It happened again. Our oldest turned another year older. Sigh. It seems like every year that we start nearing his day I begin tearing through old photos and getting all weepy. It doesn't happen with the other two as much as our first.
And here's why. He was the one that changed us. When the other two babies came we were ready. We were prepared (sort of) for all the baby stuff. Nothing was really that new. This time around we could appreciate it and hopefully make notes a little better than the first.
Honestly, we could do so much better because HE taught us how. He was hard to hold at first and squirmy. We worried about every little thing because we weren't trained yet. Our schedule was a mess. Through that we were just smitten with this guy. He had us staring at him for hours. We couldn't talk about anything except him. We were love sick teenagers around him. He let us hold him as long as we wanted. He changed our path, moved our hearts, held our fingers over to the other side. And what a rewarding side that is.
There will be great things in store for this 6 year old, but if you asked us if we would do it all again the answer would be yes. We would do it again with more videos and sound bites. I miss that little voice and his giggle. Saying that, I should also thank him for reminding us to tape more now. Today I heard our daughter listening to a video from when we found out our 3rd was a boy. She was laughing and smiling at it. I was crying because we are so lucky to have the memory recorded. The sounds are the most amazing because those little voices get older. They start asking you about real-life big kid things that you aren't ready to talk to them about. They wow you with how much they know and how eager their minds are to know more.
Yes, we have a lot of great things in store. But don't judge me for missing the littlest things.
Meet my newest love. She arrived in mid-December and I've been so eager to get to know her and cover her in ink.
Last year I bought my first big 'ol planner, and now I am officially addicted. Before 2017 I had 4 separate places where I would write down everything or put it in my phone. It was as crazy as it sounds. My brain was all over the place and I felt like a frazzled mess.
At the end of 2017 I went back through my goals (there's a place for that in here) and I'd have to say while I have A LOT of room for improvement, I was so much more organized. My memory can be faulty, but I did a good job of writing down what I needed so always knew where to find my plans. No more stacks of post-it notes for me. (Well, I do love post-its so there are a few, but they can easily be tossed now that they get transferred in this beauty.)
This planner is made by a local KC designer, J.Lynn Designery, who I have really loved getting to know. She sends weekly organization emails that I look forward to reading. But most of all, she is positive and upbeat. A true source of light. You can find her items here. Check out her bridal books and fun list pads. (Remember my love affair with lists.)
Extra bonus, she has FREE SHIPPING until January 31.
It's here! Another year to get excited about. We get pretty giddy about the thought of a new year.
I am a list maker. If you told me you were going to open a bottle of wine and make a list of your favorite ___________ tonight, I'd be right over to help you with that. Wine always goes best with lists. For real guys, this sounds like a perfect night.
Ringing in the new year isn't the only time I break out a great gel pen and start the to-do list, but it does give my lists a little more glitter. This year I didn't go too crazy. I try to limit myself to 3 things to work on and this year I made things more fun.
#1 . A real date together once a month. Last year we started looking for babysitters to come during the week so I could work whether or not a baby took a nap. We have some amazing ones now. The kids get so pepped up to see them. While hiring someone to come for a date night gets expensive, we have decided that it's worth it. We need time together and the kids need to see us have time together. Our parents help us out so much, but we have a back up just in case everyone is busy. So far we are 1/1 in this spot!
#2 Get back into the music world. I don't know what happened, but I just fell out of the awareness of new music. Well actually I do know what happened. Kids and podcasts. Kids for obvious reasons and podcasts just because I'm addicted. I'm only kind of kidding. Neil has been in charge of playing music for almost 2 years now. For Christmas I asked for a year of Spotify so I'm hoping this is going to bring me back in. I'm already listening way more than I used to. If you have an account and are making playlists that you're proud of, message me!!
#3 Read. I'm a little sad to say that my goal is a book a month since I used to crush about 3 a month, but I'm willing to admit it so it can make me better. The truth is that I love to read so much that I feel guilty opening a book. I get sucked in really easily OR I get really annoyed being pulled out so frequently that it's hard. As the kids get older, I know family reading nights are in our future, but we just aren't there yet. I have to schedule time for myself in order to make sure I do this. So far I'm 0/1 on this goal.
What are your goals this year? We would love to hear them and cheer you on! Apparently, we've past the point where most people have dropped their resolutions so maybe you need a little rejuvenation!
A couple side notes:
-for those of you that are choosing a word, I LOVE this idea. So clean and simple and easy to hone back in on.
-we are also going to work on giving our website a kick in the butt. This is our main business goal so you can all judge us on how we do with this one (and call us out on it) throughout the year.
We can all agree how important dads are. Neil sees far too often how kids are affected by dads that just step out of parenting.
In the time since we have become parents and started celebrating Mother's Day and Father's Day on a more personal level, I have heard Neil say how Mother's Day is the real holiday and Father's Day was added out of fairness.
My heart hurts a little when I hear him say this because I never know the correct thing to say. The words get lost because so many flood to the front.
It's just NOT true for our family and I'm sure many more out there.
So here are the best things that my dad has taught me. Things that have shaped me for the better and left little (33 year old) footprints walking about in the world.
