Tuesday, December 18, 2012

a christmas letter, for a first christmas.


"look, Baby, snow!!" we rushed to the window to see the fluffy snow falling, just beginning to blanket our little wooded backyard. "this is what we've been waiting for!"
and then it struck me--this is what it must have been like, at least a little--waiting so earnestly for the child king who would deliver them. and suddenly, like a dream: He's here! He's born! People rejoicing! Angels singing!
“Glory to God in the highest heaven!
And on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!”1
His entrance into this world,  all at once quiet and frantic, rushed and strange, yet altogether ... peaceful? A paradox so much like most baby's births, so much like your own, my SweetLos. i will forever be so grateful for this time last year that i spent waiting for you, hoping for you. like the world waited for its Savior. like we wait for Him again.


as my thoughts turn to His triumphant return this Christmas season, i can't help but think that the same kind of startling quietness might be with us when that time comes. the loud voice! the trumpet call!2 ... and yet ultimately, peaceful. He is the Prince of Peace3, after all, isn't He?


we've needed His peace in even greater measure lately, it seems. the demonstration of evil in the world4 last week in Connecticut has us all reeling, still. as a new parent, and being prone to worry, my heart pulls toward anxiety and fear. and without a hope, without a promise, isn't there a reason for such great fear??
but this particular horror, for me, has been different somehow. like every time i open my mouth to shout out in fear, a gentle, holy hand puts its fingers to my lips and says "Hush, child. Remember: I am your perfect Father. I love you with an everlasting love.5 And I am still in control."
His peace, which surpasses all understanding6, has made me still.

Friends! we cannot forget!
there is a light in the darkness.7 Jesus is still on His throne.

my dear, sweet, tiny Baby,
my prayer for you this Christmas is for hope and peace and light. this world you were born into is so, so dark sometimes, so dark you can hardly see. but we have a God who keeps his promises. a God who loves us so much He sent His only child to die so that we could live.8 so when the darkness closes in, Baby, trust in Him. hold tight to Him, my Tiny Toast. He's all you need.9 He'll never let you go.

1 Luke 2:14
2 1 Thes. 4:16
3 Isaiah 9:6
4 Jeremiah 17:9
5 Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 8:31
6 Phil. 4:6-7
7 Isaiah 9:2
8 John 3:16
9 2 Cor. 12:9

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

6 (& 1/2) months ♥

sweet Livvy, my tiny toast, i cannot believe you're 6 months old. in fact, you've been so for more than a couple weeks, and here i am, barely getting around to admitting it enough to write this.

and baby, i've never felt so in a tug-of-war with time.

they all say that kids grow up too fast, that you should be careful to be present, to never miss a moment, because one day you'll blink and they'll be all grown up. and you know what? they're not joking. (whoever they are.) but until we had you, we had no idea how hard this would be. i constantly feel pulled in opposite directions--one moment i can't wait to see what you'll learn next, and at the same exact time, i miss how you used to be. i can't believe how much i miss you; and it's not like you're an old friend we'll someday catch up with. sure, we can have more babies and soak up the joy of a newborn all over again; but we'll never see the newborn you again. you know, the one with the bobbly head and floppy sleeves. and skinny legs and turtle neck. and teeny, tiny, needful little fingers. now, don't get me wrong--6-month you is more charming and heartbreaking than ever! but we miss newborn you, and i'm starting to think we'll spend most of our life stuck between missing you and eagerly anticipating you. what a tricky head space, this parenting gig.

Our BabyLos, brand new.

oh, baby, every day you become more real and more beautiful. and every day my heart breaks again. soon you'll be crawling and we won't be able to keep up with you, i'm sure of it. already you've started this adorable pumping motion where you bump your butt forward and backward when you're on your hands and knees. and now you held your teething feeder all by yourself! the doctor at your 6-month visit was floored again at how fast you're growing and learning. again, your Daddy and i are not surprised...

our Champion Sitter, always blurry. 

so baby, even though i'm a little sad every day that you grow, keep growing! we can't wait to meet the walking, talking, toothy you. and even though you're becoming so much more your own person, we still have a few more years to snuggle you. and hold your tiny hands. and kiss your sleepy head. and gobble your toes. just promise me this: that no matter how soon you crawl, or walk, or run, don't let those chubby little legs take you far from us. at least, not for a little while.


Those aforementioned chubby legs. Obv.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

4.5 months ♥

Dearest Livvy, baby of mine, newest love of my life...

Aye, where to begin?? Surely you've learned by now that your mother is not good with deadlines. We missed a whole month there, and almost half of this one. But you've grown so much and things are changing so fast, that I figured I'd better get some documentation done before it all just slips away. So here we go...

Since you were born, you've grown five inches and almost doubled in weight. That skinny little frame has grown into healthy, expressive cheeks and chunky, delicious thighs. Everyone agrees you're basically the cutest thing they've ever seen; I can't go into a store these days without someone stopping to admire you. Your daddy and I are simply beside ourselves, we can't believe such a beautiful little person came from us. The Master Craftsman does only good work, but in your case, we're especially captivated.

