Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cherishing Each Moment

My sweet Chloe at only 2 months. 

I love watching Chloe blossom into a toddler, but when I look at this picture of her sweet face at only 2 months old I cant help but feel overwhelmed with emotion. In a few short weeks she will be one year old. Chloe is so much different now then when I took this picture of her, she is no longer a newborn, no longer and infant, she is a toddler. A toddler so full of curiosity and wonder, hungry for the world around her. Everyday she becomes more and more independent, more stubborn, more talkative, more expressive. It honestly blows my mind how quickly she grew and how fast this year flew by.

If I could give just one advice to a new Mom or an expecting Mother it would be this - be present in every single moment with your child, cherish each and every moment you spend with them, even the most difficult ones because before you know it your little newborn baby wont be a baby anymore.... and you can never get that time back.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chloe Eats: Breakfast

I'm excited to announce that I am starting a new series here on the blog called Chloe Eats. I was inspired by the blog ohdeardrea after reading a few of her posts about what her daughter Marlowe eats. I'm always looking for new healthy foods to give Chloe so please feel free to share what your child eats for breakfast!

On this particular Saturday morning Chloe had blueberries, half a banana, and an organic flax seed waffle with organic coconut oil for breakfast. She ate everything except for the banana which she ended up sharing with my parents dog Ozzy! Bananas are a hit or miss with Chloe, some days she loves them and other days she wont even touch them, either way I still try to offer them to her from time to time.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Good Music: The Shins

Happy Monday, hope everyone has had a wonderful, long, Memorial Day weekend! Today I'm featuring another favorite of mine, The Shins.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

On My Heart

This is one of my favorite pictures of my sweet Chloe, in it she's not even a month old yet. It feels like forever ago since she was that small and new. I never realized how quickly time goes by once you have a child, but it does. It goes by quicker then I ever imagined it would, quicker then I could ever even explain to someone. 

As we approach Chloe's 1st birthday I cant help but think about this exact time last year, how both Mike and I were filled to the brim with excitement and nervousness as we waited patiently for the day Chloe would make her grand entrance into this beautiful world. I think about how completely unaware we both were of the journey that laid out before us, how becoming a parent would change us, change our relationship, change our life in the most beautiful way. 

In no way am I saying that this has been an easy year for both Mike and I, that becoming parents has come completely natural to us. The truth is this year has been the hardest year of my life, and the hardest year on my marriage. But at the same time this year has been the most beautiful, life changing, wonderful year of my life and I cant stop thanking God for bringing this beautiful, special little girl into our lives! 

I love where we are at right now,  nothing in this world that's worth having comes easy.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chloe Madison: The Meaning of Her Name

Even in her ultrasound pictures she looks like a Chloe Madison

The name Chloe means verdant and blooming, it is from the Greek origin. The name Madison means Son of Matthew, it is from the English origin.

We thought of the name Chloe Madison before my 20 week gender ultrasound, both Mike and I really wanted to be able to call our baby by his or her name even while they still were going inside the womb.

Honestly not a whole lot went into naming Chloe. We wanted our daughter's name to be beautiful, elegant, and a little unique, also something that would fit her, her whole life. Both Mike and loved the name Chloe and thought the meaning of it was beautiful and perfect for our little girl. A few other names I liked (and still like) were Scarlet, Willow and Rose. Coming up with Chloe's middle name was a little harder for us though. The only name I could really think of that sounded good was Elizabeth but then Mike suggested the name Madison and I fell in love with it.

I'd love to hear about how you came up with your son or daughters name and what's the meaning of their name. Leave me a comment below sharing your story!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Birthday Planning: Part 2

I honestly cant believe that my sweet, little Chloe will be turning one in only 23 days, and that in 25 days our family and friends will join together to celebrate this momentousness milestone in my little girls life.  As we are getting closer and closer to her party I have been doing a lot more planning and organizing and brainstorming.

