We are so thankful for you this Christmas Eve, and the two months we've been blessed to have you in our family. In so many ways it feels like we've known you so much longer than two months, and in other ways the time has definitely flown by. Gone are the days of the floppy, sleepy newborn, and we now have quite the bouncing baby! You are getting so big - I can't wait to see how much you weigh at your appointment. You have the most adorable rolls on your arms and thighs, and your tummy is so chunky and cute. That double chin and those cheeks are too much - you even have another nickname already, but I'll get to that in a minute.
Your alertness grows and grows. You are starting to try to find your thumb. You get really frustrated, but it is also so cute!! You can really focus on certain things, and you love to talk, babbling on and on. You talk the most when you are on your tummy and in your crib. You have the sweetest voice, Madeleine. Your dad and I just hear you and melt. Someday we will understand you, but for now we will take the sweet baby talk. You are also smiling so much more now - we love it! You do so well out in public, even now, in busy December, but you also love those recharging days when we just stay home.
You continue to eat and sleep so well! You are a great napper, going down easily during the day, and you sleep for nice long stretches at night, already going 12 hours between feedings at night - 8pm - 8am. Some nights you still wake up around 4 or 5 to snack a bit. Our biggest challenge continues to be bedtime. You are (at this point) unfortunately a night owl like your mom. We feed you around 8...it's dark and quiet, you're in your PJs...we put you down. Many nights you'll go to sleep for about an hour, some nights not at all, but you don't typically go down for the night until anywhere from 10:30 to 1am! We don't know what your deal is, but the good news is you are typically happy to just lay in your crib and play/babble yourself to sleep eventually. We are debating starting your bedtime routine at 3pm, just to get you to sleep at a reasonable hour. :) Just kidding.
Here's a list of "firsts" for your second month:
First surprise - on Thanksgiving we surprised the Whites and took a day trip to Cleburne. It was our year to be with them, but we changed our plans when we thought you were coming in November. It was so much fun to put your carrier on Aunt Heather's doorstep and ring the doorbell and hide. Your Nana just cried and cried, and everyone loved having you there on Thanksgiving.
First road trips - both to Cleburne on Thanksgiving, and then to College Station. We went with Miss Cindy and Jake, and we had lunch with Miss Jamie. You were so good, and you and Jake were so cute hanging out in the backseat. You slept in the car and Jake just stared at you - not used to having company back there!
First slumber party - we've gotten to spend the night at your Granna and Grandad's house a few times. This is where you first slept through the night in your mom's old Moses basket from Mexico. I kept waking up just thinking you were going to want to eat soon, but nope - you kept sleeping!
First lovie - this cute little lamb with a satin-y tummy. We'll see if it "sticks," if not we have lots of other animals you will love.
First time to hold hands with a boy - Madeleine, some of the big kids have really just taken to you. Avery loves to play with you, and so do Elizabeth and Micah. You even got to meet Emma - she came all the way from Waco to see you. Her family is very special to us - your mommies and your Granna and Mama Lou have been friends for a very long time. Avery and Micah say your name so sweetly, and when we were at the Saxes, Micah wanted to hold your hand while his mommy was holding you. Your daddy kept an eye on him though. I think you made quite the impression when you filled up a diaper at their house. You made such a mess that Miss Ally had to give you a bath in their sink! We'll save more holding hands for a few years down the line, what do you think?
First time to Memorial Park - last Saturday we had such fun going to the park as a family. You did great in the jogging stroller. Next we went to Barnaby's for breakfast. Dad had blueberry pancakes, and you got to eat too!
First nickname - well, it's not really your first - your dad and I have lots of silly little nicknames for you - Madeleinsky, Madestinksky, Chunky Chicken, Lovie, whatever strikes our fancy :). Your Grandad started calling you "Cachetes" (Ca - CHE - tess) which is Spanish for "cheeks." Imagine that.
Between holiday festivities at MOPS on Dec. 1 and our church's women's Christmas banquet last night, my spirit is full and it's only Dec. 3!
The women's banquet was "decorate your own table" and our table WON! No thanks to me - I'll tell you right off the bat I had zero involvement really - mainly because Madeleine was so little when all the planning was going on, but major hats off to Tiffany and Erin for getting things going, and all the other ladies for their contributions. Erin sewed our placemats, napkins, cute cupcake ornaments, etc. and Ally made these cute place cards/napkin rings. Each table was beautiful, and I am already brainstorming for next year! Here's our table and another one of the tables for our Sunday school class. I didn't get a pic of our third table. :(
Our speakers were Nancy Monarch who talked about peace and our pastor's sweet wife Kelly Matte who talked about joy. (Our "hope" speaker was out sick.) The holidays, for some folks, can be the most difficult time to find peace - whether it is because of family drama or stressing out about unrealistic expectations or insecurities. AMEN! We need to relax! Kelly gave a great example about the joy of the season - it is so overwhelmingly wonderful - we have a Savior! He has come to take away our sins and give us eternal life with him. A staple for Christians, but it shouldn't lose it's excitement. She compared our joy as Believers to our "good dishes" in a china hutch. Oh we know they are there, but we save them for special occasions (too rare!) or we forget about them. She encouraged us to enjoy the promise of this season and to share it with others.
In honor of that, and because I just love drinking from a pretty cup, I decided to have my coffee in my china this morning.
It was such a sweet time of fellowship, I just love each and every woman in our class. So many different personalities and beautiful stories - I have learned so much from them, especially in this season of becoming a new mom. These ladies have prayed for me and encouraged me in more ways than I could've ever imagined.
I'll leave you with the beautiful hymn Kelly quoted - "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" written in the 1700s.
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring. By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.
