excited about your walking. He keeps wanting you to walk towards him, and he cheers you on! Your crawling is especially great now, and the two of you have such fun chasing each other around the house and giggling. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, watching your friendship grow brings me such joy, and I pray that you will continue to become best friends.

I decided at the start of the new year that I wanted to get back into shape, so I signed up for the YMCA. We’ve been going a few times a week, sometimes so that I can run, and other times so that we can all swim together. Since the separation anxiety is still going strong, you do not love playing while I exercise. You do, however, love swimming. You splash and drink water and float calmly, and it’s really a fun way to pass time this winter!

We also finally celebrated your baby dedication at church! You looked so handsome in your yellow shirt and gray jacket, and you were ridiculously calm while up on the stage. When the pastor asked your Dad and me to promise to raise you up as a believer, you shook your head, “No,” and it was hilarious timing. I laughed so hard and was once again reminded how well your middle name suits you.

Everett Isaac, my sweet little boy, Happy 10 months! Your snuggles and laughter and independent personality are a joy, and I delight in being your mom.

Love,

Mama

9 Month Letter to Everett

Dear Everett,

Happy 9 months Evie Bear! This month was full of adventure and new experiences, and you loved every minute of it.

To begin with, you got your two top teeth! You have been a teething machine, chewing on anything and everything and grossing me out! I wasn’t sure if the teeth would make it, but they did, the second showing up on the last day of the month! I am loving your big, toothy smile!

You are now cruising and using anything in your path as a walker, including your walker, little piano, boxes, rocket, and step stool. Seriously, anything that you can move you will move. It’s pretty impressive to watch. You go where you want, and are quite graceful, moving with purpose. It’s interesting to watch you think through behaviors now, and I love your independence.

Speaking of independence, you play so well on your own at home. You love exploring all of the toys in the playroom, particularly when Denver is sleeping, and you move from one object to the next intentionally. You will happily play on your own for long periods of time, come over for a hug, and then go back to playing. It is astounding to me that you are so content to play on your own.

That being said, you have some serious separation anxiety in public. You want to be held close and especially do not like to be left in the church nursery. You cry when I drop you off, cry when I’m gone, and have a complete meltdown when I pick you up. Once you’re in my arms, though, you snuggle in tightly. I am hoping that you grow out of this faze soon, but I do love knowing that you love me so much.

Aunt Los took a vacation day from work and joined us for a day trip to the Chattanooga Aquarium. You slept the entire way to the aquarium and most of the ride home! I couldn’t believe how well you did in the car, particularly since you rarely nap that well at home. At the aquarium, you enjoyed seeing the big fish, and you especially loved the crocodiles. Since it was a rainy day, we had a picnic in the car before heading home, which was really sweet even if a bit cramped. The trip was a fun break from routine, and an exciting adventure for sure.

Speaking of adventures, your Dad scored tickets to a Titans game, and we all went! It was a blast. You were not so sure about the baby headphones, and you were especially not sure about the loud cheering, but it was a fun first half, and you made the cutest little Titans fan.

At the end of the month, we celebrated your first Christmas! You looked so snuggly in your Christmas pajamas. You were a bit too young to enjoy opening gifts, but we all had a fun day at home as a family. Your first Christmas is the first Christmas we’ve spent at home in a long time, and it was a welcome change.

I love you so much, little Ev! Happy 9 months!

Love,

Mama

Everett’s Birth Story

I cannot believe that I am writing my second childbirth story so soon after writing my first. Nine months in, nine months out, the story is now complete. As with my first birth story, I’m not leaving out details, so read at your own risk.

This story starts on my six year wedding anniversary, when Micah and I decided not to get each other presents. We went to dinner at Sopapillas (this will be important later), talked about what a disaster year six had been, and decided to have an awesome year seven. One thing led to another, and two weeks later, we found out that we were pregnant! So much for not getting each other a present.

We were shocked!