 At times I notice myself feeling overwhelmed, this is the first birthday party I have ever thrown and since its for my daughter I want it to be perfect and special. I know she wont remember her first birthday and I know that this is probably more for us then it is for her but I keep imagining one day Chloe will love looking through all the pictures we have of her when she was a baby and of her first birthday and together we can smile and laugh and share the story of her very first birthday and how special it is for us to celebrate the day she came into this world.

With all that being said we still plan to keep her party very causal and relaxed with little pops of color, flowers, and girlyness scattered all around. Here is a list of what we have done thus far and what we plan on finishing soon!

:: Guest list is complete but I still need a few addresses.

:: This weekend we will be taking pictures of Chloe for the invitation. We still need to get a few props for her photoshoot though.

:: We bought Chloe's birthday dress this past weekend from Baby Gap! It's so adorable! We also plan to use it for her invitation picture.

:: These are the sandals Chloe's going to wear to her party, also from Baby Gap.

:: Still need to buy a cute headband for Chloe to wear with her outfit.

:: Working on the wording for the invitations.

:: We are planning to have a barbecue and will be asking everyone to bring a dish to share.

:: We are pretty certain we know where we will be getting Chloe's cake from.

As of right now this is what I have planned, I still have a lot more to do but I am getting there, slowly! I will feel much better about everything once we have the invitations done and sent out as well as purchasing/making the decorations and party supplies!

If you have any tips or advice for me please feel free to share, I am pretty knew to planning a party!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Song: Hold On

" So, Bless my hear and Bless my mind.
I got so much to do, I ain't got much time
So, must be someone up above saying
" Come on girl! You got to get back up! "
" You got to hold on..."
" Hey, you got to hold on... "

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Learning To Say Yes

This morning as Chloe and I sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast together she reminded me of something that was very important to me. After giving Chloe a few bites of yogurt she wanted to feed herself. My first reaction was no, I didn't want her to feed herself because I knew she would get really messy and I didn't want to spend the extra time cleaning her up. But then I looked at my daughter who is so full of curiosity, who just wants to play and learn and explore and I realized I had forgotten one of the most important things to me regarding Motherhood, saying yes instead of no.

There she sat in her highchair with a cup of yogurt in one and hand and a spoon in the other, happy has can be just feeding herself. In that moment I got to witness Chloe learn, and play and become one step closer to an independent toddler. I love moments like those, seeing Chloe learn and grow but its so easy for me to get caught up in my own agenda and miss out on these important moments for Chloe. 

I want to be the kind of Mom that says yes instead of constantly saying no. Obviously I'm not going to say yes to anything that could be dangerous and harmful but I will say yes to activities that make Chloe happy, that help her learn and discover more of who she is. Like letting her feed herself, or staying at the park for a few more minutes then I wanted to because Chloe's having so much fun, or letting her play with paint and paper even though that means extra cleanup for me.

I am so grateful for this lesson today, to be reminded of the kind of Mother I want to be. To see my daughter grow and experience precious moments in life is so refreshing to me, it opens my eyes and I too take the time to slow down, to forget about my schedule and agenda and really, really enjoy those simple yet precious moments in life, like the one in that picture above.

Monday, May 14, 2012

11 Months Old

Today my daughter is 11 months old.... I just cant believe how quickly these past months have gone by. Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that Chloe was born but most of the time it feels like she's been here forever with us, filling our days with more love and happiness then we even know what to do with. This little girl has enriched our lives in more ways then I could ever even say.

This has been a busy month full of learning and growing for Chloe.

Here's whats new with my little love:

:: Can stand up on her own for long periods of time

:: Has taken 3 steps and is getting closer and closer to full on walking everyday

:: Chloe still loves to cruise from object to object

:: Can climb up and down the stairs

:: Chloe loves to clap and hear others clap

:: She will start clapping if you say "yay" and "good job"

:: Loves to share her food and toys with us and loves when you thank her for sharing!

:: Chloe loves being around people and is still extremely outgoing

:: When Chloe meets someone she will stick out her hand to them as if to hi!

:: Chloe really enjoys looking through books and hearing us read to her

:: She is babbling so much these days, you can have a full on conversation with her but you just cant 
understand what she is saying!

