One Week Old Already

It’s so hard to imagine that it has already been a week since my littlest nephew was born. Ana and I were both needing a baby fix so we headed to the coast for the day. Silas (Darcie and Jake are planning to call him by his middle name) has already changed so much in just a week.

It was amazing to watch my little sister be a mom, and I will be the first to admit that she has really found her stride. Silas is already a pro at nursing and Darcie attends to his every need without batting an eye.

Ana made sure she got in plenty of cuddles and kisses. She didn’t even mind having to be the noise police and said, “Shhh! The baby is sleeping!” I know she is going to be a great big sister when the time comes…and I’m thankful she has a cousin to borrow until then!

You can see all the pictures from our visit here. Enjoy!

My Little Gardener

We had a break in the weather the other day and Ana and I decided to do a little gardening. I do not have a “green thumb” by any means, but I don’t want to let that prevent Ana from experiencing the magic of watching things bloom around her. I took Ana with me to Lowe’s and let her pick out the flowers. She was very excited that they came in so many varieties and colors. She finally decided on one blue and one purple Cineraria.

Then once we were back home, we gathered up her own personal tools (that we picked up at Target awhile back just for such an occasion) and the toddler gardening gloves with Dora on them (from Lowe’s).

Then we started gardening…

Ana’s favorite part was getting to pat down the dirt while wearing her new Dora gloves. She loved the fact that her hands stayed nice and clean inside the gloves.

Then we filled up Ana’s elephant watering can and she gave the freshly planted flowers their first drink of water.

I set a couple silly fogs on the edge of the planter to add a whimsical touch and Ana was thrilled! Here is our finished project.

Not bad for someone without the gardener’s touch, eh? Now if only I can manage to keep them alive…

It’s a boy!

Introducing my newest nephew, Justin Silas Shirk.

Justin was born today, March 24th, 2009. Darcie’s water broke at home at 9:30pm last night and he was born almost exactly 12 hours later at at 9:38am. He was delivered via c-section after his heartbeat started to drop and they decided to get him out fast. Good thing they did, because he had the cord wrapped around his head several times! He was 7lbs 5.5 oz and 20.5″ long.

Darcie, Jake and Justin are all doing wonderfully and couldn’t be happier.

Justin spent the first hours of his life surrounded by family and was instantly a crowd pleaser. We all took turns holding him and admiring his tiny fingers and toes, tickling his chubby cheeks, and touching his soft brown hair.

Ana loves her new cousin very much. She was very excited to meet him and wanted to hold him right away. As soon as he was on her lap she leaned over to him and said, “You’re my cousin.” Then kissed him on the cheeked and said, “You’re so soft.” And she was hooked.

You can see all the pictures of our day at the hospital over here. Enjoy!

A Letter: Twenty-Seven Months

Dear Ana,
Today you turn twenty-seven months old. It has been such an amazing month that I sit back and marvel at how much you have grown, matured. Sure, as I write this I can hear you upstairs in your crib singing and talking to your stuffed animals, but I blame the sleeplessness on daylight savings time. Whoever thought that stuff up was clearly not a parent. Change the time just when schedules get perfected? MADNESS. But you seems to roll with it pretty well. In fact, (and I know I am going to jinx it by even mentioning it, but I am nothing if not daring) even with DST thrown in the mix, you go to sleep perfectly. A few weeks ago I finally weened you (I know.) and you handled it perfectly (had I known how easy it would be, I wouldn’t have put it off for so long). Every night I read you a bedtime story, you climb off my lap, walk over to your crib then I lay you in bed and you tell me good night. End of story. You could not be an easier child when it comes to bedtime. And for that I will always be eternally grateful.

Many things in your life are continually evolving, but your love of babies hasn’t changed at all. You have a baby with you as often as allowable and are constantly mirroring all my parenting techniques. I over hear you asking your baby if she needs to go potty, just about as often as you remind her not to climb or jump on the furniture. You reassure her when she falls down and encourage her that she can do it when she tries something new. While it is the more adorable thing ever, I also find it very comforting to know that you are actually listening when I talk to you.

The only twist on your baby obsession is that you have recently started talking about your “brother and sister.” The only logical assumption I can come to is that for awhile there you were only talking about sisters (a lot of your friends have baby sisters) and I wanted you to be aware that they did come in the boy variety, so we would try to mention baby brothers from time to time. But instead of rotating between sister and brother, you just tacked a brother on to the mix. The obsession finally peaked when we were walking through the Dollar Store when you spotted the bin of baby dolls. You instantly ran up, grabbed a baby wearing blue and a baby wearing purple, wrapped them in a bear hug and exclaimed, “It’s my brother and sister!” I heard a giggle from behind us and turned around to see a little old lady who witnessed the entire thing and she smiled at us and said, “I’m sorry but that was the cutest thing I have ever seen.” Needless to say, after that we had to buy both babies and you now have a brother and sister that you like to introduce to everyone that comes to our house.

