This past week a new school year started for the majority of Kentucky, and with it came another year of nannying for me. This past spring the little one I nanny got a new baby sister, giving me a total of three babies (including Emery) ages two, one, and five months old. I can't even put into words after making it through this week how much respect I have for moms of multiples out there, especially when the babies are close in age. Seriously, ALL the admiration to all of you mamas out there that do what you do all day, every day. 🙌🏼 This past week I have been in WAY over my head, and staying organized and prepared for literally anything have been an absolute must to keep me from completely losing my marbles. While trying to learn how to balance everything this past week, the Boy Scout motto popped into my head of "Always Be Prepared." When the thought came to my mind I literally laughed out loud and thought to myself that moms need to live by a similar motto, except for that instead of just simply "being prepared", we also need to always be prepared for ourselves, any children in our care (including other people's children that we might meet on playdates, etc), and our husbands, for any sort of situation or disaster, whether it be an earthquake or a toddler meltdown in Target. One way that I've found to follow my "Mom Scout Motto" and keep myself feeling (slightly) more on top of life is by making sure that my diaper bag is packed with the right things and in the right quantities. I remember way back before Em was born and I was nannying just H, I made the classic rookie mistake of bringing everything but the kitchen sink with me wherever we went in a duffle bag sized diaper bag, and between carrying that and him ended up wearing myself out way more than was necessary. Over the past couple of years I've been through the scale of being overly and under prepared as far as diaper bag packing goes, and finally feel like I've found a happy medium of packing light while still packing enough, making life a little bit easier for all that the diaper bag carries for. 😉
My Perfect Balance of Diaper Bag Essentials:
That sums up my diaper bag must have's - I purposely kept it short because the older I get the more I realize just how valuable simplicity is in all aspects of life. The only thing that I almost added to this list but didn't was weather/activity specific essentials (bug spray, sunscreen, etc) because even though those are things that will sometimes be needed, they're not needed all the time and can be added in if the activity calls for it. Keeping my list to these simple five things has not only helped keep my diaper bag free of clutter, but has kept my mind free of unneeded stress and clutter as well, giving me more time to dedicate to Emery & the kiddos. When they're happy and taken care of, everyone feels good, and my Mom Scout Motto holds strong. 😉
weight & height: 22 pounds 11 ounces and 30 inches long. At my one year checkup my doctor told me that I'm in the 80th percentile for both height and weight and am growing at a perfect rate! eating & sleeping: Now that I'm a year old Mom & Dad have let me start eating much more big kid food and mealtimes have gotten a LOT more fun (and messy). I eat waffles and fruit every morning for breakfast and then will eat all sorts of different things for lunch and dinner! I drink whole milk now too, and will regularly drink water out of a sippy cup. Instead of sleeping better through the night like most kids do when they get older, I decided to go against the grain and have been waking up at least once a night wanting to drink some milk. My 12 month molars have started pushing through which we think might be part of what's causing the change, but all of us are hoping to get back to sleeping all the way through the night sooner rather than later so that we can have a better rested family. 😅 exciting firsts/milestones: Still no walking on my own yet, but recently I've learned how to stand up all by myself without having to pull up on anything and can hold my self up for a really long time! I've also become quite the chatter box and can say "mama", "YUM!", will say "huh" while nodding my head to say yes to something, and am working on saying my name (currently it sounds like "em....EEEE!"). Obviously my biggest milestone this past month was my first birthday party - I had so much fun! The party was such a good time that Mommy decided to write a whole separate post about it with pictures, so if you want to read/see more about it you can here! things I love: I'm honestly a really happy baby and love most things, but for documenting's sake I'll narrow it down to a few. I LOVE bath time and will crawl to the bathroom as soon as I hear the tub filling up for me. I really enjoy playing peek-a-boo and will try to start games as often as I can by hiding my face with my blanket and then throwing it off to surprise Mom & Dad. I love swimming and being outside and would spend all day out there if I could. I've gotten really independent lately and also love showing Mom & Dad all the things I can do by myself like pushing my own stroller, pushing the shopping cart in Target, feeding myself with a spoon or fork, and trying to do up my own seatbelt buckle. More than anything, I still LOVE talking to people and making new friends, and will instantly start into smiles and giggles if a new person gives me some attention! things I don't enjoy so much: Because I'm such a busy baby with so much to explore, I really don't like being held still by Mom or Dad when we're anywhere in public and would much rather just be able to go crawl and do my own thing. I've also gotten to the point in my life when I know when I'm at the doctor's office and am going to have to get shots, and don't enjoy those very much at all! I also refuse to drink my milk from a sippy cup, and will pitch a big fit if Mom tries to offer it to me in such an unacceptable form. She just doesn't get that milk tastes SO much better from the bottle! mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: With this being my last monthly update and technically my last month of "babyhood", more than anything Mommy & Daddy are just realizing how quickly time really does fly when you're having fun in a baby's first year of life. Leading up to my birthday Mommy kept saying over and over again that it seriously just felt like yesterday that they were bringing me home from the hospital, and now here I am just so big and grown up! With how quickly time does fly, we're making sure as a family to make the absolute most of every moment together, and are working hard to make sure that we don't miss a single thing.
