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January 2011

Oh dear little babies, you are not so little anymore. Just sorting through pictures of from one year ago brought me to tears. Your faces are the same, but not the same at all. I can remember every second of your delivery. I can remember exactly what I was thinking when I saw your sweet little faces for the first time.

I can remember hearing you cry for the first time, Ryan. I asked your daddy if this was all real. If you were real. If this was really happening. Feeling you leave my body and hearing your tiny voice for the first time was a complete out of body experience. I honestly never thought I'd get to be a mother. It has been a joy and a blessing. Every day I am thankful.

When it was your turn to be delivered Reese, I was so tired. I pushed even without contractions. I just wanted to see you, to know you were okay. When your head crowned, the doctor turned you and your daddy could see your face. You opened your eyes right away. I remember asking your daddy what you looked like. He could only cry and respond "she's beautiful". Little girl you are beautiful. Every single part of you.

The night we took you home from the hospital it was 9 degrees. We had you bundled so tightly and getting out of the maternity ward was such a debacle since you both had microchipped ankle bracelets and at least a dozen layers on top of your tiny limbs. Daddy and I had no idea how to get you into your car seats. The hospital staff kept trying to make me sit in a wheelchair and I had to put them in their places and let them know your safety was more important than my sitting in a chair with wheels. From the second I found out you were in my belly my whole life changed. You both took over my whole world, and everything I do is for you or with you in mind.

That first week was a blur of nursing, sleeping, burping, sleeping. Well, you guys slept. Daddy and I not so much. I think we were running on pure love back then. 

I remember thinking how crazy life was, how busy it became. How much work it was to parent! And you guys hadn't even started moving yet. I had no idea what we were really in for, that's for sure.

Reese, you poor thing, you had such bad colic and you were so uncomfortable. Your daddy used to walk around the house with your belly resting on his forearm. He'd just walk in circles carrying you for hours. I swear you and I both only survived those first two months with his help. You were both such good babies, just sweet and cuddly. Good eaters, good dispositions. We were so very blessed. 

That month you had your first baths in your new home. Daddy and I were so careful with your tiny little bodies. You were terrified and shivering. It was nothing like the happy, joyful, splashing bath times we have now. We felt so badly for you, but we had to clean your little parts. 

Those first few weeks you both slept the same way that you were in my belly. Ryan, you laid completely splayed out. And Reese, you slept in a tiny little ball with your hands over your face and your knees pulled up to your belly.

Reese, your favorite place to sleep back then was in Daddy's armpit. I think it was just a warm and small space for you to cuddle into. Daddy and I used to laugh because your head always smelled like Old Spice as a result.

Back then you both slept together in the bassinet of your pack and play right next to our bed. You were our tiny burrito babies. Of course, most nights one or both of you made it into our bed. We'd sleep completely at the edge to give you as much room as possible. Not even two feet tall and you took up a king sized bed.

Later that month we tried tummy time for the very first time. You two weren't so steady on your bellies. And for a while it looked like maybe you had fallen asleep, except for a whimper here and there or the wiggle of a tiny finger.

You both slept a lot back then and your Daddy and I got so much joy out of watching your little lips quiver and pout and smile in your sleep. The faces you'd make. I spent so many days trying to imagine what your little faces would look like. You looked nothing like I could ever imagine; you are both so much more beautiful than anything I ever pictured. 

It's almost a year later and we still find so much joy in holding you in our arms and watching your tiny faces as you sleep. There is a peace and a stillness that comes from feeling your warm breath on my neck, your tiny hands twitch on my chest, hearing the sounds of you sucking on your pacifiers slow down until there is nothing but quiet. 

Each time I get to sit with you in my lap and stroke your hair and hold your tiny little hands and breathe you in, I wonder what I did to deserve such happiness. 

A Happy and Holy New Year

Incline unto my aid, O God;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Deus, in adjutorium meum intende;
Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.
(Ps. 69:2)

11 Months Old

Our next monthday celebration will be counted in years. Twenty four Thirteen days to go (I started this post a long time ago, my life is in super slow mode). I can't even believe it.

Eleven months brought about tooth numbers 6, 7 and 8 for Ryan and tooth number 7 for Reese.

