Tag Archives | Phoebe

Phoebe and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

It was a gorgeous day: Phoebe’s last day as an infant! Saturday is her first birthday! So, what better way to spend her last day of infancy than at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival?! We drove up with my mom, my sister and my mother-in-law. Here are some scenes from the day. (I took way too many pictures. Apologies for the lack of curation)…


Me, Phoebe and my mom


My sister and my mom are both visiting for Phoebe’s birthday 🙂 Such a treat!

Phoebe had a blast touching the flowers. She was very gentle (for the most part). She’d touch the petals, reel back and smile or start talking to the sky. She was overjoyed at the tulip fields.


My mother-in-law was with us, as well. Can you tell where Phoebe gets her curly hair from?!


I love this beautiful picture of my sister and my 21-week-old niece who is in her womb.


Phoebe got a little overwhelmed.


But we let her get back to the tulips, and all was made right with the world.


– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone, 4/13/2012

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Dear Phoebe, Eleven Months Old

Dear Phoebe,

Next time I write a blog post for you, it will be because you are one year old. One. Year. Old. Never before in my life has the number One seemed so large, and yet still so tiny.

Napping Baby 3/19/2012

There are many things about you that I don’t need to remember, because I imagine they will be part of your personality and character for years to come. There is no need for memory when there is relationship. And I plan on growing a deep and lasting relationship with you, my little lady and sweet sweet pal.

I would like to commemorate the things I see in your little soul, however, for they are a blessing to me and they fill my heart with joy. So, here it is; here you go; here is the (incomplete and always growing) list of things I love about you, on the eve of your first birthday:

You love people, especially other babies. You love to kiss people, especially babies.

When someone is hurt or crying, you are concerned. You stand by, and if the opportunity presents itself, you lean in to kiss whoever is crying in an effort to help. You do this whether or not you were the source of the pain. When you accidentally hurt me, you stand by, worried, while I cry in pain; and when I stop, you hurriedly lean over to kiss me and make it right. Your gentle and responsive spirit is amazing.

Hanging out with friends 02/26/2012

You love giving raspberries. You sometimes give me a whole line-up of wet, messy raspberries on my belly for up to a half hour at a time. You have even been known to raspberry me on the nipple right after nursing, which is just about the most hilarious thing ever. When you attempt to raspberry your (hairy) Papa, though, you always lean back in shock at how different his belly is than Mama’s. It’s cute that you keep trying, though.

One of your favorite things is for Papa and me to sing to you. Lullabies, waking-up songs, bath time playlists…you name it. You also like dancing to jazz and the Dave Ramsey theme song.

You love being tossed on the bed. Repeatedly.

You love Scooter. You are incredibly gentle with Scooter, and you sometimes follow her all around the house. (Scooter doesn’t want you to know it, but I can tell she loves the attention she gets from you, too!)

Scooter Love 3/1/2012

More Scooter Love 3/18/2012 ^_^ This is a common scene around our house.

You are an explorer. I don’t think you’ve ever met something you didn’t like. And you are becoming increasingly independent and adventuresome, which is bittersweet. I am happy for you that you are growing into such a vibrant young girl, and I am grateful that I get to be a part of almost every moment of your life.

Removing the vent from the floor...

...and trying to put it back in. 3/20/2012

(Talking about poop!) You are an excellent pottier. You poop in the potty (almost never in the diaper anymore!), even though you’ve been teething and experiencing a ton of different foods. You also hold your pee at night most of the time, too. And when we’re out and about, you keep your diaper dry, as well.

After this 2.5 hour nap, Phoebe awoke with a dry diaper & peed a cup in her potty! Whoa! 3/07/2012

We do a lot of "pottying on the go"...you are wliling to use a potty in the car, to go on a toilet at home, or to even use a public toilet (when Mama helps support you). 3/20/2012

We got a seat for our potty at home this month, and Phoebe gets very excited about peeing in the big toilet. ^_^ What a big girl! 3/15/2012

You started sleeping much more soundly at night, letting Mama and Papa often have 6 hour stretches or more! You still love sleeping with us, and you are a big cuddle monkey. And, unless you’re restless because you need to pee, you are mostly a calm sleeper. Which I am very grateful for. Your naps during the day are getting longer, too. You often sleep for 1h15 – 2h15 stretches, twice a day.

