a happy moment

Lately, Rory doesn't like to be cradled in my arms as I rock him to sleep. He'll wiggle around until his head is up on my shoulder, and then he'll wiggle some more and wiggle some more to try and get himself comfortable.

Tonight, I was rocking him to sleep, his head was up on my shoulder and I was humming a Christmas song. Randomly, he pulled himself up and opened his mouth wide for a kiss. I kissed his open mouth, he smiled, and laid his head back down. Then he pulled himself up again, and opened his mouth wide and kissed me for a second time. And then he did it again. And again. And again. And I couldn't help but smile and let it happen, even though my laughing woke him more and I knew it'd be a while before he fell asleep again. I'm still smiling thinking about it.

12 months old

Rory James,

You, my big wonderful boy, are ONE. One year ago you made us parents and what a wonderful year it's been. I can't even begin... to start... to describe... sniff. Really though. You are an amazing boy and we are the luckiest parents in the whole world.Right now you are goofy and crazy and silly and talkative. There is no squashing that humongous personality of yours. You've taken your first birthday really seriously because all of the sudden you are a troublemaking toddler.

Did I mention you're walking? You took your first steps on October 26th. It took you a few weeks to get it down, but now you're basically running. You learned about a week ago to stand yourself up, and now you pace back and forth in our apartment just showing off.

You do all sorts of smart grown up things, it's amazing. My favorite is when you sing "bay-bee, bay-bee" and you hold your wrists and swing your arms back and forth. I don't know where you picked it up! But it's the right sign for baby, and you do a lot. You still think all animals go "kack kack" like a duck. We taught you to clench your fists and hold them up and go "grrr" when we tell you to show us your muscles. You say "bye-bye" alllll the time. You hold your arms up and go "tada!!" whenever anything awesome happens, like you stack a block on another one, or you get a bath toy to balance on the spout. I THINK you are starting to say daddy. It may just be coincidence when you point to him and say dah dah dah but who knows! You are constantly CONSTANTLY talking. Bah bah bah bah bah bah bah while you point to things like you're explaining them. You love the reaction you get from us when you talk.

Your independent play is so much fun to watch. I can't believe how much you've learned in just a month. You suddenly know how to stack your ring toys like you've been doing it forever. You can throw a ball SO WELL. It's still a little difficult for you, but you can stick a sticker onto a coloring book. We keep trying to get you to color with crayons but you just eat them. You read stories to yourself. You drive your trucks around. You hold every type of gadget up to your ear and go "oooh?" like it's a phone. You waddle around and crawl on top of EVERYTHING and you've learned to go feet first when you climb off of things. You love trying to put lids on cups, and eating the faces of your stuffed animals.

I'm only nursing you twice a day now, once in the morning and once for bed. You are completely night weaned! So if you ever wake up at night I either lay by your crib or rock you to sleep. And hey hey hey did I mention you are SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT? We're going on 4 days in a row now, so I'm starting to really get my hopes up that this is it. I think you turned one and were just like, oh okay I get it now. So you sleep for about 11 hours at night and take 2 naps during the day, the first one lasting usually two hours and the second about 45 minutes. I love that you have such a predictable schedule. It's making things super easy for me.

What is NOT easy for me are the tantrums you've started throwing. I'm doing all I can to avoid them by solving potential problems before they happen, but you've thrown a few in the middle of the grocery store now so I'm feeling a lot like a fully fledged toddler parent. You usually throw them when I pull you away from something dangerous, or I don't let you stand up in your high chair, or when I sneak away to use the toilet, or when I try to get something nasty out of your mouth, or if I stop you from jumping off the side of the couch... so... they're coming quite often. I know this is just the beginning. Sigh. I'm hoping I learn to deal with them correctly, because right now I just sort of let them happen and try to distract you with something else.

You're eating lots of grown up foods now, except that you're not... because you taste it and spit it out or throw it on the floor. You're very picky. But we're still experimenting. I've given you peas probably twenty times and you finally tasted some today, so... progress? We're practicing giving you larger amounts of food so you can use those 8 itty bitty teeth of yours. You won't drink milk, which shocks me. You hate it. I've tried it warm, cold, in a bottle, in a sippy. Nope. So I gave you some strawberry milk today and you drank a decent amount. I hope this isn't the only way you'll drink it forever. You've lost your interest in nursing during the day. You think it's very rude of me to interrupt your playtime, and so you reward me by pulling my hair and picking my nose and kicking and getting distracted by EVERYTHING. So, yep, you're slowly getting weaned.

I'm looking at all of these old photos of you and I'm remembering this incredible year we've had together and tearing up, obviously, because I really just can't believe all that we've been through and all that we've overcome and all that we've learned and all that we have YET to learn. I'm so so excited for this next year because I love you so much and I just can't wait to see what's going to happen next.

Oh and by the way, I'm so happy to be done with these crib photos because you have no IDEA how impossible it is to keep you laying still on your back for even half a second. So you better thank your dad for helping me out with those. Is it obvious we had Sesame Street playing on youtube to keep you distracted? #yes.

See other 'letters to Rory' HERE


11 months old

Rory James,

This month you've become incredibly vocal. It is exciting and funny and we have such a blast listening to you blabber all day long. Lots of B's and D's and M's, but also G's and Th's and S's. It's so great to hear you learn more and more. A lot of the time I sing O' McDonald while I try to wrangle you into a clean diaper, and one time you started quacking with me. It blew my mind. You say mama, dada, baby, whoa, ball, you fake cry, fake laugh, fake cough. I have a BYU cougar shirt and whenever you see the cougar you point to it and growl. Sometimes we just sit and yell at each other as loud as we can. It's awesome.

You're standing on your own, balancing on those little potato feet of yours, but once you realize it you quickly fall on your butt. You're also cruising all around, getting faster and faster. Your dad wants you to start walking so bad, and I have to admit I'm eager for it too. Sometimes we'll sit on the floor and guide you back and forth, egging you on, but you're pretty stubborn and you'd much rather crawl. You took your first step all on your own on Thursday, October 9th.

We've replaced a few of our daily things. You outgrew your carseat so we got you a brand new one, which you love! It allows you to look outside the window and you're a lot more content in the car. We also replaced that rickety old rocking chair that was so hard to nurse you in. This replacement one is so comfy I could fall asleep in it, which makes all the difference in the world!

You got your second haircut, but your first official one at a salon. Haha it was a mess trying to get you to stay put. The clippers were way more interesting than the video I was trying to play for you on my phone. But we trimmed off that mullet and you now you look like a proper second grader. You're also a complete blond. Somehow we trimmed off whatever was left of your pretty brown hair and you have a head full of beautiful golden hair. You remind me so so much of my brothers now!