My second pregnancy was a bit harder than my first, mainly because I spent the days chasing around a toddler. I had more nausea during the first trimester, lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, and a foot injury in the third trimester. Apart from those issues, it was another healthy pregnancy, for which I am grateful.

In case you forgot, Denver was a big baby, 8 lbs 11 oz. He came a week early, sunny side up, and caused third degree tearing. The healing process was a nightmare. With this in mind, my doctor and I were both hopeful that Everett would come early as well, but my doctor started to freak me out around the 34 week mark, worrying about his size. I asked her if there were any indicators that Everett would be big, and she said no. I asked her what she would do to help minimize tearing, and she said nothing. So, I decided to change doctors at 36 weeks. I stayed in the same practice but moved to a doctor who recently had a baby herself, was completely unconcerned with Ev’s size, and encouraged me with steps she could take to help ease the baby out. It was stressful to change doctors at the last minute, and it was worth it.

At the 39 week mark, I was ok with still being pregnant. I was enjoying my last few days alone with Denver and also feeling Everett move around in my belly. At the 40 week mark, I was completely over it. I was up every hour and a half to pee all night. I had serious stomach issues, and they continued until I delivered. One night I was so sick that I thought I was in labor, so my husband and I went to the hospital to get checked out, only to leave an hour later with what I believe was food poisoning. There is a mental element at play in the last month of pregnancy, and you really start to wonder if the baby will ever arrive. There is also the panic of knowing that you are sleep deprived, and this only gets worse in the weeks/months after delivery.

Along with these anxieties, I was finally beginning to panic about Everett’s size, and people kept asking me if I was going to induce. I held firm in my conviction that I would wait on my body and the baby, but it was not easy. At 40 weeks and 4 days, Micah and I decided to go on what we hoped was our last date night before baby. Where did we go? Sopapillas! I felt very calm this evening, ate as much food as I could fit into my belly, and prayed that God would get things moving. My weekly checkup was the following morning, and I knew my doctor would have to start discussing options.

I woke up feeling good, went to the bathroom, and saw blood. I was relieved because it was a sign that I was dilating more. We drove to the doctor, I got checked out, and it turns out I was 4cm dilated and 90% effaced. This was hilarious to me, because I found out that I was in labor with Denver at the doctor’s office, 4cm dilated and 90% effaced! I am clearly not good at recognizing early labor contractions. The doctor monitored my contractions for 20 minutes, and they were still erratic. She asked if I wanted to be admitted, and I said no, that I’d rather go home and wait for things to pick up. She agreed, but she did advise my husband to call out of work. After leaving, we headed to Panera for lunch and then spent the afternoon hanging out as a family of three.

Lunch at Panera

After Denver’s nap, we took a walk, at Micah’s encouragement. I think he was feeling antsy about us needing to head to the hospital, and he hoped the walk would speed things up. I felt great on the walk, with a few contractions here and there. When we got home, we had a snack, and all of a sudden the contractions regulated, coming three minutes apart and lasting for a minute. I didn’t say anything to Micah and went upstairs to watch some shows with Denver. It took about 20 minutes, but it finally registered to me that I was in active labor. I called Micah upstairs, asking him to pack up the car, called my sister, asking her to head straight over, and snuggled up to Denver, enjoying our last few minutes together as an only child. Around 4:00pm, I gave Denver a big hug and kiss and left for the hospital. Thanks again to my sister, Lauren, for taking such good care of Denver while Micah and I focussed on Everett’s arrival.

Walking Ev out

While in the car, I called my doctor to let her know we were on our way, with consistent contractions still three minutes apart. She called ahead to the hospital and asked them to skip triage and admit me straight away. When we got to the hospital, we waited for a bit before getting checked in, and then we waited for a bit before anyone came to check on me. My husband specifically wants me to include that while we waited, he read me hilarious jokes that he found online to pass the time. Thanks, babe, duly noted.