HOLY SMOKES. Talk about #allthefeels for this mama while typing this up for Emery, I seriously can't even believe how quickly my little girl has grown up! A big thank you to everyone that's followed along with her little monthly updates; we have loved documenting her first year and feel blessed to have so many friends to share her milestones and stories with!
Well, it happened. I blinked and the next thing I knew an entire year had come and gone and my sweet baby girl had already turned a year old. I felt a whole range of emotions in Emery's first birthday that I'll probably write more about later (along with some ADORABLE one year pictures), but today I figured I'd focus on the exciting part of her growing and the fact that we got to celebrate her with the cutest little birthday party for her special day! With how much of a planner I am, I'd been thinking of different ideas for Emery's birthday since about her 8 month mark (which could also be part of the reason that I've been anticipating it so much 🙄 ) and so badly wanted to make it the perfect day for her. A couple of friends suggested doing the party around something that Emery really enjoyed to make it more personal for her, and I ultimately decided on a fruit themed party because Emery loves fruit and eating probably more than she loves me (kidding.... kind of). I lucked out because fruit seemed to become the hottest new thing the closer summer got, so finding ideas for decorations, etc was easier than I thought!
We decided to do the party at a local splash pad since another one of Emery's favorite things is being outside and playing out in the water, and for food we stuck to the overall theme with fruit kabobs, popsicles, and bottled water to drink ... basically a whole lot of sugar but what are birthday parties for right?! My girlfriend Brette made Emery's smash cake and the birthday cake for all of the guests and OH MY GOSH. You guys I seriously can't get over how amazing they turned out!! They looked absolutely adorable and tasted SO GOOD! This wasn't the first time I'd enjoyed her cake (nor will it be the last I'm sure 😉 ) but it was so special having her cake made especially for Emery's birthday! Thanks so much again Brette! Your talent is amazing!!
It was so much fun being able to spend the day through the eyes of Emery and enjoy the things that she enjoys most. In a lot of ways I feel like that's one of the best parts of being a mom; it's basically an amazing opportunity to enjoy all of the simple joys in life with your child as they experience them all for the first time, and I'm so grateful that I get that chance with my little E!
(Apparently this is what happens when you try to get all of the kiddos together for a
picture when there's fun to be had .... #momfail #itsmypartyandillcryifiwantto 😂 )
The one hard part about Emery's birthday was not having any of our family there to celebrate with us. We love Kentucky so so much but it's times like these that you really wish grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins could be close by to join in on all the fun! It's also times like these though that I realize just how incredibly blessed we are to have such wonderful friends here in our dental school community. In my obsession to be as prepared as possible for Emery's party I used a GPS to get us to the splash pad, even though I'd been there enough times before to know the way, just in case there was any unknown traffic that we needed to avoid in order to get everything set up in time. Instead of getting us to the park faster than normal, Apple maps decided to take us on a route that put us a good 15 miles off course and ended up making us late to our own party. I felt so embarrassed about the situation and was pretty flustered by the time we finally made it to the splash pad, but all of my girlfriends literally swooped in and saved the day by making sure that we had tables reserved for the food and gifts and by helping me get everything set up in less than five minutes so that we could get into the party and the fun. On top of that they all helped with picking up/preparing the fruit and kabobs, actually getting any pictures/video at the party (literally the only reason I got a picture of all three of us was because one of my girlfriends stepped in and said we needed to get one) and seriously just made the whole thing come together so smoothly! I seriously couldn't thank all of my sweet friends enough for all of the help in bringing Em's party together, and really do feel like we have such a sweet Kentucky family here. ❤️ I seriously love you all so much!