We quickly tried to weigh you on a scale once and with your feet hanging off you were 24.5 lbs. You're so gigantic. Whenever I take you to the park or to the library and other moms ask how old you are I have to explain that yes, you really ARE only 11 months old and yes you are a monster because you're roughly the size of their two year old. You have grown out of all of your 9 month old clothes and you happily fit in anything size 18m.

It's so funny to me how you naturally gravitate toward "boy toys". You love balls and cars and phones and anything with wheels. Oh man, one time I looked down and saw you driving a fire truck across the floor. You usually just sit and play with the wheels and so it astounded me that you understood how the truck was supposed to work. You've also learned to throw a ball (though it usually shoots straight up into the air), and you hold up the phone to your ear (but really your elbow gets a little in the way...). Man, watching you play is SO MUCH FUN.

You love to point to things and you use your pointer finger to touch everything. EVERYTHING. Never your full hand, just your pointer finger to lightly poke whatever it is that interests you. Teeth, leaves, food... If it's food you squash it until it squirts or slides away. Whenever you see yourself in a mirror you immediately lean in for an open mouthed kiss. You can go down a slide by yourself, for the most part. If you get the chance you try to go down head first, so you haven't completely figured that out yet.

Some of your quirks? You learned from your dad to shake your head and go ahhhhhhh so you do that allllllllll the time. You absolutely love being upside down and a lot of the time you'll fling yourself off my lap with your chin raised high. You splash and splash and splash in the tub, to the point that your arms look a bit like a windmill and I have to use a towel as a shield. You love to crawl through tight spaces and get stuck.

You high five on command and say "bye-bye" with a wave. More recently you learned to clench your fists above your head when we say "show me your muscles!" At the end of pat-a-cake you know to raise your hands in the air. You sign "eat" my holding your hands up to your mouth and smacking your tongue.

You're becoming picky. Really really picky. For a few days you completely denied any purées which frustrated me because purées are usually the bulk of your meal. So we've started experimenting with things you like and you hate. You will always eat grapes, cheese, mandarin oranges, applesauce, and toast... anything green automatically goes on the floor. It's taken a few tries before you'll try foods you used to love. But we're working on it. It started to really aggravate me, your picky eating, then after some research I realized that I should just let you do what you want. It's not like you're underfed. Ha.

You've slept through the night THREE WHOLE TIMES!! We got back from a trip and you weren't doing well. It was so late, we were all so tired, and I'd already nursed you like 4 times. So I laid on the floor by your crib and sang to you while you cried and cried and finally you laid down and went to sleep. You slept through the whole night, and then did it again the next night too. Since then, things have been going rather smoothly, though we did regress this last week since you were sick.

All in all, it's been amazing. It's cliché, yes, but I can't understand how you'll be an entire year old next month.You are such a happy, goofy, lovable little boy.

See more 'letters to Rory' HERE.


ho hum

So once upon a time I used to actually blog. 

My gosh, what happened here? I'm useless. All you have gotten lately is a montage of Rory pictures, which, as cute and incredible as they are, is not what I wanted my entire blog to be about.

Curse instagram for being so easily accessible.

So yeah I'd just like to formally apologize to you all for my lack of actual thoughts. 

I'll come back. I promise.


10 months old

Rory James,

I feel like you understand the world a whole lot more. When things fall down you look in the right place to try and find them, you are more interactive with people (if that's possible, I mean really), and you laugh all the time now. You never used to laugh!

We have traveled all over the country in this last month. From Rexburg, to Provo, to St. George, Las Vegas, Anaheim, back to Vegas, allll the way over to Virginia and Washington DC, then back to Vegas, up to Provo, and finally home to Rexburg. Over three weeks of driving, sleeping in new places, eating junk food, and meeting new people. I cannot believe how successful that trip was. You are incredibly flexible, and we made it through the hard moments with the help of your Dad. You learned to fall asleep in our arms during the brightest and busiest of times. Even when we'd stay out until 10 or 11, you would be completely fine.

We took you to Disneyland! What a lucky baby you are! Your favorite rides were definitely Pirates of the Caribbean and Dumbo. While we waited in line, you'd peer over our shoulders and try to make eye contact with whoever was next to us. We made friends everywhere we went because you are just so friendly! I loved holding you during the parades because you'd stare and smile and wave at the princesses. One of my favorite memories was dancing with you and your dad during the World of Color water show and occasionally getting sprayed by the mist. On the way back to the hotel you fell asleep in the Ergo carrier- which you'd never done before- and I got to cuddle you the whole walk home.

The beach was difficult, to say the least. I think our biggest mistake was putting you straight into the water, because from then on you were covered from head to toe with sand. It didn't bother you at first, but after about 30 minutes you'd had it. And I don't blame you. I couldn't really help you get clean, and you'd eaten a few handfuls of sand and I didn't know how to nurse you with all the grittiness so we took you to the shower and then I nursed you in the van. Ugh, we ended up forcing everyone to leave early because you couldn't fall asleep and I was so strung out I couldn't really help you. So, next beach trip, hopefully we'll be a little more prepared.

What a babbler you've become! You point to everything you see and yell "bah bah bah bah bah!" over and over and over. You also are doing "v's", "g's", "d's", and "m's". So much babbling, oh my gosh. I super love it. Whenever I come to get you from your crib in the morning, you are standing up and waiting for me making the sign for "milk" and saying "mah mah mah mah mah". Speaking of signing, I think you might be starting to get it! Yes, you do "milk" sometimes, but I've also gotten you to shake your hands above your head when I say "all done", and clap when I say "more", so... maybe? Haha this may have been a complete bust, but I think it's been fun teaching you to sign.

You love making noises, as I'm sure all 10 month olds do. We spend our days making fart noises at each other and laughing. You hit everything in order to see what noise it makes. Among your toys are a few rarely used wooden spoons and pots and pans and tupperware.

You love to make the "blehbleh blehbleh" noise with your finger against your lips. And did I mention that you're constantly making noise? ALL. THE. TIME. Just talking talking talking. You've started sticking out your tongue all the time, testing that thing out.

You have seven teeth! SEVEN! Three on bottom and four on top.

There have been times that you've been desperate to nurse, which is odd because you've been uninterested in nursing for a while now. I think it comforts you, and with all of the traveling we did you really needed it. It makes me wonder if I'll actually try to wean you when you turn a year old or if I'll continue until you don't seem to need it any more.