:: Chloe has said Hi and Hello a few times now

:: Loves dancing to music

:: Has been trying to put on her own shoes

Chloe's last check up was at 9 months old, at the time she weighed 21.03 lbs and was 29 inches long so I can only imagine she is bigger now. Chloe sure seems much longer and heavier these days! Chloe is still wearing size 4 diapers and is in 12-18 and 18-24 months clothes. This past month Chloe got 4 new teeth giving her a total of 10 teeth now! She has handled teething incredibly well and I honestly believe its because of the amber necklace she wears every day and night. Chloe's hair is getting longer and waiver and its so pretty but sometimes it looks like she has constant bedhead!

Food / Sleep:
Baby led weaning is still going really well! Chloe is eating 3 meals a day and a few small snacks, she is also still nursing often throughout the day. Some new foods she has tried this past month are waffles, watermelon, pasta with marinara sauce, homemade sweet potato fries and peas. Chloe's favorite foods to eat are grilled chicken, avocado, carrots, peas, pasta, rice, cheese, banana, grapes, yogurt, corn, waffles and sweet potato fries.

Sleep has been amazing these days! Chloe usually takes two naps a day and goes down for bed very easily at night. For a few months we were really struggling getting Chloe to bed so for her to be sleeping better these days is amazing!

Its incredibly difficult for me to not get emotional thinking about my sweet Chloe turning 1 next month. I never knew time would go this fast. I'm so grateful that I have gotten to spend everyday with my little love and have been here for all her firsts. Motherhood is an incredible, beautiful, wild journey and I am so forever grateful that God chose this journey for me!

Happy 11 months Chloe, I love you sweet baby girl!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dear Chloe: Because of You

To my dear sweet Chloe,
Because of you I am a Mother
Because of you I hold this day, Mothers day so close to my heart
Because of you my life is filled with so much love and joy and happiness
Because of you I have learned so much about myself and the woman I wish to be
Because of you I now understand how much God truly loves me
Because of you my heart is filled with an overflowing love
Because of you I am a Mother

Thank you my sweet child for choosing me to me your Mother, for filling my days with more love and happiness then I even know what to do with. 
Thank you for being you
my little love

Love you always and forever


Friday, May 11, 2012

Breakfast With Great Grandma And Other Life Happenings

Instagram photo's @ beforeverlovely

This morning Chloe and I went out for breakfast to a cute little place called Egg Shells with my grandma (Chloe's Great Grandma). We had such a wonderful morning filled with laughter, good food, and great conversation. As I write this I am filled with so much love and appreciation for my family. There are not enough words I can say to express the pure gratitude I feel to be living near my family again! 
I have missed moments like these so very much!

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous this week so Chloe and I have been spending most of our time at the nearby parks. Last night after dinner Mike and I took Chloe to the park for a little bit and had such a fun time playing in the warm sunshine.

And here are a few pictures from Chloe and I's trip to the park earlier this week!

Its been a wonderful, fun week and I am so excited for this weekend and to be celebrating Mothers Day on Sunday.  I hope everyone has an amazing weekend and a lovely Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Answers To Your Questions

Thanks for the great questions ladies, here are my answers! If you have any questions for me after reading this post please feel free to ask them in a comment below and I will make another post answering them!

I'm just curious how Chloe handled the move, and how everyone is transitioning. I hope you all are doing well, although it certainly sounds like you guys are having a great time in your new home. Hope you have an awesome weekend!

Thanks Stephanie! It feels really incredible to be back in Chicago. I am so grateful for my experience in Seattle but it honestly didn't feel like home to me. Chicago feels like home and I am so glad Mike and I made the decision to move back and raise Chloe here! For the most part the transition has been fairly easy, as most of you know we are living with my family for the time being until we get on our feet. I think this is a great opportunity to get to know my parents and brother and sister again but of course we are excited to move out and get a place of our own hopefully sometime soon.

Chloe feeding my parents dog Ozzy!