After waiting for a while, Micah went to the nurses’ desk to ask when someone would come check on me since I was in labor. A nurse came back, told me that I shouldn’t have skipped triage, and that they didn’t know what to do with me. I stared at them, thinking how ridiculous this was, and feeling like I’d done something wrong. Because I was panicking a bit, my contractions slowed down when they hooked me up to the monitor. I don’t think they believed that I was in labor. The nurses then checked my progress, and I was at 5cm. At this point, they realized I was in active labor and assigned me a nurse. She was really kind and reassuring, I calmed down, and my contractions picked right back up.

In labor

Micah and I then walked the hallways, watched a Predators game on the television, and chatted. I was surprised at how manageable my contractions were, and I felt confident going into my second delivery. Since we had skipped dinner, Micah started to get hungry. Around 8pm he ordered food from a local restaurant and went to the lobby to pick it up. Of course this is when Everett had a significant heart rate deceleration. My nurse got very serious very fast, asked me to lay on my side, and gave me an oxygen mask. I was so worried about Everett, because I wasn’t sure what was going on. I had a similar experience with Denver, during transition, and I never learned what caused it. Well, once Everett’s heart rate came back, and Micah came back to the room, the nurse asked to check me. Lo and behold, I had progressed rapidly to 8cm! Apparently a heart rate deceleration can be an indicator of progress. I bet that’s what caused it with Denver as well.

Quickly, my contractions strengthened, and I had to concentrate more to get through them. I walked around the room, leaned on the birth ball, and eventually laid on the bed and let them wash over me. It was hard to get into a comfortable position, and I was determined to remain calm. After an hour or so, my doctor came in to chat. She was completely on board with letting me continue naturally, told me I was still at 8cm, and that I had a slight cervical lip on one side. She offered to break my water, but I declined, wanting to keep things as natural as possible.

A few more hours passed, and I started to feel tired. Still steady contractions, yet no further progress. Around 11:30pm, my doctor came back into the room to check on me. She offered again to break my water, saying she thought it would force Everett to drop into position and come on out. I was still reluctant, but the nurse agreed that it was the right decision, so I said ok. Let me tell you, it was super easy. Both times my water has broken, I’ve been surprised by the warmth. What a sweet little home moms’ bodies make for their babies. No wonder Everett didn’t want to come out! My doctor told me she expected things to progress quickly from here, and that she’d wait down the hallway.

Hoping she was right, I got out of bed and started walking around again. I felt more water come out during the next few contractions, but I felt mostly the same. Then, all of a sudden, a contraction hit, and I knew it was go time. My calm, even disposition changed into complete panic mode. Everett dropped into position, and my body was ready to push him out. It is incredible remembering it, because with Denver, I never felt the urge to push. With Everett, I couldn’t have stopped the urge if I tried. My doctor and the nursing team ran into the room, I laid on the bed, and my doctor told me to start pushing. I was yelling because I was in so much pain, and I was scared. Pushing Denver out, I was fearless, yet his exit did so much damage. I didn’t want to relive that experience. It took about 20 minutes, and a lot of concentration, and eventually Everett moved down. When it came time for the final push, at 12:27am, I cried out to God, and Everett’s entire body came out at once. He was 7 lbs 1 oz., 20.5 inches long, a skinny little baby. My doctor immediately laid him on my chest, and I remember thinking that he was the most beautiful baby boy. He was crying, and he was here, and birth is a miracle every single time.

My tiny little Ev

Even though he was little, I tore again, second degree. The doctor sewed me back up, which is such an awful experience, and I shook the entire time. On the bright side, I did not have an episiotomy, and the sewing back together seems to have fixed a lot of the problems that I had post recovery with Denver. In some ways, I think I needed to tear again in order to heal the right way.