Napping 3/06/2012

Napping 3/07/2012

Napping 3/10/2012

Sleeping late, after Mama and Papa woke up 3/16/2012

You have no use for TV. Which is amusing. And while I’d like to be able to chill out and watch a show with you from time to time, your disinterest in sedentary pursuits just makes me giggle and be grateful.

You love books. You are learning how to be gentle with Mama & Papa’s books (we’ve lost a few pages along the way). And your favorite pasttime in the car is to leaf through your own board books.

Reading before bed 3/01/2012

Reading reader 3/08/2012

More reading 3/19/2012

Our favorite game is a version of hide and seek where I run into another room of the house and hide under a green blanket. You come to find me, tear off the green blanket, and then I run to another room. This game is great, great fun for us both!

I realize now that there aren’t any pictures of me and you from the past month, except for the pictures of us nursing. Nursing has been easy for us, and I know that that is a blessing. Your interest in nursing waxes and wanes depending on the week, but lately you have been very attached and seeking comfort, and I am grateful to be able to give it to you in this way.

Nursing in the yard 3/08/2012

Nursing and napping while babywearing in the Ergo 3/21/2012

Nursing on the couch. 3/18/2012 ^_^ I asked Phoebe if I could take her picture, then she got into this pose. lol.

Up until recently, I pretty much knew what you were thinking about most of the time. But now I’ll often catch you lost in an idea or staring off into space and I’ll have no idea what is going through your mind. You are getting very complex, little one!

Phoebe can work, studiously, for long stretches at a time 3/10/2012

Deep in concentration 3/21/2012

Busy doing her own thing 3/14/2012

Exploration! 3/20/2012

You understand baby signs, but you are boycotting them for the most part. I think you are saving it all up for verbal language. You say some things intentionally, and your “vocabulary” is slowly expanding, but you are still mostly exploring sounds. I look forward to the day where I can ask you, “Phoebe, what are you thinking,” and you can tell me about things I’d never imagined.

These are all things that describe you, but these are not the reasons why I love you, my dear. I don’t love you because of anything you do or anything you are. I just love you. Unequivocally. Fully. Undeniably.

I always will.

Hanging out on the patio 3/16/2012

Falling asleep in my lap. 3/18/2012

Love,
Your Mother

2012-03-21 (a week late!)

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Phoebe Month Ten – Explosions of Love

It’s time for another Phoebe post! My baby girl turned 10 months old on Valentines Day (Feb 14th).


Here’s her cute little Valentines get-up.


And here’s how little Phoebe spent Valentines Day last year: in my belly! (I know. 4 belly shots. I’d just gotten my camera and was too in love with the different filters to just choose one. Lol.)

Over the weekend, Matt took Phoebe out on her first “Papa date” for Valentines Day. They planned on going to The Children’s Museum in Tacoma, but it was packed. So they went to Half Price Books instead, and Matt let Phoebe pick out a new book. She chose one about ten little ladybugs.


Phoebe waves goodbye as she and Papa Matt head out on their date.

Phoebe is growing up so fast, you guys. And you know what? It is so much fun being her mom. I love it. I love mom-ing her so much I feel kind of guilty about it.

Yes: being a parent is hard. I won’t lie. It’s not like we skip through the days singing “La la la” and making daisy garlands. But getting to BE there in my baby’s life and watch her develop into this compassionate, spirited, multifaceted person…there is nothing in life that even compares to the uniqueness of this experience. It changes me continually. It makes me slow down, breathe deeply, and appreciate the depth and earnestness of life.

One of the most fun milestones yet? Walking!


She’s getting more & more confident & balanced every day!

She’s such a goofy baby. She always wants to share a good laugh with me or Papa Matt.


