Waiting on Sissy

We’re less than 2 months out from the arrival of our little girl and our expansion to a family of four. John-Paul remains enamored with my rotundness that is his sister. We refer to her as “Sissy” (or as JP calls her “Seeeessssyyyyy”) and I think he is starting to connect Sissy with being a baby, but this kid probably will still be in for the shock of his life.

Although JP had quite the attitude on the day of our family photos, I’m so glad that we captured this moment in time… these extra special moments with John-Paul as we eagerly await his sister. (and some serious props to our photographer, Ashley Mauro, for her kind patience and mad photog skills!) I think we often operate in the mentality of scarcity – will there be enough love to go around? When really, love multiplies with each new life that joins our family. We love each other of course, and we love John-Paul. And now our baby girl will have parents to love and cherish her, plus she will have a big brother to love her (and  pinch her and poke her). And hopefully she loves all of us back 😉

Yes, children are a ton of work. Yes, it will feel like I have less time. Yes, I will have my hands full with two littles. Yes, I will be SO TIRED.  But as my favorite tote bag says: Hands Full, Heart Full. My prayer is to move from this mentality of “there’s not enough to go around!” and move into “Look how much love we have to give!”

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Slippery, slippery time. What has it been…three, four months since my last post? Between the throes of a rough pregnancy and adjusting to life in our new location, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. The days aren’t particularly busy, but taking care of a toddler who wants to be on top of the keyboard and mouse isn’t very conducive to writing. Plus the last couple months I’ve usually opted for a nap during JP’s nap time. No regrets.

Instead of trying to catch you up on the day to day minutiae of our daily routine, I’m going to jump back to Easter when Mama Heidi, Nana and Poppy came to visit. It was Nana’s first time visiting! And it was extra special to have all three of them at once. We filled our days with baking and cooking German food, an Easter feast and of course, desserts. We relaxed, too! One big highlight was our day trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Poppy spent the first 16 years of his life in Fort Wayne (they moved to CA when he was 16) and this was his first time back since he was a teen. Living so far away, he thought he’d never see his old stomping grounds again. But lo and behold, we’re only few hours drive and we knew we just had to visit. Click through the photos to read the captions for details. It’s laundry and rest time for me!

I thought…

I thought that I’d have an all-natural, no intervention birth and then I didn’t. And it was still beautiful.

I thought we’d never get the hang of breastfeeding, but after weeks of pumping, exhaustion, tears, lactation consultations, nipple shields, nipple butter and some growth….we made it through and I’m still breastfeeding at 12 1/2 months.

I seriously thought that I would never stop leaking milk all over my clothes when I even THOUGHT about nursing John-Paul. But eventually that stopped and my laundry pile was a little smaller and my clothes less wet.

I thought I’d never be able to breastfeed with ease in public places, but we do now and it ain’t no thang.

I thought to myself, “How will I ever, ever, ever manage to cook and clean and do anything else besides sit on the couch and take care of John-Paul?” But as time goes on, we’re able to balance more.

I thought we’d have to lug him around in that ever-awkward-to-carry infant carrier forever and ever and ever, but that stopped. And he’s outgrown his first carseat.

I thought I couldn’t be more thrilled than I was when JP first smiled…but then each milestone proved ever sweeter.

I thought I’d never get the hang of the wrap or the sling, but with some good youtube videos and an extremely kind stranger at Target…I can wear JP.

I thought that I just might die when I had to fly alone with John-Paul across the country. It was exhausting, but we did it! and then we flew alone again 2 more trips out west.

I thought I wouldn’t know what to do with JP once he outgrew his rock’n’ play. Where would I put him when I cooked or needed to do something? But he outgrew it and we adjusted.

What about when he outgrew his bumbo? His Johnny Jump Up? His exersaucer? What would I do with him then? (I didn’t learn it the first time) We adjusted.

I thought teething would never end, but after four long months JP finally caught a break. And we got a little sleep.

I thought that it would be so long until he sat up, and sometimes it certainly felt long…but he sat up and changed my life by being able to sit in the grocery cart.

I thought I’d never see an 8 hour (or please, just six) stretch of sleep again in my life, but recently we’ve had a much more tolerable sleep schedule. Thank you, son.

It seemed like forever until JP learned to “crawl” (it was a slither for a couple months…) but now he’s so quick and I can barely go into the kitchen without him crawling off into some mischief.