Our Livvy, the Heartbreaker. (Daddy better get a gun!) :)

Many things have changed since I wrote last: you can roll over, front-to-back and back-to-front, for starters. You choose to do so very rarely though, as being on your tummy still causes you a lot of grief, it seems. The doctor continues to be impressed, however, and says your development is ahead of the curve. We're admittedly not surprised. :)

Things have not been so easy as of late, though. As you become more aware of your surroundings, you become more difficult to satisfy. Like the more you look around, the more disappointed you become. I suppose this is something we all face as we age, if we're honest with ourselves. And in your case, as expected, it's resulting in many long, sleepless nights and many more tears. But don't lose hope, I trust that eventually we will come through this, stronger and better rested. In the meantime, my prayer is that we can all be more patient and love one another well. (You'll find I'm much kinder at 9 a.m. than I am at 3. We're working on that.) :)


But it's not all sleepless nights, either. The times you laugh and smile are so full of joy! Every day, it feels like our hearts may burst with delight, an explosion of colors and sparks, like the Fourth of July. Life has, in some ways, slowed down since you joined us. Although it seems like the days and weeks fly by, being with you every day forces one to notice every little part of every moment. As you figure things out and begin to put the pieces together, I have the opportunity to live it all with you, to experience the newness of it all, all over again. Suddenly I feel every breeze and every hot ray of sunshine. Suddenly every song seems more real and every new morning seems so fresh and bright. And I'm realizing, there's something about meeting another person's very basic needs makes us all a little more honest.

You're so small, and yet, you've changed us already in so many ways. Take my wardrobe, for example. Never did I imagine I'd so enjoy having a little girl to dress in ruffles and frills and bright, excited colors. But it's happened, and I'm thrilled, and suddenly I find myself picking out pieces for myself in the same bright hues. Suddenly I crave something bolder, more fearless, more unexpected.

Tiny and cute, indeed!

Baby, we've loved you so much, since you were just a secret. And now we're so, so grateful you're here, growing and changing and forcing us to do the same. Having you has been big and small and hard and joyful all at once, but always beautiful. Baby, you're our favorite adventure so far, and we can't wait to see what you throw at us next.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

To my Beage,

The absolute coolest Daddy and handsomest Husband I ever did see: Happy Birthday!

We hope that today, of all days, you can kick back, have your cake, and eat it, too.

Your Cat and Losey 'Los ♥ ♥

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Walk in the Park: Observations on Parenthood

it's been nearly three months since our lovely Olivia joined us on this Earth, and there's almost no end to the newness and mystery of it all. experts we are not, but we are working to learn quickly and be present in each moment, to grow each day into stronger, more faithful and completely loving parents. along the way we've experienced so many new things, unexpected and wonderful, all in their own ways. so, for the purposes of documentation and reflection, i offer a collection of thoughts on parenting so far.

- keeping up with a blog is downright near impossible with access to only one hand most of the day. (thumb typing on the phone is even less desirable.) **update: i began this post around the 2 month mark, and it has taken me nearly a month to complete it. no joke.**
- dinner time has become a precarious dance, trying to get baby to be calm and happy long enough to get through a meal. more often than not, Daddy and i find ourselves rock-paper-scissorsing over who gets to eat with both hands that day. most of the time she's completely delightful and happy, but for some reason our teeny beeb has chosen dinner time as the time of day she most commonly likes to ruin our lives. it's fine, as soon as she figures out how to make Mama a latte, i plan on taking full advantage.
- my recorded life is now a series of iPhone photos and scribbled lists. parenthood has, through necessity,  challenged me to become more concise. (ha!) hope you're ready, folks.
- parenthood isn't always a walk in the park, but sometimes we get to take a walk in the park.

and have coffee! and scones! srsly, i have the best life ever.
- cloth diapering is completely and totally worth it. orange liquid newborn poo and all. and addicting! my newest hobby revolves around the basest of bodily functions, and yet i feel no shame. something about having an excuse to stockpile soft, absorbent fabrics and wrap my tiny beeb's bum in brightly colored, velcroed pants has me completely giddy.
- while pregnancy left me exhausted and uninspired, motherhood (despite its exhaustion and perpetual hands-occupying busyness) makes me want to do nothing more than make things. all day long. mostly stacks and stacks of fleece diaper inserts, prefolds and doublers. but there we go with the diapers again.