Striking a pose!

Phoebe is eating a lot more adult food these days. We don’t purĂ©e baby food; instead we ate doing “baby led weaning.” For the most part, Phoebe eats whatever we’re eating. We often cut up her food for her, but she has 5 teeth and a strong smack, and she masticates her food expertly on her own.


Organic baby! Lol.


Yogurt got all over her face, but here she’s politely handing is her spoon for some more yogurt.


Phoebe loves fruit!


She loves smoked salmon.


And, sometimes, she just loves playing with her bib.

Pottying is going well. We’ve caught all but 2 poops in the potty this last month. Phoebe has been saving a lot of pees for the potty, too. She stays completely dry overnight about half the time. And, if we’re out around town, she will also hold her pee until i offer her the potty in the car. Our latest development? We have a toilet seat insert now and Phoebe pooped and peed in the adult toilet today. Such a big girl!


Thankfully, Phoebe still nurses. She’s so busy during the day, she mostly only nurses when it’s time for sleep. I cherish these moments…especially when she falls asleep in my arms.



Dear Phoebe,

People say babies don’t remember, but I don’t buy it. You may not have language to help you categorize and label your experiences. You may be so young now that your experiences become swallowed by the years to come. But I like to think we are creating a long, strong swatch of love as your beginning and that you will rub your deepest feelings on it and measure all your other experiences against it from these moments forward.

Just because it doesn’t have words, it doesn’t mean it’s not a memory. Muscles have memory. There are memories embedded deep in smells. And the heart rings deep with memory of times when it has been filled and fortified by love.

I hope we are giving you one of those times.

I hope our love for you touches you for your entire life.

Love,
Your Mother


By ekwetzel
2012-02-24

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Phoebe’s Play Kitchen – Cute, Easy & Cheap

These days Phoebe loves exploring the cabinets and drawers whenever she’s in the kitchen, so I thought I’d make a little kitchen spot of her own. Last night I threw it together out of toys and supplies we had lying around the house, and this morning she discovered it right as I was starting to wash the breakfast dishes. Perfect timing!


I snapped this photo from around the corner, so as not to disturb her.

Since the kitchen set was so easy and cheap to put together, I thought I’d share it with you. My main thoughts going into it were:
– Include different materials & textures
– Include real kitchen items that she already likes taking out to play with
– Set up the items so she can explore putting things inside other things and taking them out again (she’s really enjoyed this concept lately)

So, here’s a tour of my little DIY kitchen for Phoebe:


This wooden range, a gift from a friend who found it while thrifting, has been sitting in the garage waiting for Phoebe to get old enough to play with it.


A Clementines box is repurposed as the main “drawer” or container for her “kitchen supplies.”


The kitchen supplies are mostly repurposed empty containers. I like putting real objects in the empty containers to create more interest, as well as a pleasing “rattle” sound. From the left: a yogurt container with orange peels, baking powder tin with popcorn kernels, a mason jar with loose tea leaves, glass bottle with barley, empty tea box, spice jar filled with red lentils.


Phoebe loves putting the lid on this pot as well as switching up the contents. Mostly she dumps them out, but lately she’s started putting things back inside, as well.


Some fabric food from IKEA and a couple kitchen containers.


A small bag, an ice tray and an old wooden spoon.


Lastly, a little art to give the kitchen a homey feel.


Enjoy your play, my little buddy!

By ekwetzel
2012-01-25

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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9 Months of Phoebe

First of all, I want you to know I wrote a long, awesome blog post on January 14th, with tons of pictures & information about what Phoebe is like these days. Then, when I went to publish it, my blogpress app freaked out and lost the entire post. I was not a happy camper. Here’s a few of my favorite pictures from that blog post, taken on Phoebe’s 9 month anniversary.


At 9 months, my little girl loves moving a around the house, opening things & removing contents. And she loves sharing things & moments.

Needless to say, I was put out after losing a whole blog post. Especially a long one. And I was not in the mood to rewrite it. So, now, I’m gonna write a different post.