We came back from that super long vacation completely overtired and the first few nights home were completely awful. We'd have to go back into your room and rock you and nurse you back to sleep multiple times. So finally, one night when I'd already nursed you a handful of times and it was 4am and I hadn't slept and I'd been rocking and rocking and rocking you, I finally just put you in your crib and laid down on the floor and talked and sang to you for the next hour while you screamed. But finally you laid down and fell asleep and slept through the rest of the night. The next night, you woke up 30 minutes after I put you to sleep, so again I went in and laid on the floor and sang to you and it only took you 5 minutes before you laid down and fell asleep... then you slept through the ENTIRE NIGHT for the first time in your entire life! I was over the moon!! Since then, you've consistently woke up only once to nurse at night.

You caught your very first cold and then got me and your dad sick, and of course, it was just as we got to Virginia to visit my family. So we all spent the first day or two coughing and sneezing and trying to sleep in my family's house. But soon we got better and we got to go sight seeing.

You are an incredible eater. One time we went to In-n-Out and we bought you a cheeseburger. You ate the entire thing. It was really easy to feed you while we were away because we could just buy you a kids meal and you'd generally be happy with it! The only things I've seen you turn down is pasta, avocados, and lately- cooked vegetables. I don't know why, but you've started just spitting out thing you don't like! Somehow you still enjoy pureed food, so that's how I'm getting veggies in you. You must have lost your taste for them while we were away.

Everyone thinks that you are at least 15 months old, because quite honestly you are the size of a 15 month old. At my parent's ward, the relief society had a little play area for all of the young babies and you were larger than most of those kids who were obviously so much older than you. But you really could pass for a 15 month old. You are getting really coordinated and you are so smart! You can pick up your sippy cup all by yourself and drink out of the straw.

My favorite thing of all is that you've learned to tickle things and go "ticka ticka ticka!" It's a rare thing for you to do, but I've caught you tickling the wall outside and even one of your teddy bears. Oh it's amazing, and it's one of those things that makes me really see just how old you're getting.

Buddy, I can't believe what an amazing little boy you are becoming. 10 months old! I never thought we'd ever be here! I sure do love you.

See other "letters to Rory" HERE.


9 months old

Rory James,

It's official! You have been out as long as you were in. I've got to say, I love you a whole lot more out here with us. This personality of yours, oh. my. gosh. The friendliest, smiliest baby I've ever met in my whole life. And you're MINE. How incredible is that? I think my favorite thing in the whole world is bringing you out in public and watching you interact with strangers. You have this half smile pasted on your face as you stare at a person, just waiting and waiting for them to turn and meet your gaze, and when they do you BEAM at them. You make their day! And you get so excited to have met somebody new.

Lately you've loved playing with long skinny objects, like spoons and straws and pencils. You'll decide on your preferred object and you'll bring it along with you all over the place. One day it will be a red marker, and another day it will be a wooden spoon. You like to hold it up hiiiiiggghhh and wave it around like a baton. Or you'll spend time hitting it against anything within reach.

You're getting a LITTLE better at not putting everything in your mouth, though we still watch you precariously. Once I found you with an entire grocery receipt wadded up into a soggy mess in your mouth. Another time, after you had been pricked on your toe at the doctor, I saw you playing with your bandaid and then I couldn't find it. Over an hour later we were at the grocery store and I saw you chewing on something and, lo and behold, the bandaid. Gross.

We are getting braver at letting you try real foods. This month you tried your first bit of ice cream: Huckleberry! You definitely enjoyed it. You still eat purées every day, but you definitely prefer eating grown up food. I've started feeding you parts of our dinner every night.

As always, you shock us with your giganticness. You're almost grown out of all of your 9 month clothes. The tshirts we bought you at Zara are always showing your cute little outie-belly-button. You've officially grown out of all of your zip up onesie pajamas. We bought you new ones that were size 12 month and even those are so small that we bought you a few 18 month ones as well which fit you perfectly. Your shoes are all too small and so we need to get you a couple pairs of size 4. You're still in size 4 diapers.

You've become a crawling master. You can climb up stairs, you can use the wall to stand yourself up, you've even started hanging on to the edge of the couch and walking around. You are always exploring and you never quit wiggling and moving and trying to get somewhere new.

We're still trying to do simple sign language, though who knows if you've caught on yet. I've noticed that you understand when I say "all done", or "milk", even if you don't do any of the signs yet.

Your favorite thing is to pick things up off of a table and drop them on the ground. I purposely set your toys on the coffee table so you can pull yourself up and spend some time pulling everything off.

We visited your Grandma and Grandpa Vidmar in Liberty Lake for over a week. Boy, do you love your grandparents. We've gotten really good at predicting how you'll be in the car. As long as we take breaks every few hours, you do a stellar job.

You have learned some seriously great tricks, though you rarely do things on command. For a few weeks you waved and waved and waved at EVERYONE! You stare at your hand as you rub your fingers together and reach out as far as you can and you wait for the person to respond to your wave. You waved so enthusiastically at Grandma Vidmar that we think you started associating "waving" with "Grandma". You also clap and give kisses, but only when you feel like it.

We did some seriously great things this month. We took you CAMPING overnight, like with a tent and everything. You did so well. The hardest part was not having anywhere to set you down and let you crawl around except for inside the tent. You thought the fire was magical. We also took you to the zoo in Idaho Falls! I expected you to be pretty bored, but you were actually really excited about everything! You especially loved the ducks, the donkeys, the monkeys, and the goats. We even got you to fall asleep in your stroller for the first time. We also visited 4 different lakes in the time we were up in Spokane. You went swimming in all of them! The icy cold water didn't faze you at all, and you loved splashing your feet in the waves with your daddy. You are FEARLESS. If we let you, you'd crawl straight into the water without hesitation. We really have to keep our eyes on you!

You have 3 teeth! 3 little tiny teeth on the bottom row. So far, no others are making their way through.

You still wake up once or twice every night to nurse. It's so normal to me now, I hardly notice it anymore. You are getting to be really easy to put to sleep. When you get tired you get louder and louder and more irritable. Once we start bouncing you to sleep you go down pretty quickly. It barely takes 10 minutes. What a change that has been! You take 2 naps a day that vary anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. It's not very predictable.

As long as we give you something to play with, changing your diaper has gotten so much easier. Sometimes it's still a two-man job, but we've gotten pretty good at changing you on the back seat of the car. We talk about your poop a lot. I didn't realize it until recently, but it's regular dinner conversation in our house. Rory's poop is too hard lately. Let's make sure he get's more water. Who knew that baby could be so interesting. On our way up to Spokane to visit Grandma and Grandpa, you had a gigantic diaper explosion. And I mean GIGANTIC. It was everywhere: all over your carseat, all over you, all over daddy. We pulled off an exit as soon as we could and there just happened to be a little fishing lake there. I stripped off your soiled clothes and bathed you naked in that lake while your dad wiped himself and the carseat down. We just laughed and laughed, because what else can you do in such a crazy situation. I still smile when I think about it because it was so funny.

