10 months

My dearest, sweet, little Emma Kate,

You are 10 months old baby.  It is nothing short of mind-boggling.  10 months!!  Part of me aches to watch you grow so fast.  Some days I long for that newborn who slept and cooed and watched the world behind those beautiful eyes.  But then the other part of me can’t wait to see you grow.  To watch you accomplish all that you can.  I try to cherish each and every day, even when they seem monotonous.  But they really aren’t.  You learn something new everyday.  You may not be a newborn anymore, but you still watch the world from behind your beautiful eyes and it is fascinating to see you learn.

You are straight up adorable.  That’s all there is to it.  You started singing this month.  Your Grandy and Ash taught you to sing  “la, la, la”.

You do motions to The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and you really wash that spider out!  And the sun comes out with your little arms reaching way up to the top of your beautiful head.  You are all grins too.  You are sure proud of yourself when you do something big like that.

You clap your hands along with “When you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”, and you still love your books.  You’re favorite has always been Pete the Cat–I Love My White Shoes.  Your Grandy bought you a Pete the Cat stuffed doll and your aunt Jo got you Pete the Cat–Rocking My School Shoes and you love reading them with somebody or by yourself.

You’ve learned how to open drawers and cabinets this month and empty them completely out.  Now, you need to learn how to put it all back!

You can say mama, dada, bye-bye, night night, num-num (which means yum yum) and you started saying “Ash” plain as day.  It is adorable!  Now you just say it all day long.  You definitely understand everything we say to you.  When I ask you “Where’s Ash?”  You start looking towards her bedroom here trying to find her.   You can comb your hair and brush your teeth (in a perfect 10 month old way), drink from a cup (with not much spilled down the front), feed yourself with a spoon and fork (when we load it up of course), and give hugs and kisses.

Pulling up has become old hat to you now, and just this week you’ve started standing alone for longer periods– like about 8 seconds.  Might not be sound long, but it is when you’re balancing huh baby?  Or riding a bull, which you will never ever attempt, just so you know.  I just felt like we needed to get that established right here and now.  You walk all around holding on to things, like the couch, the end tables, your crib.  Just like what you’ll do in the swimming pool in a few years.   You love to explore and you climb the porch steps up to the door.

You are a good-natured girl who knows what she wants and doesn’t want.  You don’t let anyone persuade you to do something you don’t want to do, which isn’t fun when getting your diaper changed, but will play an important role when you are a teenager.

You are beautiful, smart, happy, and loved beyond measure.

We take great delight in you, Emmy.  You are our girl!



Sleeping on the Floor Part 1

I have a great mattress.  It’s one of those Sleep Numbers, where you can adjust the firmness.  A few years ago, J-Dub and I pranced into the mall with a credit card and succumbed to a sales pitch.

Impulse Buying + Credit Cards = The American Way, right?

I can’t remember my sleep number;  I can barely remember my birthday, much less the 42 different passwords stored in my brain for various accounts etc.   I usually have to ask J-Dub what my sleep number is.  For some reason he always knows, or makes one up just to fake me out.  Heck, I wouldn’t know the difference.  I did consider having it tattooed on my butt, but then I’d have to get a mirror to look, and to be frank, my butt isn’t much to gaze upon, even for myself.   I thought maybe I should tattoo it on my wrist, but then people might think I’m a concentration camp survivor or at the very least, a state penitentiary parolee in which case if I were a male state penitentiary parolee, my butt might have gotten noticed.

I guess it doesn’t really matter what my sleep number is since the last 3 nights I’ve slept on the floor.

In the baby’s nursery.

On a makeshift bed of couch cushions, my pillow, and a blanket.

You see, my little babe, she is utterly adorable.  She is.  She is also utterly awake most nights.  It’s not that she doesn’t go to sleep.  She does.  It’s just that she doesn’t STAY asleep.

So like a good mother, I’ve read.  I’ve researched.  I’ve investigated.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s All.My. Fault.  It is.

Now I won’t take responsibility for her behavior if she robs a bank, but for this, I am the culprit.

She used to be a good sleeper.  When she was a wee one, she slept very well.  She would sleep in her crib.  She would go to sleep without being nursed or rocked.  She awoke and laid in her crib peacefully at times.

And then, then I screwed her up.

I took all the things I knew I was supposed to do, and didn’t do them.

“Swaddle her?” I scoffed.  “She gets too hot, she’s too confined, she doesn’t like it.”