By all accounts, Phoebe is an advanced little baby. That’s what people tell me anyway. She blabbers. She crawls expertly. She eats solid food. She had excellent coordination and dexterity with her little hands. Even her hair is growing fast! I always feel awkward when I’m talking about Phoebe and she is described as advanced, though, because the term is not simply descriptive. It’s comparative. And potentially competitive.

(I want to take a time out to say: if you have described Phoebe as “advanced” to me, don’t worry! I’ve taken it as the compliment it was intended to be! I’m not upset about this. In the least.)

The problem I have with the term “advanced” is that it carries with it the connotation that Phoebe is somehow better that other babies who are not developing at her pace. That, my friends, is nonsense. Damned nonsense. A baby’s worth is not related to how smart or well behaved or pretty she is. We should never treat babies this way. And we should certainly never be dissatisfied with our own children because they are not doing X, Y, or Z like someone else’s kid.

This, I think, is the difference between pride & joy. I enjoy Phoebe tremendously. When she conquers a new skill, I’m so excited for her. I love her pretty little smile and I love kissing her soft little cheeks. When she looks concerned for another baby and crawls over to kiss them, my heart swells as I bask in her sensitivity and gentle heart. And I love recounting the wonderful things about my baby to anyone who wants to listen. But I am careful to distinguish between sharing my joy and touting with pride.

I do not contemplate how Phoebe might compare to other kids, then feel superior if she measures up better than a friend’s child. How stupid! I don’t think Phoebe is a “badge of honor” that shows I’m a better mom or a more accomplished parent. Ridiculous. Phoebe is just Phoebe. I have a relationship with her, and I’m blessed to be able to parent her, but she is not a report card or trophy or anything of the sort.

She is my daughter. I love her. And I am well pleased with her.


That’s my little bundle of joy. ^_^

Dear Phoebe,

Here are ten things I love about you:

(1) You still nurse to sleep, sweetly cuddling with me, and often stroking my breast as you do so. It’s unbelievably sweet.

(2) You give the best raspberries. Ever. And always on my belly. (Although you’ve done a few lately right when I thought you were gonna nurse. It. Was. Hilarious.)

(3) When I’m hurt or upset, you are concerned & you wait till you have an opportunity to kiss me.

(4) You have dozens of amazing laughs.

(5) You are starting to put things back together, placing contents on baskets or stacking rings back on their peg. It’s so cool watching you learn & conquer these skills.

(6) You get sooooo excited when you get to eat Clementine oranges. It’s really cute.

(7) When I offer you clothes in the morning, you take your time considering your options, then you grab the outfit you want. It’s awesome to see the little wheels cranking in your head

(8) You will often leave the room I’m in to explore other areas of the house. And, when Papa’s home, you’ll go between our two rooms to spend time playing near us both.

(9) You get very excited when Papa comes home. You love spending time with him…and I love seeing the two of you together.

(10) You often love to just be near me. Given how quickly you’re growing up, the moments when you still act like the little baby that you are incredibly sweet.


By ekwetzel
2012-01-24

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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A Belated 8 Month Blog Post

Little Miss Phoebe,

The moments cascade into each other like leaves rustling in a tree or the feathers on a swallow’s outstretched wings.


The way you carefully inch your way out of your rocking chair, holding ever-so-slightly onto my finger.


The way you take tiny gouging bites out of each clementine from the bowl I set on the floor.


The way your face lights up when you hear Papa shut the door and call out “Hello” from the other room; the way you race-crawl to him while crying out, in excitement, complaining that you can’t make it into his arms fast enough.


The thing that astonishes me about you is how complete you are becoming. You’re so fleshed out, like a character in a novel that has simply been given no lines (because you can’t speak, yet!). I always thought of babies as “half people”…little blank slates. But you’re changing my mind! You have opinions, a sense of humor, a sense of adventure, wonderment, compassion, adoration. Your cup is full. You brim over! I am so excited to see the person you are continually growing into.