You had your first haircut! And it was about time. That little blonde toupee that would whip around in the wind is now gone. You look like a 3 year old with your sandy blonde chopped hair. It's so strange to me how big you suddenly are. Like, boy, you are BIG. One hefty little laddy. Everybody thinks you are over a year old and when they come up for a high five they don't understand why you don't give them one. I have to explain to a lot of people that you are only 9 months old.

There is so much going on in our lives lately because it's summer and we are travelers! Luckily, you are so happy and easy going. You adjust easily to whatever new surroundings you encounter and I am having so much fun learning what new things we are able to do with you. Buddy, I love you so much. I am so proud to be your mama.

See other "letter to Rory" here



A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

We've been spending time with Andy's family in Spokane and in the 10 days we've been here we've swam in 4 different lakes. Rory is fearless and the cold lake water doesn't faze him at all. He loves it when we let zoom around and let his feet trail behind him, skimming the top of the water. We're raising a cute little fishy.


A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

Finals are over, and we celebrated our first day of summer by going to the zoo. Summer freedom is pretty great so far.


A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

Watching the crazy Rexburg rainstorm from the safety of our second story apartment.


image A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014. 

I look at this baby-toddler-child and am in awe that he was still growing in my belly 9 months ago. His happiness has become the single greatest focus of my life and I feel so strangely satisfied at the end of every day, even if the whole day was spent in our pj's eating applesauce and pulling books off shelves. I love this mom life.



image A portrait of Rory once a week, every week in 2014. 

Trying to get this kid to hold still for his monthly photo is pretty impossible. Note the messy floor and sweatpants. This week has been crazy exhausting and we are ready for some sweet relief.


8 months old

Rory James,

You could stay 8 months old forever and ever and I don't think I'd mind one bit. What a kid you are. You have absolutely no social boundaries. You will crawl right up to anybody in the world and play with their hair and try to pull off their nose and you'll sit in their lap and be as happy as a clam. It's amazing for me to watch you be so interested in every single person you meet. I've always been so scared to leave you with a babysitter, but gosh, I think you'd do just fine.

When you play on the floor with your toys you talk and sing, doing a high pitched "bbbbbbb" and "boooooh" and "gooooh". So far you haven't said anything more complicated than that. You've started reaching for things that you want and crying when I take things away. You get really distracted if there are too many toys to play with so I've started only pulling out a few at a time. Otherwise you are overwhelmed and you just come find me and crawl all over me. Oh boy, you just like to climb and climb. I'm like your personal jungle gym. Sometimes I'll sit up high on the couch with my feet up so you won't try to crawl up my legs but even then you'll hang onto the edge of the couch trying to get to me.

I feel like you can understand everything I say. I talk to you all day long and I seriously forget that you have no idea what I'm saying, because you just light up and smile and are so absorbed when I talk to you. That makes it really strange when you smile at me when I cry, not that I cry a lot, but you think it's hilarious when I do. It kind of hurts my feelings in the weirdest way that you don't empathize with me because I don't even feel like you're a baby. The only time I ever have to say "no" is when I'm changing your diaper and you won't hold still, or when you try to climb over the edge of the bathtub. You hate being told no and you scrunch up your face and cry. I guess you're just not used to limits because I usually just let you roam free. You are constantly moving. You go from sitting to crawling to climbing to laying down to sitting again to climbing all over me to sitting again. Only when Daddy gets home and turns on the tv do you relax on his lap and sort of zone out. You get so still.

You learned to crawl! You started by rocking back and forth on your knees, then flinging yourself forward over and over. It seemed to take forever, but you finally figured it out how to pull those knees forward and move your arms. You learned to pull yourself up on things even before you learned to crawl. I love the way you climb on stuff. You use your head a lot to leverage your upper body until you can get your arms up to pull yourself. You used to be so wobbly while you balanced yourself on those little potato feet. Now you are really steady and can even hang on with just one hand. I bet you'll be standing on your own pretty soon.

Once you were able to pull yourself up we lowered your crib and rearranged your room. We still have yet to put any pictures on your walls (I know, I'm the worst). Now whenever we come to get you out of your crib you are standing up and clinging to the bars and usually chewing on the wood. You love to have blankets in your crib. If they're not in your crib you'll pull them in from the basket that sits on the floor. When I come check on you you usually have your head laying on a blanket, or your arms are hugging one. You sleep with your raccoon Rocco and sometimes you suck on his ears while you fall asleep.

It is impossible to change your diaper. Oh my gosh. Such a battle. It's becoming a two man job. One of us will have to hold you still while you scream and the other will whip the diaper onto you as fast as humanly possible. When I'm alone, I'll try to distract you with a toy or a song or silly faces or seriously whatever works, otherwise I'm yelling NO NO NO while you do your best to wiggle yourself free and I end up covered in poop and I have to use a million wipes to get you clean. Sometimes I end up changing you while you're standing up because I just cannot get you to lay still. It's an adventure. I'm not going to lie, I leave you in a soiled diaper probably way too long because I dread those diaper changes. On a side note, you have yet to have a single diaper rash in your entire life and I know it's all due to the A&D we use every time. Thanks again for that tip mama.

Your favorite toys are: paper, the remote, mirrors, any type of string or cord, shoes, tupperware, empty water bottles, and big things to climb on. If those aren't available then you'll make do with your wooden rings or books. You pant when you are playing with something. Loud and fast, concentrated breaths. Oh it's my favorite. We spend lots of time crawling from room to room. Sometimes you put a toy in your mouth and carry it with you to another room.

You have your two bottom teeth with a third one popping through. Haha you look like a little hobo. You're pretty devilish when those teeth are breaking through and I don't blame you. Your gums get red and swollen and your nose gets all runny and it just seems pretty miserable. I swear you think that blue bulb is a torture device the way you scream when we use it, but otherwise you can't breathe when you nurse and everything is just an all around mess. You've been getting this angry attitude: throwing tantrums, screaming for no good reason. It's so strange because otherwise you are the happiest smiliest silliest boy. I don't know what to make of it and I'm hoping it's just a side effect of teething.