I love how God is using this tiny baby to purge me of so much selfishness in my life of which I was previously unaware. Day by day, Cason and I are being changed and understanding so much more about parenting and sacrificial love. People say you don't appreciate your parents fully until you become a parent. I always heard that, but thought "Oh I love em so much now, I know what they did for my sisters and I, etc etc." Surprise, surprise, I was wrong. :)
When our pediatrician said I could start pumping for bottles for Madeleine, my mom was telling me about how she waited too long and I wouldn't take a bottle, so she nursed me for my entire first year. Jokingly, I said "Mom you must've had no life." She looked at me, and very thoughtfully but matter-of-factly said "You were my life." Those words really resonated with me. They have been echoing through my heart since that conversation. I think when I thought about becoming a mom, I thought about making major changes to my life or making her a big part of my life, but not the sacrifice it would take to really have her be my life. There have been lots of things that have come up with Madeleine - I have mentioned them to mom and she would empatheically but practically say "Oh you and your sisters used to do that all the time." Sorry, mom. :)
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should forfeit everything for our babies - our relationships with the Lord, our marriages, our identities, our interests, our friends...but it takes more sacrifice than I bargained for. Especially in these first few weeks - she cries and I am up, trying to solve whatever quandary in which she's found herself, even if that's spitting out her pacifier 5 times during one nap. I thought I would be so much more productive as a stay-at-home-mom, but there's no more "I'm just going to run to the store real quick," or "I think I'll put up Christmas decorations/clean the bathrooms/make dinner." Things get done in pieces and they take a lot longer than they used to. As her schedule is refined and she grows, I might be able to get more done someday...maybe not. I know all you veteran moms out there are chuckling to yourselves, maybe remembering the moments when you learned this lesson. Oh how valuable it is, but how difficult. Brokenness from the Lord is such a blessing, but the process is not always so much fun.
The good news is, Madeleine did keep me company as I decorated the house for Christmas. It wasn't the day after Thanksgiving, and it took a lot longer, but this is my life now, and I'm thrilled to be her mom.
I can't believe you are one month old today! You have grown up so much since we brought you home from the hospital.
God is using you, baby girl. He is already using you to teach your parents about selflessness, humility and letting go of control. Your mom prays so much more now. :) How can someone so tiny bring us to a place of such inadequacy, apart from the Lord? Oh it's hard but it is refreshing. Our lives are completely revolving around you right now. He is using you to bless your parents and other family and friends. You are such a source of joy, sweet girl! I am thrilled when you go down for your nap or go to bed for the night, but I get excited to see you again when you wake up because I miss you!
Your favorite accessories are your hats, your pacifiers and Mom's Moby wrap. You feel so warm and secure in your hats - falling asleep quickly and generally being comfortable in them. In the past few days it's been quite warm so you haven't been wearing them as much, but generally you love them! Your pacifiers are a hot commodity. Some days you don't want them, but most days you do. Some days you are very practical with your pacifiers - many times you suck on them simply until you feel appropriately soothed, then you spit them out right before you fall asleep. The Moby wrap might actually be your mom's favorite accessory. You get in that thing and get all snuggled up - you go right to sleep, making trips to Target or Kroger a piece of cake!
You've gotten so much more interactive. You gave me your first big smile this morning when I got you out of your crib and put you on your changing table. You are making so many fun noises - little grunts and squeals, and they are so cute! You make so many facial expressions, and you show me with your face exactly how you are feeling - especially when you take your vitamin D each morning. Yuck, mom! You enjoy looking at mobiles or even brightly colored fabric. Erin made you a bird mobile, but you also love staring at the beautiful quilt she made. I've been leaving it draped over your crib when we aren't playing on it - that way you get to just stare at it. You love your crib. Sometimes I can put you in there and you will stay in there, quite content, for a good while. As long as there is music on and you can stare at something lovely, you are a happy camper.
You are sleeping and eating so well! Your schedule is still pretty malleable - you'll fool me and have the exact same schedule for 5 days in a row, then you'll change it. It's not a big deal though - you eat about every 3-4 hours in the day, and you give me at least one long stretch at night of 6-7 hours. That makes me a happy mama! You love your bottle time with your dad when he feeds you at night. We are also wondering if you are outgrowing your swaddle - sometimes you love it, but many times you love to wriggle your way out.
You are so strong! At your 2-week appointment, Dr. Koush recommended starting tummy time, and we do that every day. You enjoy your playmat and you just stare at everything dangling from the top of it. Your attention span has grown in such a short time. I was quite amused when you discovered your reflection. You also love bathtime, and I love your sweet baby smell.
You've had lots of doting visitors - our loving friends and family. Our Veritas friends have been an incredible blessing, bringing us so many meals. I have not cooked since you were born (that will change as I make some Thanksgiving contributions!) Just this past weekend your Great Grandma Carole and your Great Aunt Jessie and Great Aunt Sylvia came to visit all the way from Plano and Austin. We had so much fun together! Your AJ came home from Baylor and hung out with you today - she sang you to a sweet, peaceful sleep.
Your Great Grandma Carole got you this hat and a shirt that say "Born to Read." She's a retired librarian and has already gotten you so many good books!
I love getting to know you, Madeleine Annmarie. Thanks for letting me hang out with you all the time.
I never thought I would say this, but I love watching my husband fall in love with someone else...our sweet daughter. This man is just smitten with our little girl, and I know he will continue to be such an amazing influence in her life. He sings to her, talks to her and just does such a good job loving on her. He even comes home from work to have lunch with us. I am forever grateful.
This is when they first met:
This is when they cheered on the Rangers to the World Series:
They love morning cuddles:
I pump a bottle/day so that Cason and Madeleine can have a meal together - this was the first one:
Reading a book:
Time for a walk:
Madeleine, you are one lucky little lady to have Cason for your dad. :)