There are a few other things I remember during the first hour after birth. The first is that Everett would not stop crying. I felt very panicked, thinking that he would be an even more challenging baby than Denver. I was wrong, though. I think he was so cozy on the inside, that it was an incredible shock for him on the outside, and it took him some time to calm down. The second is that Micah gave me a piece of bread, and my nurse freaked out about it, because apparently I was supposed to wait an hour before eating. I still feel upset about this, because I hadn’t eaten in 12 hours, had just birthed a baby, and was hungry. Since I went natural, I thought this was really silly, and I still do. Finally, I had trouble peeing during that first hour, and the nurse told me she’d have to insert a catheter if I couldn’t. All that work going natural, I was not about to have a catheter inserted, and I eventually did pee. I was disappointed, though, that there were all these rules and regulations being put on me when I was trying to recover.

Anyways, we were eventually given the all clear and moved into our new room for the rest of our stay. Micah and I chose to not allow any visitors, and it was an amazing decision, providing us time alone to love and focus on little Everett. Thanks to some lovely nurses who cared for my sweet boy during the first two nights, I got rest and was in good shape by the time we were released.

Birthing babies is an incredibly powerful gift from God. It is so emotional, so physical, and so worth it. I am continually amazed that such a painful process produces such joy on the other side. I kept repeating to myself throughout the labor that it was productive pain, productive pain indeed.

With love,

Lindsay

 

 

 

 

 

8 Month Letter to Everett

Dear Everett,

Hello my happy little 8 month old! This month was full of excitement as we celebrated your first Halloween and Thanksgiving and also your new ability to crawl!

So happy in your hat

Let’s start with the holidays. For Halloween, Denver dressed up as The Man with the Yellow Hat which meant that you dressed up as Curious George! You were so completely adorable, even if you were not super excited about the hat part of the costume. The best part was your banana teether, which I did not plan at all to coordinate with your outfit. I literally gave it to you to chew on as we were walking out the door. So hilarious and perfect!

Curious George

For Thanksgiving, we journeyed to your grandparents house. You were a bit tired because teething has caused some very short naps, but you had fun hanging out with everyone right up until nap time. You were also the cutest little turkey I’ve ever seen. I made you a little hat with your handprints, and you actually wore it!

You look so sleepy.

Dad took off work the entire week of Thanksgiving, which was perfect timing because it’s when you learned to crawl! Den was napping downstairs, and Dad and I were playing with you upstairs. You’d been rocking back and forth on all fours but not committing to forward motion. All of a sudden, you took off with a clever little knee and foot crawl! It was like you’d been waiting until you absolutely knew you could do it, and then you were full steam ahead. You now use one knee and one foot and hobble all around the house. You are ridiculously adorable, and Dad and I are delighted about your new skill!

Perched and ready

Along with your mobility, you are so happy now! The crankiness dissipated the day you became mobile and was replaced with laughter and smiling. What a relief, and what good timing. You have needed this happier disposition to help with the sicknesses you’ve been battling for the better part of the month. Early on you had a virus, and when that started to clear up, you came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. You have been so sick, with a fever and sores and a cough, but you’re making it through. I am hopeful that you’ll heal up soon.

You are so sick and done with the day.

Along with mobility, you’re making strides in communication. You now say “mama.” At first, I thought you were just babbling, but now I’m convinced that you’re actually saying my name. You consistently say “mama” when I am around and you want to be picked up. So, it might mean “mama come get me,” but I’ll take it! Mama is an excellent first word, little man. You also mimic breathing in and out of your nose and clicking your tongue against the roof of your mouth. The imitation game is really fun, and everyone, including Denver, enjoys making sounds with you.

Telling me about something.

Speaking of Denver, you two are continuing to grow into best friends. He lays next to you and asks for pictures with “bro.” He showed you how to splash water in the bath tub, and you splash with him and make squealing noises. He holds your hand and asks me to say prayers, and he makes you laugh when we’re in the car and you’re ready to get out of your seat. What a joy it is to watch your friendship get stronger each day.

Best friends

Happy 8 months my sweet baby Everett! You are such a lovely baby, and I’m so thankful that you’re part of our family!