“Let her sleep in her own bed?”  I laughed.  “But she’s so little, I need her, she needs me, she grows so fast, I’ll miss this.”

“Let her cry?”  I exclaimed.  “She feel afraid, abandoned, and become untrusting.”

“Be consistent?” I remarked.  “What about our free spirits?  Schedules, shmedules.  Routines, shmoutines.”

And so, the saga began.  She slept in our bed, at whatever times we traipsed to bed, and when she made the tiniest whimper, I comforted; two, three, sometimes four times each night.

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and before I knew it, I had an 8 month old in the bed standing at the headboard, or crawling on top of us while we tried to sleep, or kneading us in the back with her pointy little feet as she laid crosswise in the bed.  And as I lay there one night with her trying to suck my nose, I imagined our lives a year, two years down the road.  I saw a little toddler, upside down, feet in our face, whining ‘tickle my back, can I lay on your arm, I need a drink of water’, all the while wiggling, squiggling, and causing a ruckus.

You see, I like to sleep.  I enjoy it.  It’s practically the only fun I have in my life.  Take that from me, and I have nothing.  I am nothing.  So I stood on my exhausted two feet and made my valiant cry of, “ENOUGH!  THIS MUST STOP!”

And it hasn’t been easy.  Nay, nay.  We are currently on day 6 of a real effort to get her to sleep in her crib. (with 3 days of inconsistency when we were out of town).  That’s the first step.  Then comes sleeping with no feedings, next will be sleeping without me in the room.  I have my work cut out for me, but am beginning the process of undoing my doings.   The first night, I took expert advice to lay her down every time she stood in her crib, and then I counted the attempts.

No, not twenty times.

No, not thirty-three times.

No, not even one hundred twenty times.

But 133 times.  One hundred thirty-three times I laid her down.  And one hundred thirty-three times she pulled her weary self back up again.  Can you say torture?  For her.  For me.

Were there tears?  Oh my, yes.  Many tears.  Hers and mine.

She finally fell asleep crying and exhausted.

Like this.

She stayed asleep about 30 minutes, but who can blame her?  Could you sleep like that?  Can you even sit like that?

And now, since this post is becoming a novella and is only partially complete, I will end here and continue with our experimental research sleep training documentation tomorrow.  Hopefully.  If my bleary eyes can see the keyboard.











8 months

Hey sweet Emma!

You’re a little doll, dear.  As beautiful as ever, and growing so big.

For a while now you’ve been belly crawling, but this month you decided to try out the old hand and knee crawl.  It’s still a bit clumsy, and you really only do it when you don’t have a shirt on.  I don’t think you like the feel of the hardwood on your belly.  But you still prefer the “wounded soldier” crawl and drag one leg behind you.  You’re pretty fast at it too!  You certainly don’t let many things stop you either, that’s why your daddy calls you his little 4 X 4.  It’s so fun watching you explore your new world, and learning to be so independent.

You are pulling yourself up now to every surface that you can reach.  The ottoman, the dining room chairs, the toy box, the drawers in the kitchen, and mostly my pant legs.  You are a brave little thing, taking one hand off while standing up.  You think you are much bigger than you really are.  But I love your confidence and hope you always keep it, with humility of course.

Although your only 8 months old, the tag in your clothes says 12 months!  Thankfully, you haven’t had to go to the doctor since your 6 month check-up, so we don’t know how much you “officially” weigh, but when we weigh you, our scales here say about 19 pounds.

You have 2 new teeth, but you are a nonconformist, and decided instead of getting your two upper teeth like you’re supposed to, you might as well be a vampire for Halloween, and have cut one fang, and are working on the other.

Have I ever told you how smart you are?  Your mind works constantly.  You are super observant, and want to know how things work, like your car seat buckle, which I’m afraid you are certainly going to figure out.  You are trying real hard to patty cake right now, and I know you understand everything I say.  You yourself are a jabber box too.  You have all kinds of new sounds, you can say bye-bye and are practicing wiggling your fingers.  You talk all the time and I wish I knew your language.

I am trying real hard to be the best mommy I can.  Sometimes it’s frustrating because I don’t have an instruction manual for you, and I’m not sure if I’m making the right decisions.  Please always know you are loved immeasurably, dear one and I’m always thinking of you.

I love you!