YOU EAT LIKE AN OX. My word kiddo, you don't really have a limit. The other day we went to a barbecue and you tried pulled pork for the first time. You loved it so much you ended up eating and eating until you threw up. For breakfast you eat fruit purées mixed with oatmeal or yogurt, usually 8 oz but lately it's been more. Lunch is a few handfuls of finger foods. Toast is your favorite, and you'll also eat grapes, cheese, chicken, cantaloupe, banana, Gerber puffs, steamed apple, steamed carrots, sweet potato, and eggs. You still won't eat avocado. Dinner is veggie puree, sometimes mixed with fruit to make it tastier, and a few bites of whatever we're having. You're nursing less. 5 or 6 times a day now. I'm trying really hard to keep it up, though it seems like you could quit cold turkey and be totally cool. You love snacks and you love juice. Juice juice juice. I'm going against my better judgement by giving you juice but you just guzzle it and I can't say no.

Your hair has turned almost blonde. It's got to be because of all the sunshine you've been getting. And jeez, it is getting soooo long I really really need to cut it. Like, it's ridiculously froofy and poofy and it waves in the wind. Yes. I definitely need to cut it.

Your naps were getting shorter and shorter and you were waking up 3 times a night, so I followed my motherly instincts and phased out your 3rd nap and it did the trick! Now, on a good day, you'll take 2 naps that last an hour or two. You go down for the night around 7:30pm and wake up around 8a. You still nurse 1-2 times a night. One night you went a record breaking eight hours! Now that we switched you to two naps you fall asleep very quickly. You can fall asleep in our arms, in the car, while we rock you or bounce you... It's really freeing to be able to go places knowing that you can sleep on the car ride home if necessary. That didn't used to be the case. Although, no matter how hard we try, if you wake up too early and we want to go back to sleep you will not sleep in our bed with us. Nope. You'd rather crawl and climb and smack our faces awake.

We took you swimming for the first time at the Rexburg Rapids. It was probably more fun for us than for you, though you seemed to enjoy yourself. Especially walking around the little splash pad. In St. George, we went swimming again and you paddled your arms and splashed a bit more. You absolutely love bath time. You're becoming quite the little fish.

You have the cutest little quirks. When you're excited you do this little wiggle wobble dance. Back and forth and back and forth. You also do that dance with your mouth wide open if you're looking for more of a snack. You love to wave bye-bye to everything: me, the tv, random people at the grocery store. You concentrated really hard and slowly rub your fingers together. It's adorable.  Some days you love to stick your tongue out over and over really fast and make a popping sound. You are constantly buzzing your lips and singing in a high pitched voice. We're still trying to teach you simple sign language: eat, milk, more, sleep, mama, daddy, diaper. I wonder how long it will be before you start picking it up. You're really close to clapping, so maybe soon?

We drove all the way down to St. George for the 4th of July and of course I was needlessly anxious about the whole trip and you were a rock star. Going to bed at 11pm and watching the fireworks and taking awfully short naps in our arms and withstanding the heat and eating purees out of pouches and smiling at all of my aunts and cousins. You were completely fabulous. I was so proud of you.

So you're almost not even a baby. I see you next to other babies your age and you just seem so tall and large and you look like you're over 1. But I love that you are getting older. Yes, I think a lot about your newborn days, but I love playing with you and talking to you and all the interaction we have. You are a stellar kid and I'm so lucky to be your mama.

See other letters to Rory here.


this postpartum body of mine

Okay people. I'm bringing you into the depths of my insecurities. It's not pretty, and it might not make sense to you, but seeing posts like this from some of the amazing blogger mamas I follow gave me immense hope in my time of need so I thought I'd put my thoughts out there.

^^to be completely honest with you all, this is the first photo in over a year that I've looked at and loved. I'm going to showcase it everywhere because I'm just so happy to have a picture of me and Rory that I feel pretty in!

This is my postpartum timeline. I feel sick when I look back at those January and February photos.  I knew that my body would change during pregnancy but I never could have expected the havoc it would wreak on my body. I gained 65 pounds while I was pregnant with Rory boy. I don't know how. I could make excuses all day long. It happened. I could blame it on gestational diabetes, or I could own up to it and say I let myself go, but to be very honest I have no idea what went wrong. Until my 3rd trimester I was gaining weight at a decent pace, and then suddenly I was basically gaining a pound a day.

So I gave birth to a 9 pound 14 oz healthy HEFTY baby boy, who by the way is just a phenomenal little person. And for the record, Andy has told me every single day that I am beautiful so none of my insecurities are because of him. I have so much to be proud of in my life and so many things to be thankful for. I am happy. But for those of you who have struggled with body image as I have, you'll understand that that happiness is always marred by the constant struggle with the way you look.

I'm finally getting to a point where I'm comfortable with myself. It may be because I'm getting somewhere within the vicinity of my pre-pregnancy weight or it may be because I'm so tired of the self conscious hatred -- how every event and every moment has been scarred by how gross I feel and is my belly folding over itself? and do I have a fat face? and do I look slow and stupid and ugly and lazy because I still have 15 lbs to lose?? I've been constantly aching for my once slender body and I'm tired of the guilt and pain and embarrassment.

A few weekends ago I forced myself out of my comfort zone and put on a swimming suit. No swim shorts (because let's be honest any swim shorts I have are still a size too small). It was an old suit, that barely fit my gigantic nursing boobs but DANG IT I was going to the water park and I was going to have a good time. My wobbly thighs were exposed in all their glory. My stretch marks that travel all the way down past my knees, are in my armpits, around my waist, on my thighs were there for all to see. I did it. I was scared and I was self conscious the entire day but I didn't hide myself under an oversized tshirt like I'm always wanting to do. I wore a bathing suit like a normal person and I sat in the kiddy pool and laughed with my baby and had a great time. That was huge for me. I was so proud of myself for doing that. I did it again this weekend in Saint George. I special ordered myself a bikini top that would actually fit, and I paired it with some high waisted bottoms I got earlier. And I really wore it and showcased all of my insecurities. 

I think my hips will always be wider, my butt will always hang lower, and my boobs and belly will be droopy and wrinkled forever. I gained 65 pounds in 9 months. And now it's almost been 8 months since Rory's been born and I've lost over 50 of those pounds. Five zero. How can I be mad at my body when it's gone through such an incredible ordeal? Why does the remaining 15 pounds always have to be on my mind? Will I ever ever ever be strong or brave enough to not care anymore and to just be OKAY with my body regardless of it's imperfections? Maybe even happy with it? 

I felt fat before I even got pregnant. I've been self conscious about my body ever since I can remember. As an 11 year old I always wore a one piece and board shorts to the beach because I was uncomfortable with the way I looked. I don't want to be the mom who sits under the umbrella at the beach in jeans and a sweater hiding from the camera. I want to be out in the waves with my babies splashing in the water, making sandcastles, laying in the sun. I want to be INVOLVED and I feel like I can't really involve myself if I'm caught up in my own head about the way I look. We took Rory once to the park when he was probably 3 months old and obviously he was too little for the slides and stuff but Andy was so excited about being there and all he wanted was for me to take Rory on the playground. I refused. You think I was going to climb up on that pedestal for all to see and watch me squish my awkward body and bend over and kneel and slide and let the other moms gawk at my ugly figure and see my fat face and belly-tire? Hell. No. Andy's probably forgotten all about that but I'm so ashamed of my attitude on that day. I hate that I felt I couldn't say yes to taking my baby down a slide at the park because I was self-conscious about the way I look. That is not who I want to be.

