December 30, 2014

Looking Back: November {Eloise at 6 Months}

On November 15, five days before Eloise turned six months, she finally figured out rolling from back to tummy.  Unlike some milestones, that creep in unnoticed, this one was like a dramatic switch was flipped!  The chilled out, laid back, happy to stay in one place and play with one toy baby had turned into a little girl on the move.  Interested in everything around her, and now with the ability to go after it, she was in a whole new world.  

She continues to get stronger and stronger sitting up too, and is grabbing at toys, playing with things and gnawing on everything. While she lights up with a little extra joy and recognition at her family (and most especially Clara, of course), she doesn't seem to exhibit any fear of strangers and is still happy to be passed all around.  She's social (hard to believe in this family, huh?) and recognizes her name.

Her favorite form of communication is the squawk.  In the weeks leading up to her six month birthday, she was not sleeping especially well at night (although she's a pretty good napper!), but right at six months we cut her off from nighttime feeding and did a little mini-boot camp and her night sleeping improved.

She loves her lovies and her pacis and is becoming more and more engaged in books (she has to listen to her sister be read to a lot!).  She's snuggly and squishy and does usually does really well in the car, in the stroller, in the ergo, on the go.

Her eyes are continuing to darken; it looks like she'll definitely be our brown eyed-girl. And her hair is dark, too and starting to really come in.  No teeth yet, but surely any day now as she's really working on the bottom ones.

She loves her bath, kicking and splashing.  She's not nursing as much these days.... too distracted in all the world around her.  We waited until six months to start any solid food, but a few days after she hit six months, we finally began.

She's full of laughter, full of personality, and full of love. And our hearts are full of love for her. Can't believe we're already halfway through her first year!

Thanks be to God!

December 29, 2014

Looking Back: November {Eloise's Dedication}

This event was too important to lump into the big November post.  On November 2, we joined our families and church family in dedicating Eloise to the Lord.  I know that I talk a lot about how important our church is to us, and moments like this is really hits.  It's incredible to me to think about how in this sacred space I have been baptized, married, ordained as a deacon, and dedicated both of my children's lives.  That's a lot of sacred ritual for one place and one body.

Eloise means healthy and Ann means grace.  Her life so far has been an incredible testament to both those meanings.  She has brought so much healing and redemption for me as a mother to experience all things typical and healthy and whole.  If that's not grace, I don't know what is.  

Here's what I wrote to Dr. Bob when he asked to hear a little about Eloise and our hopes for her: 

"Eloise has been a great joy for us, especially given the difficult start we had with Clara.  This taste of "normal" has been very redemptive and healing for us all.  She is truly the happiest baby that I have ever known, content to be held and talked to by anyone.  She is flexible and easy-going and so laid back.  We are blessed by her sweet and gentle spirit.  We love squishing her rolls, hearing her laugh, and seeing her whole face light up with smiles.  It has been an enormous joy to watch Clara love on her little sister and to see their sisterly relationship already begin to blossom into something that we hope they will both always treasure.  We hope that Eloise will always know how much she was prayed for and desired, how special she is, and how deeply we adore her.  Her very presence reminds us of God's grace and love.  We hope that she will grow to learn that God's love is the greatest gift to any of us and that she'll love others well because of it."  

We were so thankful that all four of her grandparents, all four of her aunts and uncles, and all four of her cousins were with us to celebrate this sacred day.  We were also especially thankful that Ken Meyers, our associate pastor was able to be a part of the service.  He retired soon after, but since he did Robert's and my pre-marital counseling, helped marry us, and dedicated Clara, he has felt like an especially significant part of our young family's beginnings.  He will be deeply missed.  The rest of our church family all stood with us and promised to help us raise Eloise in the church, to teach her the stories of our faith, to show her Jesus' love, and to pray for and wait for the day that she might accept Jesus and join us in baptism and communion.  

Eloise smiled and gazed at the congregation throughout the dedication.  She was her normal happy, alert, social self and it was fun to share her with the folks who will play a special role in her upbringing.  They did a really lovely job of including Clara in the service, too.  She was presented with a special KBC teddy bear and joined us up front. For Eloise, we got a Bible and a certificate.  Many many thanks to Stephen Ball for the photos of the service.  

Eloise wore the same dress that Clara wore to be dedicated in, a gift from their great-great Aunt Shirley and Uncle Cedric.  This bonnet was mine.

After the service, Aunt Trina helped put together an absolutely beautiful and delicious lunch for our families.  I am so grateful for her hospitality!

Thanks be to God.
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