My dad may not see this as much of a gift since others may call it strong-willed and stubborn. This lesson has morphed through age. In college it started getting more refined by seeing myself as capable and strong. The first time Neil met me he tried to buy me a drink. I told him, "I buy my own drinks." What a line that I've come to respect more and more. I've lost a little independence since getting married and having kids. Mainly because I have also learned another virtue which allows me to ask for help when necessary. And I've been better at assessing my time and knowing whether I should really spend an entire day putting together a piece of IKEA furniture. All the same, I know it's sitting inside, ready to come out when necessary.
As early as I can remember, my dad has been a reader. When I was little I couldn't wait to sit next to him with a book of my own. My mom was the one that read to me the most, but my dad was the one that modeled reading in my life. He loves books and taught me to love them as well. He has a thirst for information and never stops learning. My love for education and the written word came from my dad.
Not that I think about it much because I don't notice it, but my dad had Polio when he was little. This caused one of his legs to grow faster than the other one. It almost killed him. Which means it almost killed the idea of my sisters and me. It also made him have to work harder physically than his peers and pushed him into grad school at a time when it wasn't common to have a grad degree. He has truly risen from the bottom to the top, worked his way up on his own. Along the way he has shown the utmost respect and kindness toward anyone he meets. This business of ours wouldn't even been here if not for this lesson.
Now onto the father of my children. The one that I get to watch the closest and observe the impact of the most. The one that I knew would be my forever when I thought of my future and couldn't imagine anyone else to be by my side. This is what I hope my children learn from him.
1. To Listen
He truly listens. I'm not talking about the kind of listening that means he never misses anything I say. (I am known to talk the day away.) I mean he is the kind of person that really, truly listens. Being a counselor, he definitely learned how to do this as a professional, but he also cares. And that can't be taught. He doesn't try to push you through your story or interrupt you when you are in the middle of it. He hears you out, asks questions, and then gives you his thoughts.
2. Respect for women
We are equals. In our marriage, in parenthood, in our desire to be treated fairly. He will fight the fight for me, our daughter, and our mothers. It's his as much as it is mine. I want my sons to learn to stand up for inequality and be the educated voice in a debate. I want my daughter to see how her papa treats her and find someone that challenges her just as hard. Someone that believes she is amazing for her thoughts and compassion and any other qualities that we will see come out, not just her beauty. And if she comes across someone that tries to push her down, I want her to push back instead of just turning away becasue she has seen how her papa treats her mommy.
Whether it's a dream to be followed or an idea to be carried out, it is met with such an amount of time and energy that others wouldn't give. He doesn't get much time for himself. There's always a project he's working on, normally to help someone else. Support isn't just voiced, it's acted upon. It helps that he likes woodworking and building things. Once again, our business would have only been a dream without him.
Honestly, it was hard for me to pick my top 3 for each of these important guys. There are so many more qualities and aspects about them that make me smile and push me to be a better person. So much more that my husband gives to my children. But for now, I will stop this long post here.
Thanks to all the dads that have made an impact in their kids' lives. Thank you for not just "showing up" but for leaving imprints and memories and love for generations to tell stories about.
Here he is! We are so excited to introduce Ellis Pierce to you.
9 lbs 5 oz. Yes, he was/is big. Yes, mamas out there may have cringed when they read that weight. Each time I tell someone and they make a comment about how big that is, I get a sense of accomplishment. Which is kind of silly because I have friends who have delivered much bigger babies. But this is the first time I have. Our first two babies were both 7 lbs 2 oz.
But look at those toes. Those tiny toes.
These moments are the ones I wish I could cement. How perfect he feels on my shoulder. How my thumb is the exact length of his foot. How he sleeps so sweetly next to me while I type about my love for him. How much he needs me.
This year I am driven to "cement" these moments. Because as much as I think I will remember them, I know from experience that life keeps moving and fills more memories in your mind than you are able to cement. And you don't get to cherry pick the ones you want to keep.
We are starting the end of this time in our lives. The end of making babies. Now we will just be raising them. Enjoying them. Chasing them. Laughing with them. Exploring with them. Learning from them. Growing with them. Getting inspiration from them. And making gifts for them.
It isn't going to be easy for us. Our hearts will always break a little when someone lets us hold their newborn. A couple nostalgic tears may steal away.
If you see us at an event and wonder if we want to hold your baby so you can free up your arms and look around, the answer is yes. We will always want to hold your baby.
Last year we started making headbands and clips. These have been very popular at our shows and we've struggled with the best way to sell them online.
Babies grow so fast which makes it hard to pinpoint exactly when they will be in a certain size. This guide can serve as a point of reference, but all babies grow differently. The safest way to buy is to size up if you are buying as a gift. If you are buying for your baby, you can measure baby's head and subtract an inch since the elastic stretches.
Clips are also a safe route if you have a headband where the flowers aren't attached. (Our flowers ARE attached to the band-they are not interchangeable.)
After months of planning and dreaming, we are so excited to have our own website where our customers can come and purchase so many other things that we have available at the events we attend but not online. Until now! Come back often to see what we have added into our shop. We are eager to try out new designs here and offer early buyer discounts. We look forward to meeting you and your little treasures.
This is our family as of February 2016. We will be adding a new little boy to our troop in March. We are Jessi, Neil, Tommy (4), and Juliet (2) until then.