The thing that astonishes me about being your Mama is the stamina I am building because of you. My body is stronger. My energy levels are heartier. And my ability to empathize and love has deepened and widened many times over. Motherhood is exhausting and challenging, like climbing a mountain, but in the end it takes me to such great heights.

[…]


Phoebe is such a happy, goofy baby. She loves being tossed up and down. She loves being held upside down, tickled & given raspberries.


Phoebe crawls throughout the house, exploring. Sometimes she’ll venture out and explore something in another room for a long time, all by herself. I love her independence. I love that she feels secure enough to try new things or to try things all by herself.


Phoebe had a fun first Christmas this year with all our local family. ^_^ I hope she remembers at least a little of it next year.


Phoebe loves to play with her Montessori sensory basket. It’s simply a basket filled with common items made from different materials in order to be engaging to her young, developing senses. Some things in her basket include: a transparent bag with a dried lavender sprig, a small coffee bag with coffee beans, a spice jar filled with barley, another spice jar filled with paper circles (from the punch hole), a pinecone, a stone, a wooden doll. There are 20-50 total items (sometimes I rotate things in or out). Most items are just common things from around the house.


I try to offer her the basket only after she’s rested because it is so stimulating. She often interacts with the items in new and inventive ways. Just the other day, she picked up this tea cup and kept putting other items into it, then dumping them out.


Oh, yes. And Phoebe’s little legs are getting strong! Not only is she crawling like a pro, she can hobble along adeptly with the aid of her walker wagon toy. She hasn’t figured our how to turn it yet, bur she has figured out how to look to Mama and Papa to help!


That’s my cutie pants. Excited for bath time. And growing up so fast it makes me catch my breath.

[…]

Dearest Phoebe,

You are the best thing about this year. Hands down. No competition. You put golden rings in my tree. You make our hearts soar.

Love,
Your Mama

By ekwetzel
2012-12-29

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Phoebe’s First Christmas

She awoke early, ready to tackle the day. The morning was still black outside. And the tree glowed colorful and quaint in the living room.


We laid her gifts out, unwrapped, to make it easier to identify & explore them. And also because I didn’t want to spend a ton of energy fishing wrapping paper out of her mouth. 🙂


Mama & Papa helped with the new instruments.


Only a few minutes into Christmas, and she already started to get overwhelmed by all the new things. Precious little baby.


After a little infant pottying (we do “elimination communication” with Phoebe), it was nekkid baby time! So much easier to explore the world without jammies in the way.


Hey, Mom! What’s going on???


The crinkly wrapping paper from Aunt Sara & Uncle David was a real favorite.


We put some clothes back on her, and it was time to enjoy the stockings. Phoebe was enthralled with her stocking stuffers: a stone giraffe & a fabric mirror, both from World Market.


Some happy family snuggles on the couch.


Excitedly flailing her arms up & down is Phoebe’s seal of approval.


After awhile, we moved into the nursery, a more familiar and calming environment. And we brought one toy: the new ragdoll Mama made out of a sock. It has button eyes and arms, and a bushy head of orange yarn.


These arms are great for teething!


Relaxing now with Mama & Papa. Out first naptime will be soon. ^_^ Overall, an exciting and heartwarming morning.


(We spent very little money on Christmas, and had just the right amount of stuff for an exciting morning. The doll was made with craft scraps. The World Market stocking stuffers were bought with a gift card & “$10 off total purchase” coupon. And the three Melissa & Doug toys were also bargains: the Shape Sorting Cube we bought at a “Borders Going Out Of Business” sale with store credit; the Stack & Sort Board is from EcoMom.com, purchased entirely with a Klout.com promo credit; and the Band Set we got from Amazon.com, on sale, and discounted further with promo credit from making previous purchases. Overall expenses under $20!)

By ekwetzel
2011-12-25

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Christmas Eve with Phoebe (Just some pictures!)

We invited all our local family over for Christmas Eve…plus a few friends!

Phoebe had a nice nap right before company arrived.


She enjoyed being passed around to GG, Grammy & Grampy & any other family member with outstretched arms.