{ a little risky business, baby style }

Ryan is now up to three haircuts. Little guy's hair grows like a Chia Pet - fast and straight out! Miss Reese fell victim to Mommy's scissors as well. I was attempting a bang trim to keep her wispy hairs out of her eyes. She turned at the same time as I snipped, and instead of taking off the tips, we took off a few inches. All diagonally, of course. A few deep breaths later I was able to (mostly) straighten out her horrible hair cut. Thankfully it has grown back well and either it's hardly noticeable or I've gotten used to her Dorothy Hammil look.

{ sporting her terrible bangs }

My little puffle has really come into her own. She is the giggliest, squirmiest little girl you've ever met. Junior Miss is two feet of pure trouble. If I could define 11 months for that child in one word it would be curious.

She is into everything. Opening up drawers and pulling out everything inside, examining all of the contents piece by piece. Climbing on top of toys to see what's just out of sight. Standing on the very tip of her biggest toe to reach something on top of tables (she'll be an excellent ballet dancer some day!). Stripping toilet paper off of rolls. Pulling food out of the fridge. You name it, she's in to it.

Ryan is my little engineer. He is focused on and fascinated by how things work. Much of his day is spent stacking objects, fitting toys in their rightful place or, his very favorite activity, dropping something to observe how it will react and then crawling after it in order to drop it again. He's very into noises and sounds. How something sounds when it is tapped on the floor, the wall, another toy. How something sounds when it drops. What happens when two things clank together.

While Reese tends to focus on whatever it is she's doing, Ryan is observant of the whole space that he is in, from the floor to the ceiling. He's processing what things are and how they function.

I've been very surprised to see them catch on to how objects interact, open, close, function without any prodding or teaching from us.

Reese is our little bookworm. She's constantly pulling books off the shelf and pouring through them. She'll point to things inside the books, even though I'm quite sure she doesn't know what those things are. She loves to dance and bounce. If you tell her to dance she will do a little sumo squat thing and gyrate. Where did she learn that? I have no idea. The baby einstein puppets make her laugh her pants off. When she smiles she smiles crookedly, with her lower teeth shifted to the right. It's quite funny and I'm sure we'll see that crooked smile in many school pictures to come.

Ry continues to be my cuddly snuggly baby. He'll be standing up holding onto the coffee table, when all of the sudden he'll let go and lunge at your neck, nuzzle in and just hold on so very tight. He'll hug you for twenty minutes at a time, only stopping on occasion to pull back, look at you in the face and kiss you before returning to the crook of your neck for another hug. He is goofy beyond goofy. Always laughing. Loves to be tickled and thrown about and spun in the air.

That boy is absolutely fearless and seems to catch up with Reese developmentally at times out of sheer will and lots of courage. He went from doing the worm as his primary means of transportation to crawling on all fours to standing to jumping to CLIMBING to taking assisted steps all in a matter of 3 weeks. I was sure he'd walk after Reese, and he still may, but he caught up to her so quickly that it will be an interesting race.

Reese is very trepidatious. She enters new situations cautiously and, while she could easily be running already, she's only taken a few independent steps. She is literally too afraid to stand on her own two feet.

Ryan is a weird child. He does odd things all. the. time. I tell everyone he's my little goalie (if you know a hockey or lacrosse goalie, you understand exactly what I mean by that). He'll collect all of his toys and throw them in the dinosaur ball popper and then lean over the hole to allow everything in the dinosaur's belly to hit him in the face. Who does that? The other day I was sitting in a chair and he crawled up to me and started licking my leg like a cat. Strange little bird he is.

My favorite part of the space between ten and eleven months was definitely the babies' full acknowledgement of one another. They went from playing with the same toy or toy stealing to actually playing and interacting with one another. Reese will walk around the coffee table and Ryan will crawl full speed after her and try to bite her heels. She never laughs harder than she does when they play together. The love and patience they have for one another makes my heart swell.

I can't believe we are rounding out our first year as a family.

{ last year, 35 weeks pregnant }

{ this year, two 11.5 month olds }

Cheers to eleven months and happy new year to you and yours!

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