And then before I could even think he was standing up, scooching around the couch and responding to things we said.

I thought I could imagine the love I’d feel for my child before we had John-Paul, but I realize now I couldn’t fathom the depths of the love I’ve felt grow each day since we found out we were pregnant. John-Paul stretches my heart to contain love I never knew was possible. Sometimes it’s easy to look back and think, “Gosh life was so much easier before we had a kid!” and it’s true, life was much easier, much more convenient. This last year has pushed me to many limits, and I often still feel overwhelmed, anxious and very uncertain about what the heck I’m doing as a parent. Even though many days I have dark circles, greasy hair and feel exhausted…life is full with John-Paul. He gives our family life and deepens our love. Through his total dependence on us, he challenges us to be less selfish, more giving. John-Paul, we are thankful for you!

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One Year.

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A few days late, but better late than never! Happy birthday, JP! What a year it has been. Even though we’ve lived the majority of it through a haze of exhaustion and baggy eyes, there is nothing that compares to having you in our family. And since you can’t remember these beautiful moments, I made a little 9 minute video in fast forward for you to look back and see your first year of life.

At One Year…

You’re not quite walking, but you totally could if you wanted to! But you’re content crawling and scooching around the edges of all the furniture.

You love to crawl in the cupboards and pull everything out.

All of a sudden you no longer want to spend time in the bath, so it has to be a very quick operation.

Still not really sleeping. Someday when I’m trying to wake up your teenage self, please remember that you kept your dear, sweet mother up for pretty much a year straight. Even steven.

You still have 8 teeth, no more yet!

You love to read books. Right now Animals, Baby Signs, Dear Zoo and Goodnight Moon are your favorites. You’re so good at opening the flaps in Dear Zoo and you love to touch the Mouse and little House in Goodnight Moon.

You love to sit up and look at everything when we go on walks and you’re in your stroller. You used to sleep, but now you’re so excited to observe the world around you.

You like to point to EVERYTHING in the grocery store. You USUALLY don’t get mad when you don’t get what you want 😉

You’re still soothed by children’s music and are happier entertaining yourself with music playing.

On your birthday your Grammy Heidi and I tried to take pictures of you at the State College Arboretum, but you weren’t having it. We set you down and your promptly crawled away and didn’t look back! (this terrifies me for when you start walking and running…)

When you came downstairs for your birthday party you got so excited and couldn’t believe all the people were at your house – big smiles and limbs flailing! You wanted to grab all the kids and play/wrestle them….especially Lucas!

John-Paul, you are a joy. We love you so much, son. We thank God for the blessing of your life and every moment we’ve gotten to spend with you. Know that we’re always here for you, for all of our days. We are praying for you! May you be blessed and grow in knowledge and love of the Lord.

Pope Saint JP II, pray for us!

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Mr. John-Paul Goes to Washington

A couple of weeks ago we headed south to Washington, D.C.. A while back Josh signed up for the DC triathlon, and around the same time his Uncle started working in a position that allows him to give tours of the White House. We had a blast visiting with our family – staying with Josh’s Uncle, another Uncle happened to be in DC that weekend and Josh’s cousin also did the triathlon! And of course, getting to see the White House was a real treat. The first year I went to DC was a year after 9/11, so White House tours were no longer allowed (same case for my subsequent visits). We’re so grateful for the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and enjoy the richness of our nation’s history in the capitol city! JP, you look like you just sat through a filibuster, but we hope you enjoyed it as much as your baby self can. Can’t say we didn’t try to give you some culture!

(almost) one year later.

Last night Josh, JP and I went to the Lantern Tours at Penn State. Last year they hosted them on Halloween, so that little outing ended up being the last time Josh and I went out on the town without a little one in tow. As we walked around last night, it was fun to think of the past year and how much our lives have changed. Instead of just wondering, “where should we get coffee before the tours?” we now think about things like “Do we bring the stroller? What about all the stairs? Where will we leave it? What time should we go so JP doesn’t get cranky and lose his mind?” And things like balloons and the Nittany Lion mascot all of a sudden seem awesome because we have a kid (although there were MANY adults that were thrilled to pose for photos with the lion).The Lion Ambassadors hosted the tours a month earlier than last year to, I think, have warmer weather for the event. So these photos are almost a year apart. And although we must consider a hundred different things when going out with JP, life has certainly changed for the better.