And so while I feel I'm inching closer, taking steps, making effort, I still have ugly days where I can hardly look in the mirror and when I do it's either a brief glare or a steady hateful gaze. Cameras have been my worst fear. I feel overwhelming disappointment every time I see a photo of myself, regardless of how cute the baby is in my arms (and gosh he is adorable). The first thing I see are my fat flaws. Last weekend I went to Target and it was the first time since Rory was born that I tried on clothes and didn't want to burst into tears. I looked at my body objectively, as though I was another person, and I tried on clothes that fit my shape, not the ones that I thought could hide me or that I wished I was able to wear. I was honest about my size and I didn't try to squeeze into what I hoped I would fit into.

Oh what a relief it was. And the relief isn't because I'm taking drastic measures to lose weight. I try to eat whole foods but I always eat too much bread and drink too much milk. I try to go running but it's usually once maybe twice a week and I barely go two miles. So it's not that. It's my attitude. I'm adjusting. I'm becoming familiar with my body now and I want so badly to love it. Fake it till you make it has basically been my life motto. It applies here. I might try to force myself into uncomfortable situations like being in front of a camera rather than behind it, or prancing around a beach in a cute swimsuit. And I'll fake confidence so no one knows what emotional trauma I'm putting myself through. We'll see what happens. I'd love to get over this hurdle one day and be able to focus my energy on something else, like, hah, personality flaws. What a vacation that would be. 

Anyone else feel this way? I tell you it's always a comfort to me when I see that others are struggling with similar things. Tell me your story. 



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A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

He's learned to pull himself up. I walked in to pick him out of his crib after a nap and he'd pulled himself up to standing and was teetering over the bars. Yikes. So we lowered his crib and rearranged his room. Now whenever I go get him he is standing up against the bars just waiting for me. 

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A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

There really isn't much else to say except LOOOOOOOOK AT THOSE CRAZY BLUE EYES!!! 

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A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

My little adventurer. He just wants to go everrryyyywhere. And we spend 80% of our time in our pajamas lately because WHY NOT? 

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7 months old

dip3 dip1 dip2 3monthsold

Rory James,

Oh my WORD. 7 months old! You are becoming such a little boy! I swear, every day I see you sitting up, playing with your toys so independently and I just think you look like such a toddler! I see you more and more like a little toddler and less and less like a baby. I'm sure I've said this before, but I'll say it again: this is by FAR my favorite stage. 

You are loving the fact that you are becoming more mobile. Honestly, we thought you'd be crawling by now because you've been able to get on your hands and knees for a few weeks. You pull your knees up under you, rock back and forth, and then launch yourself forward onto your belly with a big (and sometimes painful) thud. You can get around like that pretty well I guess, but your dad is especially anxious for you to figure out how to maneuver your arms and get crawling. You're starting to figure out how to go from a crawling stance to sitting, and recently you've begun climbing up on me when I'm sitting with you on the floor. Every day I swear you are learning something new about how to move. 

Our absolute FAVORITE thing you do right now is walk! We hold your tiny fists and let you roam around the apartment. We've even taken you to the park and let you waddle around the splash pads. I love how your knees come up so awkwardly high with each step, and how you sometimes step on your own feet and trip yourself up. When you walk, I don't think you even realize what you're doing. You look around with such awe and your feet just go go go. We could walk with you all day long. 

I definitely thing you are getting sick of nursing. Almost every time you nurse have to struggle to get you to pay attention and focus. You twist and wiggle and kick because I think you just get bored by sitting still for so long. On the other hand, eating solids is your favorite! Andy can't figure out how you enjoy eating the strange combinations I feed you, like sweet potatoes with green beans or pumpkin and applesauce. You usually eat about 8 ounces of food, twice a day, with a snack around lunchtime. This month you learned how to chew food, or I guess "gum" it. You've also developed this little pincer grasp and you can pick up bits of food and put it in your own mouth! At first you'd just grab things with your fist and suck on whatever was sticking out between your fingers, but now you've really got the hang of pinching things. I've had a lot of fun finding little snacks for you to try. We've done cooked carrots, cheerios, mandarin oranges, cheese, gerber puffs, cucumber, banana, chick peas, and blueberries. I love watching you pick up foods and feed yourself. Most of the food ends up on the floor or on your lap, but it is so much fun to watch you learn. Andy especially loves this phase because it means we can bring cheerios to church. You've also started drinking watered down juice out of a sippy cup. 

You started really playing with your toys. You used to just touch things or slap them. Now you can pick a toy up, wave it around, move it from one hand to the other, bang it on another toy, throw it, and go pick it up again. Your favorite toys right now are the colorful stacker rings, sophie the giraffe, the alligator pulley toy, empty water bottles and BOOKS. You love holding books and touching the pictures. You also love anything that has a string or a cord. All too often I see you going for our computer cords or the xbox cables because for some reason you just love to play with strings. That's the reason you love the alligator toy- it has this big long string that you can knaw on. You'll also go for the string on Daddy's shoes and on my sweatpants. What is it with you and string?

We spend most of our days sitting on a blanket laid out on the floor surrounded by dozens of different toys. Sometimes you do super well at playing by yourself. On those days you couldn't be less interested by my face and you venture off trying to touch as many of your toys as possible. Other days, you won't go far, and every few minutes or so you'll scootch your way back and fling yourself at me until I pick you up. I'll hold you for a few seconds and then you're ready to play again and you'll twist and turn until I put you back down. 

Your sleep schedule comes and goes in waves. There were a few difficult weeks where you'd be up 3 times a night again. We attempted an adapted version of the Ferber method and that has worked super well! You willingly go down for naps now. We can set you in your crib while you're awake and you'll fall asleep on your own. There were even a few times that you woke up at night and fell back asleep by yourself after a few minutes. This past week you've done 7 hour stretches at night and only woke up once or twice! I'm trying hard to keep you sleepy until at least 7am. I hate it when you're wide awake at 6. Lately you are starting to last 90 minutes to 2 hours between naps. That gives us plenty of opportunity for play time, snack time, and even running errands! I don't know what to do with all this freedom! I think pretty soon we'll be down to 2 naps a day.