A big thank you to all of our sweet family and friends who didn't get to see Emery on her actual birthday but still showed all of the love and support though gifts, phone calls, Facetime, text messages, and messages on Facebook & Instagram. I know I keep saying it but the love that we feel from all of you especially on Emery's special day could literally just make my heart burst!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! A million times thank you!!
weight & height: 22 pounds and 29 inches long. Wherever we go people comment on how I'm such a tall baby, so I guess that means I'm growing quickly! eating & sleeping: Solid foods are getting more and more fun for me, and I love being able to feed myself. Deli Turkey, string cheese, and different fruits are some of my favorite things to eat with my meals now, and I still love a lick of ice cream when mommy will let me have one. 😉I've also gotten a little bit better at staying in my crib at night, mommy and daddy got me a sound machine that helps to block out any fun going on outside and it seems to be helping me sleep at night without waking up. exciting firsts/milestones: Although I haven't started walking yet, I've slowly started being able to balance standing up on my own for a few seconds before falling down! I've also started walking along the furniture, and mommy and daddy are thinking that walking on my own has got to be just right around the corner! things I love: My absolute favorite thing in the world right now is playing with my friends and family members. This past month we got to spend a couple of weeks in Utah with family for Tia's wedding and I LOVED all of the time that I got to spend with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents! Coming back home was just as fun though because it meant that I got to see H & S, along with all of my awesome dental school baby friends! I also love being outside and putting EVERYTHING in my mouth that I can, and I've recently found a new love of crawling around the house naked, and will constantly try to escape a diaper changing so that I can have the chance to be free. 😜 things I don't enjoy so much: For the longest time last month I didn't really enjoy wearing shoes very much, and until my nan practiced keeping them on with me in Utah I would kick them off every chance I could get! I also have started to really dislike being buckled into a grocery cart while out running errands, and much prefer being able to either sit in the big section of the cart, or crawl all over the front part, making mom constantly worried that I might fall out. mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: This past month I caught my very first stomach bug, and it was not very much fun at all. Anyone that knows my mommy knows that she is a HUGE germaphobe when it comes to anything throw-up related, so dealing with me being sick was REALLY hard on her nerves. Daddy was on the opposite end of the spectrum which was helpful while I was sick, but then ended up coming back to get him about a day later when he got sick too from giving me too many kisses and loves while I was contagious. Like with all challenges though, both mommy and daddy were able to grow a lot from the experience once it was all over. Daddy said that he learned that he's not completely invincible when it comes to baby sicknesses, and Mommy learned that there's only so many times that she can bleach and sanitize the house before it just becomes excessive, and that she really just needs to chill out and know that things like this are quickly passing and that everything in the end will be ok. 😅
Ah the 11 month mark!! I have to admit that it made me a little sad typing this up and realizing that we only have one of these updates left to do! Our baby girl is growing up so fast, and before we know it she'll be our little toddler and no longer a baby! As sad as it makes me to see this baby stage fade away, Kyle and I are absolutely loving every second of watching Emery grow and develop into her own little person. The best is truly always yet to come!
It was 7:30 in the morning on a Sunday, and as I heard my daughter's whines and cries of "mama" through the baby monitor I groaned and remembered the days when my only alarm clock on the weekends was sunlight through the curtains and my hungry stomach ready for breakfast. I nudged Kyle to see if he would get up and bring Emery into our room, and he made the joke that she was calling for me, and to be glad that she at least knows how to say my name (we're still working on the whole "dada" thing 😉 ). I rolled my eyes and then got out of bed to go get Emery, and couldn't help but smile when I opened the door to her bedroom and saw her immediately light up and start bouncing and squawking excitedly at my arrival to take her out of her crib. I brought her into bed with Kyle and I with hopes of having us all go back to sleep for a little bit longer, but quickly gave up on the idea once I realized that Emery was up and ready to party, and making it clear by bouncing and crawling over every surface of our bed. I thought again back to mine and Kyle's pre-baby days of sleeping in, but this time I smiled because I knew that the way that things are now bring so much more happiness than sleeping in late on a Sunday morning. Life as a mother brings SO many challenges, but the blessings that it carries far outweighs any sort of frustration or struggle encountered along the way.
I had a friend/small shop owner pose the question in a Facebook group, "What is your favorite part about being a mom"? As different mamas posted their individual answers to the question, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of love that I could see each of these women had for their children. It also made me think long and hard about what specifically I love most about being a mom. There's obviously a million things that could be added to that list, but the more I thought about the question, the more I realized just how much value the knowledge of it's answer holds. So in honor of Mother's Day this weekend, I decided to sit and write a message to my one sweet daughter about my absolute favorite things about being her mom. I write the letter for her, in hopes that she'll one day look back and read about how much she's always been loved, but I also write for me, so that on those days when dreaded "mom guilt" steps in and I feel like I'm not doing nearly as well as I should be, I can look back and read and remember all of those most important things that bring me so much joy, and I feel like that will make all of the difference.
A very happy Mother's Day to all of my fellow mamas out there, whether you're a mom of two, ten, one, a mom-to-be, a mama with angel babies, grand-babies, and anything in between. I love you all dearly, and think that you're all amazing for all that you do. Enjoy your day for you!
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.