Under the weather

It’s September 15th, or is it the 14th?  Regardless of the number on the calendar, it is my favorite time of year.  It’s a dreary, overcast day and my thoughts bounce around randomly, like an annoying fly trying to find a place to light, but never satisfied for long.

I’m feeling a tad under the weather, which seems fitting with the forecast.  I want to curl up in bed with a book and hide all day.  I would too, if I didn’t have a 7 month old competing for my attention.  She’s a bit under the weather too, and just wants to be held, but doesn’t want to sit still once I pick her up.  She’s obsessed with reaching and grabbing everything from the side table, attempting to climb on top of my head, or rubbing her face frantically in my chest, smearing snot all over my fourteen dollar sweatshirt.  Desperate for a reprieve to blow my nose,  I did the bad mom thing.  I turned on the TV.

As most of you probably know, we don’t have TV.  I can see you scratching your head now.  How can I turn it on, if we don’t have it you ask?  Well, we have an actual TV, but we have no cable, or satellite, or even rabbit ears.  We do own a DVD though, so I dug through stacks of exercise tapes, sneezing and coughing as the piles of dust billowed, and discovered a cartoon belonging to my niece.  Kung Fu Panda.

Since EK only gets TV time when we’re visiting someones house or when she’s watching Blazing Saddles with her dad, which is so appropriate I might add, I thought this was a win-win situation.

I imagined her in a TV daze while I vegged out in an antihistamine induced state of mind on the couch.

Turns out, she doesn’t care too much for pandas.  Or Kung Fu.  A matter of fact, I think I heard her say, “Pandas?  We don’t need no stinking pandas.”

I’m left with no other option but to sit here with EK on my head, watching a cartoon mouse with a Fu Man Chu do jujitsu, using the sleeve of my sweatshirt to wipe my nose.  Good thing it only cost fourteen dollars.



The toughest job

When I was a teacher, just a few short months ago, I used to believe teaching was the hardest profession there was.  In fact, I’ve been known to tell people that very thing.

Now that I’m a stay-at-home-mom, I have changed my opinion and believe mommy hood is the hardest job there is.

More than likely if I was an artist, I’d think that was the hardest profession to be had.

The toughest job, I’ve discovered, is the one I’m presently working.

Suzanne gave me a devotional book for moms.  “A Time-Out for Busy Moms”.   I’m not sure if that really exists.  The book was in good condition when I first received it, but now the edges are ruffled and torn, tiny bite marks have dried the corners.  When I sit down to read it, EK is usually in her  favorite spot, my lap, and she would rather chew on it than let me read it.

She is a blessing and a challenge.  The simplest things are no longer simple.  Showers, toilet breaks, eating.  She has no regard for my basic needs.  She is an infant.  A selfish, needy, narcissistic little baby, just like every other baby that was ever invented.  She is at my feet when I fix a cup of coffee or when I wash the dishes.  If I walk away, she scuttles after me dragging her leg like a little hermit crab calling “mama, mama, mama”.  When she’s not at my feet or on my lap or in my arms, I must watch her like a hawk.  She’s exploring and discovering and learning things the hard way, like how a mousetrap feels on her little fingers.  All this, and we’re not even in the difficult age yet.  Give her enough time and she will be putting Cheerios in the toilet and displaying her artwork with permanent markers and nail polish on the dining room table.

To date, the biggest mess she’s managed is unloading about 15 wipies one by one, only after tasting each one first.


And yes, I took a picture.

I know other moms have this thing figured out.  They are doing a better job of it I know.  Their babies sleep through the night.  In their own beds to boot.  They eat their veggies and take a bottle so their mamas can leave them for more than three hours at a time.

I ain’t gonna lie, it’s a tough gig, and I’m doing the best I can.

Today she fell asleep in my lap and I was able to pick up my mommy devotional book.  We rocked while I read and it was one of the most peaceful and gratifying moments I could experience.  As I gazed down at her sleeping face, the corners of her mouth turned upwards and a small smile spread across her mouth. I imagined the angels were whispering in her ear.  I couldn’t help but smile too.

In the big scheme of things, this baby stage is such a short time in the span of her years.  Instead of wishing this and wishing that, I need to learn to appreciate every nuance and detail.   Before you know it we’ll be driving her to college.

I’m sure when I leave her in the dorm room, she won’t be the one crying then.

Day 1: Reporting In

I consider today my first day on the job as an official SAHM.