Chloe has handled the move amazingly, I think its helps that she is so young and adapts to new surroundings very quickly at this age. She seems happy and healthy and is loving all the attention she is getting from my family. I will say that the first few nights here Chloe did wake up often throughout the night in tears, you could tell she was unaware of where she was and I think that scared her a bit. Chloe is sleeping much better these days!

Ok because I have a boy and because most of my close friends had boys, I want to know what you look forward to most and possibly fear the most as your sweet baby girl grows up?

Great question Margaux! What I look forward to the most as Chloe grows is discovering more of who she is. I'm so excited to see her character unravel as she matures and blossoms into a woman, to find out what she loves and cares about and what she's passionate about. I pray and hope that Chloe and I will always have a strong relationship and that one day when she is an adult she will see me as someone that she can come to for anything. I have a close relationship with my Mother and I can only hope and pray for the same as Chloe grows up.

Unfortunately I do have a lot of fears about raising a girl. I'm terrified that I wont be a good enough role model for Chloe. I'm terrified that Chloe's teenage years will be really difficult and that she will make some of the same mistakes as me and that I wont know how to handle things properly. One thing not a lot of people may know about me except for family and close friends is that I struggled with an eating disorder from the ages of 14-21, bouncing back and forth between anorexia and bulimia. I am terrified that Chloe will follow in my foot steps and struggle with an eating disorder as well. It is my mission to raise Chloe to love herself and to teach her that God, the creator of life made her absolutely perfectly. I don't ever want Chloe to feel the way I felt about myself and to go through the pure hell that is an eating disorder.

I want Chloe to love herself, to feel proud and confident in who she is. I want her to know how beautiful she is and how loved she is. I want her to spend her time learning and having fun and discovering more about herself. I want her to be a kid and to take her time growing up. I will do whatever it takes to make that happen!

Thank you both for the great questions, I hope I was able to answer them for you. If any of you have more questions for me please feel free to ask me and I will try my best to answer them!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dear Chloe: To Be Remembered

Dear Chloe,

The sun poured in through the blinds dancing gracefully on the walls
It was the afternoon, the room was warm and quite
You nursed yourself peacefully to sleep
I held you close to me, breathed you in
My eyes grew heavy and tired
together we slept
just the two of us
side by side

Love always and forever


Friday, May 4, 2012

Ask Me Anything

Well maybe not anything, nothing too personal of course! If you have any questions about me, Chloe, Mike, this blog or anything else you are interested in finding out about leave me a comment with your question and I will try my best to answer them in a post sometime early next week!

Hope you all have an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Still So Much To Learn

Instagram photos @ beforeverlovely

Next month Chloe will be turning one, as we inch closer and closer to that momentousness milestone its all I can think about these days. I guess I am just coming to the realization that my once tiny, sleepy newborn baby is blossoming into a toddler. I see it more and more in her everyday, the way she looks at me with a devilish grin right before touching something she's not supposed to touch, or the way she would much rather crawl and walk then be held in my arms. It all feels so sudden though, as if I just blinked my eyes and there she now stands all grown up and I'm left scratching my head thinking how the heck did that happen. How did my baby grow up so quickly?

Its finally hitting me now how much more I still have to learn about Chloe, about myself, about what kind of Mother I want to be. I can only imagine how different raising a toddler is compared to raising an infant. I'm excited for this new adventure in Motherhood but also completely terrified. I cant wait to discover more of who Chloe is, to see her personality develop and mature. My heart melts when I think of all the new firsts she will have, like the first time she tells Mike and I she loves us, but then there is that part of me that is terrified of the obstacles we will face, terrified of failing as a Mother.

 Parenthood is a funny thing, once you feel you have everything mastered and perfected your baby grows and changes and has a whole new set of needs that must be met. I just want to be the best Mother I can be for Chloe, I want her to her always know how much I love her and nothing she could ever do will ever change that.

I know I have so much to learn about raising a toddler but I'm up for the challenge and I honestly cant wait to discover more about my sweet Chloe.