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Category: Sanderling

Sanderling // Three Months

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My beguiling Three Month Old,

You are our ray of sunshine. Our cheeks hurt from smiling back so unabashedly at your constant stream of open-mouthed, rapturous grins. You are on the brink of the giggles and that is only going to amplify the joy and happiness you so readily bestow upon our household. Your bath time routine of stomps and splashes and coos with Daddy and PINK HIPPO! are arguably the zenith of your joy each day. In the face of our grief, you are our balance. Our light. Our anchor. And you radiate that light outward to those we greet in public – the baristas, pharmacists, colleagues, friends, teachers, yogis, darling elderly gentlemen, are all so smitten with your sweet smiles of connection and contentment.

This precious ensemble arrived from a beautiful French knitwear company, Miou Kids, and I can hardly stand how adorably that bonnet magnifies that round, squishy face of yours. Those bally cheeks (just like your Momar’s)! That dimple! It makes your smiles all the more irresistible. If it isn’t already glaringly obvious, I am positively taken with you, my darling. There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t feel humbled with gratitude and love for your presence in our lives.

Your easy-going nature continues, as you have (for now) mastered sleeping through the night. You go to sleep with ease at bed time. In fact, I often lay you down still awake, and you merrily suck your thumb (we hear great slurping down the hall) until you drift off to sleep. We then don’t hear from you again until the following morning. If a wet diaper or a hungry belly awakes you before 6am, a quick change and/or nurse session is enough to welcome another 2-3 hour stretch of sleep. I cannot fully articulate what a gift this has been, for all of us. To be rested. To not have to stress about long bedtime routines, or prolonged middle-of-the-night feedings, or restless, sleep-deprived children and parents is particularly welcome during a time when life feels so hard and confusing. Thank you for that gift.

While I know that your daddy and I are far more relaxed and comfortable now that this is our third crack at parenting a newborn, it’s also a testament to your adaptable, laid back personality. It makes carting you around to all of your sisters’ extracurriculars, school performances, appointments, rehearsals, shows, etc. a breeze – not to mention the slew of activities and errands you find yourself running alongside your mom and dad daily. Securely discovering your thumb this month has certainly helped you manage self-care when needed. You’ve recently shown a tendency to blow out your diaper mid-errand, so we’ve gotten very skilled at stripping you of poop-soaked clothing in the mini-van. But if that’s the most challenging hurdle I have to face with you these days, I’ll take it. Baby poo stained car seats and all.

We’ve survived the fourth trimester, my friend. Two bouts of mastitis (the engorgement from your epic sleep stretches is to blame for last week’s infection, but again, tough to complain given the reason), a slew of challenging milestones in the wake of your Momar’s passing and your mama’s adjustment to life postpartum unmothered – but we did it. And I can’t imagine having weathered these three months without you curled up against my chest, a puddle of drool beneath your chin, and sweet sighs emitting from those lips that suck on air as you dream. You are an ever-constant reminder to remain in the present. To soak in the current moment. And revel in the love and comfort and gratitude it brings.

How I wish your Momar could see how much I am positively delighting in you. But I like to think of her as your guardian angel, and I trust that she knows, even if it’s just in the security of my own heart.

143 Mama

Shop Sanderling’s gorgeous hand knit outfit from Miou KidsCotton Overalls in Teal; Cotton Moss Bonnet in Sea Foam ; Crochet Booties in Sea Foam

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: Looking like such a moody teenager at our local Memorial Day parade. She enjoyed it, I swear. And she’s rocking a festive star tee from my childhood.
Kaki: I adore that American Flag dress, also an Ulmer sister childhood ensemble. My mother was a sucker for anything patriotically spangled.
Sander: Baby’s first parade, wearing a hand-me-down from my boss and his four sons. 

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

19/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: Our seven year old. She wanted a pool party for her birthday, but our local pool doesn’t open for the season until early June. So instead, we’re taking a family trip to an indoor water park near Lake George. And all spending the night in a hotel room together. Here’s hoping Sander keeps up his awesome sleep habits – or it may be a very drowsy day at the park! Wish us luck!
Kaki: Changing a diaper, tongue out for concentration. The girls are so eager to help us care for their brother, and it’s a reminder of just how lucky we all are to have one another as family.
Sander: Tummy time champ. Enjoying those bugs as much as both of his big sisters did. That play mat was gift from Momar, of course, when Sunny was a baby.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

2/12

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This not-so-little guy is just so round and delicious. Those cheeks keep filling out and there are some pretty serious thigh rolls in the works. At his 2 month check-up, he was off the charts for height (I’m not kidding when I say that he is pushing up the national average) and 95th percentile for weight. While the girls were both bigger and taller than average babies, they weren’t nearly as hefty as their brother. I am so enjoying nomming on all that squishy goodness. And he’s still got room to grow in his overall getup.

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Sanderling // Two Months

My Sweet Sanderling,

Yesterday, I changed a blown out diaper on a spot of grass by the side of the road. The day before, I did so in the public restroom at our bustling coffee shop. I’ve taken to changing diapers on the floor of the car, in the middle of parking lots, on any flat surface I can muster. Because you and I, kid? We spend our days out and about. One of the many gifts of a third child is that I am far less daunted by the prospect of a full day away from the safety net of our home, its changing table, its seemingly endless diaper supply and clean baby clothes, and its washing machine. I load up the diaper bag with wipes, and plastic bags, and an excessive number of diapers and changes of clothes, and snacks for mama, and away we go.