Love,

Mama

7 Month Letter to Everett

Dear Everett,

Happy seven months, to my sweet little brunette baby! Your hair still sticks straight up on top, and it’s adorable.

So precious

The fussiness continues! This is the third month in a row I’ve written about it. It’s the strangest thing. You are such a sweet, happy, cuddly buddy. You love playing with toys, and you even play independently quite well. When you are happy, you are so very happy. When you are unhappy, though, a switch flips, and you cry and wail until I pick you up. Then, when I pick you up, you try to catapult out of my arms. What in the world?! I thought that once your second tooth came in, the fussiness would abate, but it was replaced with serious separation anxiety. It’s been rough, little dude.

Happy because we’re together!

So rough, in fact, that Dad decided to night wean you all by himself. You were waking up every hour or two all night long, and you kept waking earlier, like 11pm, 10pm, and 9pm. Finally, I hit a bit of a wall, and Dad stayed home from work one morning to let me sleep. Then, he set up the air mattress and told me to sleep upstairs for a few nights. With Dad on duty, you started sleeping much longer stretches. Some nights you’d sleep eleven hours straight. Other nights, you’d cry for up to two hours somewhere in the middle. It took about two-three weeks, but your nights are now consistently 10.5-11 hours, and we are both getting long stretches of sleep again.

Riding on the red rocket

Now for some happier news. You are sturdy when you stand up! You love playing with your activity table and will stand and play well for a few minutes at a time. You are also finally rolling both ways. If given the chance, you will roll across the bedroom floors. It’s fun to watch you with this new freedom.

Standing up!

You also love eating, now, with three meals a day! You eat oatmeal for breakfast, fruit and veggies for dinner, and you can eat 4-5 tbs in 3-5 minutes. It’s impressive. You’ve even expressed an interest in apple splices, but you mostly like to teeth on them and then spit them out.

Chewing on an apple

Chewing on a block

I love you, little Ev, fussiness and all. I love reading with you, snuggling with you, and carrying you all around. Keep growing, little man, and stay sweet forever.

Reading together

Love,

Mama

P.S. Here is a family picture from church!

 

 

6 Month Letter to Everett

Dear Everett,

Happy half-birthday, little buddy! I cannot believe how fast the last six months have flown by. I still vividly remember holding you on my chest moments after you were born. I remember walking around the house and you falling asleep as I carried you in the crook of my arm. It seems like I blinked, and you’re six months old!

Handsome little six month old!

Fall is finally here, and we’ve been taking full advantage of the cooler days. You are big enough for the double stroller now, so we take walks in the afternoons. We also drove to a playground, and you enjoyed your first ride in a swing! You were the tiniest little swinger I’ve ever seen! It was precious, and we’ll get back to the playground soon.

First time in double stroller! You look so tiny.

Trying out the fall decorations.

First time in a swing

Since you enjoy riding in the stroller, I thought you would also enjoy riding in a grocery cart. I was so wrong! You wobble all around and eventually start crying. I took some cute pics while the fun lasted, but you are still in the baby carrier during most of our excursions. I think you need a few more pounds and inches before you fit snuggly in carts.

This casual pose is hilarious.

This was another fussy month, little dude, but the fussing seems to have paid off. You have your first tooth! I wasn’t sure if it would make it this month, but it literally cut through on the last day. You are working hard on your second, and I can’t wait to see your toothy grin.

Playing with your tag blanket, aka teething toy

Recently you started smacking your lips around lunch and dinnertime when the entire family was eating without you. So we stared you on solids, oatmeal and veggies. Things got off to a rough start, but once you discovered squash, you became the happiest little eater.

First time trying oatmeal

Much happier with sweet potatoes

I love you, little Evie. I love watching you each day. I love your smile. I love your contagious smile. I love watching you laugh at your brother, play with new toys, and observe the world around you. Thanks for being such a wonderful addition to our family. You are incredibly loved.

Reading a book

Trying out the piano

Snuggling with Denver

Happy six months!

Love,

Mama

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