I was tired by 9:30.

Last week was actually the first week of summer vacation, but my sister and her two rug rats drove down from New Mexico and spent the week with us.  So, of course, the house didn’t get cleaned, boxes from my classroom didn’t get put away, and EK was not on a schedule (as if she’s ever been).  J-Dub also had some family drive in for the weekend, so I can assure you EK was extremely neglected with all the company.  But now the aunts and cousins have all returned to their normal routines, and the baby and I are trying to find our normal routine, if one even exists.

This is my favorite picture as of now.

Tomorrow I’m sure I’ll have another.

I love this picture because that is the image of the baby of my dreams.  A calm, quite, studious daughter who can be found with her nose in a book.

My mom bought EK these 12 little Disney board books. We began reading and EK took the book and put it in a perfect hold.  I had to take a quick snap with the camera, as it didn’t last long.

For the past 4 months, we’ve wondered what kind of a kid EK is going to be.  What kind of an adult?  What kind of a an overall human being.  As much as I’d love to snuggle up in bed on Saturday and read books together, I’m beginning to get the feeling she isn’t going to want to be still for very long.

I know you have all said she has been alert since the day she was born, and it’s true.  Even now, she won’t hardly sleep because she’s afraid she’s going to miss something.  Nursing is beginning to present yet another challenge as she pops her head up and looks around at the slightest sound.  Even snapping her picture while she naps awakens her.

She kicks her little legs  fiercely and pedals a million miles a day on her imaginary bicycle.

She’s a little roly poly now too as she’s learned how to roll across the room.  I lay her on her blanket, leave the room for 1 minute (I swear) and she’s across the room chewing on the vacuum cleaner cord.

I’ve spent my first day as a SAHM trying to clean the floors since she’s on the move.  Because you see, I have this shedding problem.  It’s my hair.  It comes out in GOBS.  It’s probably an undiagnosed medical condition of some sort, and it is totally gross when you pick up your baby and have to grab long brown hair out of her wet little fists and off her wet little chin.  I know…..Grody, Gross, Gross.

On the bright side, I’m looking forward to the weight loss when I’m chasing her around the house.
A girl can dream anyway, can’t she?

On the go or sleeping, she’s a dollbaby.  That’s all there is to it.  Her personality is beginning to emerge and even if she isn’t that calm, quiet, studious child; she’s mine.

And I couldn’t be happier.

4 months

Dearest Emma Kate,

Happy 4 month birthday baby!!

Oh my gosh, you are so fun!  Here lately, it seems like everyday you are learning new things.

You started out this month rolling over for Janelle, your babysitter.  You did it three times in a row, from your belly (which you have learned to accept a bit more) to your back.  She got it on video which is a good thing, since no one else has ever seen you do it.  It was as if you decided you accomplished that, so you were moving on to bigger and better things.  Which of course is spitting.

You discovered you can stick your tongue out of your mouth, and that if you blow out while your tongue is out, you can produce lots and lots of spit bubbles.

Also, it’s been decided by your Grandy and a few others that you are teething, and yes, in fact there is a sharp little tooth on bottom that we can feel.  And then it goes away.  And then it comes back.  Then it goes away.  It can’t quite decide what it wants to do.  It hasn’t bothered you too badly, you mostly are just chewing away on anything you can get in your mouth and slobbering a bunch.  Grandy wants me to write it in the baby book, but I think I’ll wait until I can actually see it.


Just 2 days ago, you rolled from your back to your belly.  It’s your new favorite thing to do.  Quite frankly, you are wearing your mama out with it because you don’t remember how to roll from your belly to your back.  So, you get on your belly, act mighty proud of yourself, think it’s fun for about 1 minute, then you start to fuss when you can’t figure out how to get out of that predicament.  So I put you back on your back, just so you can roll over, act proud, then fuss some more.  Back when I was a little girl, there was a “Say no to drugs” ad campaign.  I remember a commercial on TV of a man walking around the perimeter of an empty white room.  He would say, “I work, so I can make money, so I can buy cocaine, so I can work, so I can make money, so I can buy cocaine, so I can work…….”  Here’s my version of your commercial.  “Mama lays me on my back, so I can roll on my belly, so I can cry, so Mama lays me on my back, so I can roll on my belly, so I can cry……”  Yep, Emma Kate, that’s how we spend our days until I say “ENOUGH!” and put you in your swing for awhile.