You've outgrown all of your 6 month pajamas and you fit pretty snugly in your 9 month AND the new 12 month pj's we bought you. The fact that you wearing two piece 12 month pajamas just kills me. You look like such a toddler! You are still peeing through EVERYTHING at night. We even started double-diapering at night, which has helped a little but you still wake up nice and moist. We need a solution to this problem!

You've started doing kisses! For real this time! You'll grab both sides of my face and give a full on open mouthed slobbery kiss. It's fantastic. You go through phases where you love to squeal as hiiiiiigh as you can. Sometimes it's so high it just becomes a breath. There are days where you talk and talk and talk, and other days where you just like to watch and smile.

When people see you for the first time, they always comment on your eyes. That makes me happy because that's what people have always said to me too! You have my blue blue blue eyes, though they are shaped just like your dad's. Twice this week, people have called you a girl. I mean, you are dressed in stripes and camo most of the time.... and honestly I just cannot look at you and see a girl. You are a boy through and through and through. We compared a picture of you with one of your dad as a baby and you are IDENTICAL. 

You are still a drool machine. I feel like it's always at church when you're wearing your nice shirts that you'll soak them through all the way to your belly button. You finally popped out a little tooth! It's your bottom left one, I believe, and gosh it hurts when you chomp on my fingers. I can't believe you're old enough to have teeth! Your hair is getting so long on top. We have to slick it to the side and it always curls in the weirdest ways. I'm seriously thinking of getting it trimmed. Your bald spot is completely gone! Thank goodness! Your hair color is no longer dark brown like it was when you were born. It's now this light sandy color- a lot like my family's dark blonde. 

Now that we have bigger time gaps between naps I can take you with me to the grocery store. You are big enough to sit in the cart! You love love love to stare at strangers and make them smile- as long as they don't come too close. You really are a people watcher, just like your dad and I. Bath time is another favorite. You splash and laugh in the tub and I always look forward to bath time. We go on a lot more walks outside since the weather has warmed up. Porter park is a little over a mile away and we've gone there a few times to hang out at the splash pad. Whenever we put you in the stroller you put both your arms up to brace yourself against the sides. Every time. You are really content in your stroller which I'm really happy about. 

We went on a road trip this month! I had so much anxiety about it because last time we attempted a long car ride it was a disaster. But we took it slow and took a lot of breaks and you did so well! As long as you had a few opportunities to roll around and stretch out on a blanket outside or something you were totally happy. You were even able to fall asleep in your carseat, which you haven't done in forever. 

We love making you laugh. Well, you squeal more than you laugh. Andy likes to throw you up in the air over and over. You get this frozen smile on your face and you squeal as high as you can. You also love raspberries and when we eat your feet and hands. You think that's hilarious. 

Well baby boy, you sure are one stellar little kid. I'm sure there are folks out there who are confused about how I can feel so happy doing the same thing over and over again every day, but you make each day different and exciting. I absolutely love being your mama. And I'm so excited for whatever comes next!

See more 'letters to Rory'.



Ugh, guys, I'm so behind.

I was planning all sorts of great posts for May. I mean, May is like MY MONTH.

Our anniversary, mother's day, and my birthday all happen within two weeks! And did I bother documenting? Nope. Well, unless you count instagram. So now it all seems like a blur and I already have forgotten the details. But I'll try to sum up as best as I can and as quickly as I can. For posterity's sake. You know.

We've been married now for TWO WHOLE YEARS. For our anniversary we picked our favorite nearby place to eat out, which of course was BIG JUD's and we brought along our trusty sidekick (because let's be honest, I haven't had the guts to look for a real babysitter yet) and we enjoyed giant burgers and all-natural-Idaho-fries. Then that night after Rory was in bed, we pulled our mattress pad to the living room with all of our blankets and had ourselves each a Ben & Jerry's while we watched a dirty movie. Talk about low key. But as much as I'm tempted to complain, it really was nice. Nice and relaxed and perfect for us. I don't think I would have had the energy to plan a whole big production anyway.

Mother's day is already half-forgotten. I'm seriously checking instagram right now in order to remember what happened. Gah. I'm so lame. That morning, we got to face-time my brother Jordan who is serving an LDS mission in Germany and he is still the same corny happy guy I love and miss. At church I spent the majority of the 3 hours in the mother's lounge with Rory (which, to be honest, is a treat. I mean, there are giant arm chairs and it's dark and cool and I don't have to pay attention to anything except for my squirmy baby), and that night we ate ratatouille made by my Andy man and we probably watched a chick flick or House or something while he gave me a foot rub. I remember there was a foot rub in there somewhere.

^^Andy bought me this gorgeous rose for Mother's day. It was alive when he bought it, I promise.

My sister Becca drove up from Provo to be in Rexburg for my birthday! I spent the day playing at home with Rory boy and that night, Andy picked us up some thai food and we all spent the night chatting and eating the delicious cake my mom sent. The next day was spent in Idaho Falls where we hung out at Target and ate dinner at Texas Roadhouse (mmm my fav). It really was a great day, though I can't remember the details anymore (why Rachel whyyyy). Mostly it's weird that I'm 22 and not 17 because I most definitely still feel like I'm 17.

Anywhoo. Those are the big May events. Let's just forget for a second that it's June 13th already. Yikes.


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A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

He can sit up and play with his toys independently. We spend most of our day sitting on the floor, knocking toys together and reading books. He really is the greatest boy. And gosh, those eyes of his.

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A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

I've been so excited for summer to come around so we can pull up our swim diapers, lather ourselves up in sunscreen, and go people watch at the splash pads. Rory wasn't super sure how to react to the chaos, but he's starting to figure it out.

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A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014

Rory is starting to discover. He'll pick something up and he'll study it and he'll shake it to feel its weight and he'll hit it against something to hear its noise. He'll taste it and throw it over and over and over again. Now that he's becoming more mobile, his entire world is expanding and I get to see his curiosity increase first hand. 

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A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

He really is the sweetest. Lately he's started reaching for me and turning into my body when he wants to be held. It makes me feel incredibly loved. How special it is to be loved so much by this boy. 

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A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week 2014.

After possibly hundreds of tries, this was the only self-timered photo we could get with all 3 of us looking at the camera,

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6 months old

Rory James,

Ohh baby. You are halfway through your first year! Part of me just can't believe it, but the other part of me swears you've been a part of my life for years and years.