Mostly, though, our little 8 month old found it overwhelming to have so many people in her house, so she stuck close to Mama & Papa.


There were presents. But the best part of all the gift giving was: the ribbon!


I love our little girl. And I love being her Santa. I can’t wait till the morning when she discovers the treasures that await under the tree!

By ekwetzel
2011-12-24

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Phoebe, Month 7: Confessions of a Perfectionist

There’s a reality about motherhood few people seem to talk about. Babies are little people. That means they have emotions and desires, weaknesses and fears. They hurt. They have bad days. They have a sense of humor. They can feel a sense of accomplishment or frustration; security or insecurity; boredom or inundation. And sometimes babies are just overwhelmed. Sometimes they don’t know what they want or how to communicate what they need. Just. Like. Adults. Just like you and me.


It seems to me that parenting has little to do with “knowing how to take care of babies” (or kids, or teens) and it has a whole heck of a lot to do with forging a relationship with your particular baby (kid/teen). There are no methods that work for everyone. Babies are not robots. Parenting isn’t a chemistry lab experiment where, if you mix the right ingredients: poof! You made an A+ baby! We have tricks and tips that we pick up along the way and some methods of parenting are more conducive to raising a child who is curious, strong and emotionally stable; however, there are no guarantees.


But here’s something else about babies-as-people. Babies have willpower. What does that mean? No matter how you parent, a large part of why your baby grows up the way she does has to do with how your baby WANTS to be. There is nature. There is nurture. And there is choice. The baby-person forges her own path.


So, basically, you don’t control your baby. And you shouldn’t. Your baby is a person and people shouldn’t be controlled. Not if you want to have happy, healthy, vibrant relationships with them, anyways.

This is something that’s hard for me to keep in mind, though. I spend soooooo much time and energy on parenting that it’s sometimes hard to remember my role in Phoebe’s life is not to “complete” her, but to support her. She’s not a recipe that needs to be mixed “just so” and baked at the right temperature until the toothpick I stick in her comes out clean. Babies aren’t projects. There is no “finish” with parenting. There is no goal where, when you reach it, you can pat yourself on the back: “Good job, me! My baby’s in an Ivy League school and calls me every week to talk about how exciting her perfect life is.” This is damned foolishness. Yes. Damned. Because this kind of idolatry leads away from the truth and grace of God.


How do I measure myself as a parent? If there is no scale of perfection, how do I know if I’m doing well? How do I know if I’m doing a good job?

The truth is, we are never perfect. Because relationships with PEOPLE are complex and difficult. Relationships with baby-people are no different. As a parent, I try not to expect Phoebe to be perfect. I understand that both of us have good and bad moments…good and bad days. When I speak to her harshly or get frustrated with her, I apologize afterwards. And when she’s being moody or upset for no apparent reason, I try to calmly step into the moment and try seeing things from her perspective. How wild the world must seem! How frustrating it must be to grow so quickly and have so many feelings, but have no way to communicate them! How scary it must be to try something new, like crawling, and get hurt by falling; and how brave of her to keep trying, even when she’s scared, even when she is unsure of herself.


I feel so many things for my baby that it’s hard to separate them out and name them all. I’m afraid I won’t be enough for her. I’m exhausted because sometimes I feel like she takes everything I am and there’s nothing left. I always am thinking about her. I’m always aware of her. She touches me deeper than I ever dreamed possible. She forces me to grow and dig deep; while I thought I was going to be the one helping her grow, I see in fact that we are growing together. Crawling along. Bashing our faces into things, crying, embracing, and carrying on.


The reason parenting is so hard and challenging is because I’ve allowed my baby to know me without my armor on. I’ve allowed her to touch me in my innermost heart where I have the most fragile feelings and the most rugged fears. I’ve allowed her to see me in the raw, with all my imperfections, for who I am at my core. And even though we have difficult moments, this truth remains: there is something altogether sweet and graceful about a baby’s unrequited love. My baby doesn’t need me to be perfect. She just needs me.


By ekwetzel
2011-11-14

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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