You’ve had such a busy month.  You took your first outing with dad to check cows, and you went to your first ranch rodeo with dad and stayed out until 1:00 in the morning!!!  I’m sure those cowboys just couldn’t get enough of you! You also attended your first birthday party.

You have learned how to laugh and it is music to our ears.

Just today you discovered our cowdog Grace.  You’ve met her before, but hadn’t really noticed her until now.  She’s kind of a crydoggy when she gets all excited when humans are around.  Oh boy, you thought her crying was hysterical.  You were laughing up a storm at that silly doggy.  So of course we encourage it.  You love outdoors and animals, and I have a feeling your going to be a mover and a shaker.  Only time will tell as your personality peeks out more and more.

Emmer, (that’s what your daddy has taken to calling you, which is pretty neat since your Great Grandpa called your Great Grandma Imogene that as well), you are the light of our life,

the twinkle in our eye,

the jump in our jack,

the blue in our sky.

Today your daddy said you are probably the most loved child in the world.  There might come a day that you don’t feel loved at all, because we all experience those feelings from time to time.  Please know our love for you is big.  So big.  Huge big.  Bigger than Hog Eyes and Sauerkraut Mississippi.  That’s a game me and your grandpa used to play.  I can’t wait to teach it to you.

I look forward to this next month Emma, because in just 3 days, school will end and more time with you will begin.



Mother’s Day #1

I got a new camera lens for Mother’s Day along with a salad spinner ( my request) and a bouquet of flowers.

I spent the car trip home from Lubbock playing with my new lens, capturing images of J-Dub driving, EK sleeping, Ashy posing, and maybe an accidental shot of the dials on the dashboard.

Afterwards I reviewed the pictures on my camera and found myself scrolling back. Farther and farther back, on this first Mother’s Day, back through the weeks and months. All the way back to January 28th at 4:20 when the doctor tugged a crying baby from my bulging abdomen after a very long and difficult labor that ended with a C-section.

Then my precious, post term, 7 lb baby was whisked to the NICU where the premature, sick babies go.  The place where I was told when I could touch my baby, that I couldn’t nurse my baby, and where I felt completely helpless.

My heart is so tender remembering that day. I feel anger and I feel sadness all rolled together in a snowball of grief.

As I scroll back through the photos, I’m so thankful to remember.
To remember how tiny she was, how different her hair laid, how red the little mark on her nose appeared, how wrinkled her skinny little fingers were.

Oh my goodness how I love her.

How I miss her tiny newborn self.

How fortunate I am to have her.

Although I can’t take all the credit, being her mom is the best thing I’ve ever done, the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, the most important job I’ll ever have.

To all the mothers out there…….I finally get it.

And it’s incredible.

3 months

My Dearest, Darling Emma Kate,

You’re growing up much too quickly.  You’re no longer a tiny little baby but a whooping 12 pound 6 ounce three-month old.

I’ve had to put away your little newborn sized clothes, and it nearly broke my heart.  I can’t believe how tiny you used to be.   You’ve almost outgrown some of your 0-3 months already!  Slow down!

You are holding your head up mighty fine these days and you like sitting up big and tall and looking around the world.  You are tolerating your tummy time much better and will last about 3 minutes instead of 20 seconds before starting to complain.

You are reaching and grabbing now.  You hold onto my shirt while nursing, you hold on to your clothes if you can get them.  You try to help put your pacifier in your mouth, which I think you are becoming much too fond of, by the way!  You’ve started grabbing fistfuls of my hair and I have to pry your little hand loose. I’m careful not to wear dangly earrings around you for fear of the pain you may cause when you grab ahold  and yank.

You love the book “Pete the Cat. I Love My White Shoes”.


It makes you grin big, as do many other things.  You are quite the smiler these days and your smiles melt our hearts.  Especially when you give that bashful one where you close your eyes and duck your head.  So cute!!!

You are drooling like crazy and sucking on your fingers and fists so much you’ve sucked little red places on your knuckles.

This has been a big month for you.  I had to go back to work when you were almost 11 weeks old and you began staying with a babysitter every day.  You’ve tolerated that so well.   I think of you all day long while I’m working and can’t wait until 4:00 to get my hands on you again.  I’m looking so forward to when school’s out so we can be together all day again.

You are my everything, little one.  Words cannot describe the love I feel for you.  Always know this.  Always know how much you are loved, no matter what.