Another little quirk you have developed is telling us that everything you enjoy is your favorite. You taste something you like and say, “It’s my favorite!” You see a toy at the store and hint, “But it’s my favorite.” Whatever shirt I select for you to wear you reassure me that it’s your favorite. I really enjoy seeing you get so much satisfaction out of discovering things that are important to you and watching you develop your own personal preferences. I also find it very entertaining when you try something you don’t like because you are very quick to tell me, “Mama, this is NOT my favorite.”

Yesterday while we were driving in the car we had the following conversation:

Ana: Mama, I’m mad.
Me: Oh no. Can you be happy now?
Ana: No. I’m not done being mad yet.
Me: Is there anything I can do to make you happy?
Ana: Yeah…
Me: What is it?
Ana: I know…Chapstick!

This conversation sums up a huge “favorite” of yours. You have a serious Chapstick addiction. So much that you would go through an entire tube in an hour, if we let you. Sure, most of it would be smeared across your face and stuck in your teeth, but it would be gone nonetheless. Your father and I finally decided it had gone far enough and took away your Chapstick privileges. We now use Chapstick only as a potty training reward and so far (when we remember to use it) it works out great. But I still have to keep an eye on you because you know where all my Chapsticks are hidden around the house.

While I am always amazed by the things you are up to these days, watching your social interactions, compared to those of your peers, truly astounds me. The fact that you have social skills and conversations at all is impressive in and of itself. You are always saying, “What you talkin’ about guys?” to your dad and I until we stop and include you in our discussion. Where I though you were thinking about something else or playing mindlessly with your toys, you were in fact listening to everything we were talking about and actually taking it all in. I have to think that the fact that we do include you probably has a lot to do with your advancements in this particular area. But you are just so interesting to talk to, I can’t imagine wanting to leave you out of the discussion!

At this age, almost everything we do is a learning opportunity and you thrive on every bit of it. You are always asking me how things work and if you don’t know how to do something instead of making me do it for you, you ask, “Can you show me how to do it?” I am so happy to teach you and watch you absorb all the information around you. The world is an amazing place and I am so excited that you love it every bit as much as I do. But it is also really exciting when you ask me what something is, and then once I tell you, you quickly turn to your father and say, “It’s a ____, Dad!” Because really, knowledge isn’t worth anything if you aren’t willing to share it with someone else.

While you are happy to be included, you aren’t afraid to be on your own. In fact, you can be quite the Little Miss Independent. You are always wanting to do things on your own or by yourself. I really encourage this behavior and if I know you are capable of doing something, I make sure you do it whenever possible. But your independence really took me off guard last week when you were just standing in the living room, gripping the table and I asked you if you were ok. You looked over at me and said, “I’m still poopin’ Mom. I need some privacy.”

I love the fact that I am able to stay home and raise you. That I get to enjoy all the little moments of each day that truly make up the person that you are and the woman that you will one day become. It has been yet another amazing month, and sure there are moments where I stick my earbuds in my ears and turn up the volume so I can pretend that I am someone else, anywhere else, but I wouldn’t even change those moments. Because it’s all the pieces put together that make up the whole puzzle. Where at the end of the day I can step back, look over our day and honestly say that today was the best day ever. And it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for you. You amaze me and quite simply, you make everything so much better. Thank you, Ana, my precious baby girl.

All my love,

Ana sings her ABC’s

Ana has been very interested in singing lately. Her repertoire generally includes “Twinkle, Twinkle,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and an assortment of songs we sing at Gymboree. I pretty much hear singing during each of her every waking hours. She took a liking to the ABC’s awhile back, but generally got as far as “A, B, C, D” and wanted to skip right to “Now I know my ABC’s.” But I didn’t push it, wanting her to figure things out at her own pace and have a chance to enjoy learning. So you can imagine my surprise when she was playing with one of her friends a week or so ago and I overheard her sing the song all the way through. And it was correct! I have spent the last week trying to get her to do it on video, but she gets so distracted (and goofy!) in front of the camera that it has taken me a million several takes. This is as good as it’s gonna get for now. But you get the idea. Enjoy!