I’ve been feeling the weight of grief, so have been vigilant about self-care to help manage the sorrow and dark cloud I’m carrying. So out of the house we go each morning, to coffee dates, and therapy appointments, on errands, to the bus stop, on long hikes with the dogs, on walks through town, to friends’ houses, to daddy’s office, to your sisters’ schools and extracurriculars. You nurse in parked cars, in coffee shops, on couches, in waiting rooms, while I stroll around with you in my arms. I drop you with daddy every day at noon so I can go to my yoga class, and the two of you go on walks and sit together in the sunshine and fresh air, and every day you make it so easy for both of us to carve out this time. You are so unbelievably adaptable and agreeable, and take each day’s list of activities and errands in stride. In fact, they are met with great smiles and coos and finger sucking (you are on track to discover your thumb any day, my friend, much like your mommy and daddy who were long time thumb suckers. It helps you self-sooth, and it is noisy as all get, but effective!).

I am endlessly grateful for how flexible and easy going you are. You make taking care of myself, and thus you, so much easier in the face of so much that is challenging. And your smiles, oh my heart. Your sweet, unbridled, positively enormous smiles bring out the most involuntary and beautiful joy in me and your daddy and sisters. You beam with such innocent enthusiasm, flashing a dimple on your left cheek, and bringing out the highest pitched coos of gratitude and love in response from whomever is on the receiving end. The power of baby smiles could bring about world peace, if we could just figure out how to bottle that magic.

Sleep is consistent, but not nearly for stretches as long as I’d like, but I know we’ll get there. You do a consistent 4 hour stretch, then nurse and have a diaper change in the middle of the night, then another three hours or so before we repeat the process and the rest of the household begins their day. While the middle of the night session is definitely causing dark circles under my eyes and a daily fatigue, you rarely ever cry or fuss, and so it’s hard to complain. You are only 2 months old, after all, and aren’t expected to sleep through the night just yet.

And I know that nursing is going so well given your immense size and the ease with which you breastfeed, no matter the circumstances or position. We have retired nearly all of our 0-6 month clothing and you are fitting quite comfortably in items sized for a child nearly three times your age. You easily take a bottle, which I know will make your transition to daycare this fall much smoother. As far as life with an infant goes, you make my job easy (or as easy as caring for a completely dependent little life can be). We are so endlessly grateful you’re here, and you’re ours. You have added an entirely new dimension of love and happiness to our home, and I can’t fathom our family without you. And I cannot imagine how I would have survived these past few months of loss and heartbreak without you by my side. You are my saving grace.

I love you, sweet baby. Happy Two Months!

143 Mama
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18/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: So proud of her new pair of TIE sneakers. While it makes getting out the door a considerably longer process, she is so dang thrilled to be able to tie her own laces.
Kaki: THE HILL ARE ALIVE… with the sound of Kaki. (Hot dang we live in a beautiful place. So grateful to have this in our backyard, especially these last few months. Walks among this scenery have been therapeutic for all of us).
Sander: Not at all aligned with his sisters’ portraits, but an adorable snap that features his budding mohawk and the fact that he is already busting out of 6 month clothing at the age of 8 weeks. 

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

17/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: On a sunny Saturday stroll before a week of rain and grey and yuck.
Kaki: Not thrilled at the prospect of a long walk, but she quickly turned around that pout after a few minutes of running in the sunshine. “Mama, this WAS actually a fun walk with our WHOLE family!”
Sander: Looking very very milk drunk, but showcasing a hat from my knitting extravaganza before he was born.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

Sander Smiles

When he smiles, I smile. When I smile, he smiles. And it is the best possible therapy on a rainy grey Sunday.

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Sunny: Obsessed with using our phones to text her auntie and Doda. Given that she’s practicing her writing while texting, we tend not to mind, though we often find her huddled away in a bedroom sending messages when we least suspect it. She even arranged a playdate with friends of ours, unbeknowst to us. Ha!
Kaki: This one has grown leaps and bounds in her mastery of letters. She loves to spend time before stories studying the words on the page and identifying all the letters.
Sander: Snuggles with his Doda.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

Sanderling’s Birth Announcement

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As I’ve mentioned in past posts about our yearly holiday card process, my mother instilled in us a love of stationary and the art of snail mail over the course of our childhoods. And thus, it’s no surprise that she also was a big believer in hardcopy birth announcements. She insisted that Addison have one, which of course meant that I needed to make sure that all things were equal and Courtland had one. (Both announcements I wrote about here). Naturally, I couldn’t leave Sanderling out.

While in some ways it seemed silly to focus on creating and mailing birth announcements in the immediate aftermath of my mother’s passing, it was also an incredibly healing process. It allowed me to give voice to Sander’s name and bittersweet connection to my mother. It allowed me to include thank you notes to all those that were so deeply supportive and kind and thoughtful in the weeks following her death and Sander’s birth. And it allowed me to engage in a process that was so deeply connected to my mother. She would have been so pleased with this welcoming of her grandson.

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I once again worked with Minted to create these beautiful announcements, and opted to have the card framed by them to save me a trip to the frame shop. They did a beautiful job, and it now hangs in his nursery like his big sisters’ did.