stacks and stacks of delicious diapering fabric, cut and ready to sew. yum.
 - i did not expect to hate breastfeeding. no one warns you before you have babies that breastfeeding totally sucks. we spent weeks fretting and wincing and crying, both the baby and i, before things got sorted out.
- i did not expect to love breastfeeding. the first six weeks were so overwhelmingly difficult, i feared i might never come around to enjoying breastfeeding the way so many other moms talk about it. but right around the 2 month mark things started to even out, and now i'm so happy to be able to be my baby's primary source of nourishment. in fact, i'm already started to dread moving on to solid foods and eventual weaning. why can't they just stay so tiny and lovely??
- becoming a stay-at-home mom feels like finally coming home after a long time abroad. it's not a popular move these days, but we're so happy we made the changes in our life that made it possible for me to be here full time. i'm so pleased to be able to be here with her, watching her grow and change and break my heart every day. we still haven't exactly worked out a daily routine just yet, which is making me twitch, but we're working on it. i can't wait to finally get good at this.
- i'm far more introverted than i ever imagined. so many moms told me they feel they couldn't handle staying home with a baby all day, that they feel they need to get out and interact with real, grown humans in order to stay sane. even i'm amazed at my ability to stay at home, without company other than baby, for seemingly days on end. we keep busy, for sure, which maybe makes a difference. and we spend plenty of time making trips to Target, our new favorite place in the whole world (they have Starbucks there! and family bathrooms! i can't imagine what more you could possibly want in life.) it's a simple existence, and i'm probably incredibly lame, but so far i'm even more okay with being a homebody than i imagined. and so far i'm totally okay with this.
- they really do grow up so fast! in what feels like the blink of an eye, our sweetest beeb has grown from very very tiny and so silly and skinny to a normal-looking, plump, happy baby. she's grown out of her newborn clothes completely now (except the teeny shoes. aww...) and is finally sporting a tiny belly and some totally delicious thigh and wrist rolls. we're falling more and more in love every day as she becomes more social and engaging. her giggles, squeals and smiles are more captivating than i could have ever imagined.

she's growing so fast, i find myself just staring in amazement, trying desperately to hang on to every sweet moment, every tiny detail. she'll be grown before we know it; there will be other babies for sure, but they will be different. they'll be tiny and cute and amazing, too, but entirely different. she'll never be this small again, and i find i spend most of my time these days just trying to drink it all in, every sweet-smelling, cozy little delicious moment. it's sad and somber and overwhelmingly joyful all at once, and it's the best life i could have ever imagined. ♥

Friday, May 4, 2012

2 Months ♥

My sweetest beeb,
You're 2 months old already! this post is a few days late, but you'll learn quickly that Mama could use work on self-imposed deadlines, birthdays and just about anything time-sensitive when it comes down to it. you're sleeping in your little swing right now (a rare occasion!) so I'm taking this tiny break to document how much you've grown. our little family has grown more lovely and amazing every day since you've arrived, and i want to try to wrap up these moments and keep them always. here is just a sampling of what our day-to-day is like, and how lovely you are and are becoming. you amaze us (and amuse us) more and more every day, and we love you so, so much.

my most beautiful baby. taken May 1st, 2012.

- we named you Olivia, but more often you answer to The 'Los (a derivative of Catlos, your name before you were born.) Others you answer to include Livvy, Liv (usually in the form of "sorry, Liv." when i run your car seat or stroller into door frames and the like), Losey 'Los, The Tiny Toast (also the Tiniest Toast), The Toasty 'Los, The Parcel Post and Catlos the Friendly Ghost.
- just a couple of weeks ago, you started laughing and smiling and cooing and breaking our hearts. we can't get enough of your huge gummy grins and enthusiastic wiggles and kicks. your favorite place to show off is the changing table. we have no idea why.
- at your appointment this week, the doctor was amazed at how beautiful, healthy and strong you are. your height, weight and head circumference are all now in the 50% percentile. you've been holding up your head and bearing weight on your legs from the start, which according to the doctor, is pretty impressive. (we're not surprised, we always knew you were ahead of the curve.)
- you're sleeping better and spending more quiet alert time these days, but you still don't like to be left alone for too long. occasionally you will nap long enough to let Mama get some laundry done or sew up some diaper doublers, but most of the day we spend attached at the hip. to be honest though, i couldn't think of a better sidekick, even if that does mean i have to put off a few chores or tasks.
- you LOVE music. sometimes in the evenings, you get bored and upset and the only thing that will calm you down is when your daddy turns on funk or soul and dances with you. (you are so obviously his daughter!) your favorites include Fiona Apple, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Basia Bulat, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Allman Brothers and anything with a decent bass.
- you're beginning to discover that you have hands. sometimes you seem to want to suck your thumb, but once you manage to get a hold of one fist, you don't seem to think it's very tasty. (we're okay with that, it's easier to take away a pacifier eventually.) :)
- you love to ride in the car and fall asleep nearly every time. this means you make a fantastic shopping buddy. (this also means we spend a lot of time at Target. no seriously, a LOT.)
- before you start to cry, you make the saddest, most perfect, heartbreaking frown. we basically die every time.
- you've outgrown most of your newborn clothes and are now mostly wearing 0-3 and 3 month sizes. we're so excited for the warm weather to get here (and stay) so we can dress you up in all your new pretty dresses!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


The sweet beeb herself: Olivia Aidan Lindell was born on March 1st at around 7:30 pm. She made her appearance at 7 lbs 14 oz. and 19 inches long. She immediately stole our hearts and hasn't stopped amazing (and amusing) us yet.

We're still waiting to figure out if the hospital noticed we took her home. (This all feels very illegal. Who would let us take a baby? Ridiculous!)
____ ___ __ _

ps - i suppose i should apologize for the late post. 7 weeks in is a little late for an introduction. but somehow, continuing to post without documenting her arrival felt ... awkward. :)