We hit a few milestones this month, and they were good milestones. I'm not a huge fan of milestones that wreak havoc on our routine- like rolling over. None of us slept for weeks when that happened. Oh that was a bad one. But this month you've started being able to sit up all on your own! It happened so suddenly, like in just one day you were this balancing champion. I LOVE that you can sit up. I'll sit with you on the floor and set you between my legs for when you inevitably topple over and I'll do homework while you play. So many more of your toys are much more accessible now that you're not laying on your back all the time. When you're sick of sitting, you sort of just flop to the side and melt onto your back. It is hilarious. My favorite is when you're sitting on my lap and you turn and look back at me to make sure I'm there, then you smile and fall over because you've turned too far.

There was one day I had too much faith in your sitting up capabilities. I left you on your play mat and ran to my room to grab a book when I heard a loud BONK and you started screaming. Somehow you stretched yourself out and your head managed to nick the edge of the couch on your way down. That was your first "real" playing injury and you were completely inconsolable. I felt so bad! I fed you and rocked you and after a few hours you finally fell asleep. No bruise, no bump, no blood, but boy, you must've just been scared or shocked because that was a bad day.

We officially started feeding you solid foods. I talked a bit last month about how I gave you a taste for applesauce and you went nuts for it. Since then you've tried so many more foods and you have the biggest appetite. Honestly, I don't know when to stop feeding you. You will just eat and eat and eat whatever I put out. So far you've tried apples, bananas, pears, zucchini, pumpkin, sweet potato, avocado, peas, carrots, and mangos. You didn't like avocados or mangos at first, but once I mixed them with bananas you came around. When you like a flavor you grab at my hands and pull the spoon towards you eagerly. You always make a face on the first bite, even if you like it, even if you've had it before.

You usually eat solid meals around 9am and 6pm, though you eat so much I'm wondering if I should start feeding you lunch as well. It's usually a fruit in the morning, sometimes mixed with oatmeal, and then veggies for dinner. I've tried to let you feed yourself a few times. I've sliced up some bananas, avocado, cooked carrots, and mangos and set them on your highchair. You'd rather just paint with them than feed yourself. If I put a slice in your mouth, your not exactly sure how to deal with it so you just mush it around until it falls out. But if I spoon you some puree you just go to TOWN. You know exactly how to chomp and swallow and you whine if I don't give you your food fast enough. Boy, you love to eat.

Solid food means big boy poops! I have to admit, one of the big reasons I wanted to put off starting solids was because I didn't want to have to deal with real poops. Those things are gross. Having a dirty diaper never used to bother you, but now you're obviously uncomfortable and you like to be changed as soon as possible. You poop every single morning when I set you in your high chair. And it is a production. You groan and whine and your eyes tear up and you make your poop face and I just laugh and watch and send snapchats to my siblings. Because it happens every morning.

You really found your voice this month. I thought you'd start by babbling, but no, you let out high pitched squeals. You squeal and squeal and squeal. It's cute, don't get me wrong, but oh it can get annoying. You also like to bbbbbbbbbb with your mouth. Sometimes you catch me off guard and spit in my face while you bbbbbbbb.

You drool. The amount that you drool is astounding. You soak your shirts down to your belly button. It's gotten to the point that we'll keep a bib on you so that you don't get chilled from your wet clothes. Your fingers are always in your mouth and you just chomp chomp chomp on them. You suck on everything that is set in front of you and you really give that thing a bath. So far, this is your only sign of teething. I haven't noticed any pain yet, thank goodness.

Nursing has become an adventure. The room has to be completely quiet or else you let go and swivel your head around searching for the source of the noise. The worst is when your dad is around. You stare and smile at him and the milk will run out of your mouth and all over my lap. I have to strategize and position myself perfectly on the couch so that there is nothing for you to look at and nothing will grab your attention away. If Andy needs to talk to me he will open up a word document on his computer and type what he has to say. It's that bad. You kick a lot while you nurse too. I sometimes loop my arm through your legs to hold you still, and then you twiddle your toes against my shoulder.

Your schedule usually goes something like this:
Wake up around 8:30, nurse, then eat a solid breakfast.
Nap from 9:30 - 11:00, nurse,
Nap from 12:30 - 2:30, nurse,
Nap from 4:00 - 5:30, nurse, eat dinner,
then we start our bedtime routine around 7 and you're in bed by 8 after one final nurse.

You wake up usually twice at night to eat, sometimes 3 or 4 times on a really bad day when you didn't nap well. Things are getting better. The fact that you even have something of a schedule that I can put down is huge. Right now we're trying to figure out how to keep you dry all through the night. There's got to be some magical hour that you need to be changed and I always miss it, because I'm usually too late or too early and we'll have to switch your sheets and pajamas at 4am because everything is wet.

We have a lot more freedom with your nap schedule during the day. I can actually take you out of the house and you can stay happy if we need to skip a nap. You've gone 3 hours without sleeping with no consequences. Any more than that and we have a difficult night or a hard time getting you to nap the next day. We're past the worst! Our bedtime routine is the same as last month. I love that you understand that the routine means bedtime. After your final feeding, I rock you and sing to you and your attention is 100% on me. You light up and just stare and smile and laugh and suck on my shirt. I tend to drag this time out and sing like 15 songs just because it is so much fun for me. Sometimes if you have a hard time falling asleep I'll kneel next to your crib and scratch your back. My brothers always loved when I scratched their back and I love that you do too. You become sort of rigidly relaxed, and once I stop you get worked up again and I end up picking you up out of your crib anyway, but I love how you act when I scratch your back.

Before we go to sleep, Andy will come in and check on you and more often than not, he'll tiptoe excitedly and come grab me to come see how cute you are. You'll be crammed into the corner of your crib or asleep on your knees with your bum up in the air. My word baby, we couldn't be more obsessed with you.

We got you a high chair this month and I have no idea how we lived without it. You'll sit in it and play with your toys and drool all over while I cook and purée and store all of your baby food and we'll listen to music. I love that you are old enough to sit and entertain yourself. It makes all the difference. We started working on basic sign language. When you drop your toys off of your tray I'll sign 'please' and 'thank you', and we also do 'eat' and 'more' and 'milk'. I love seeing your dad do the signs for you. I know it all goes completely over your head, but I'm excited to see if you catch on anytime soon.

You're completely scared of strangers. I'll take you to the grocery store and college girls will come up and start to play with you, and you'll smile if they keep their distance but once they get close to you you scrunch up your face with terror and just waaaiiillll. You have the ugliest cry face in these situations and I think it's completely adorable.

You are getting super strong and can do a full push up with your arms extended. A few times you've even hoisted yourself up on your knees. Kid, you are going to start crawling so soon and I'm just going to sit back and enjoy your immobility while it lasts because with all that energy you've got I know I'm going to be chasing you all over this apartment. While you're practicing your pushups you tend to scootch yourself backwards until you get stuck on or under something. Yesterday we found you halfway underneath a dresser. You get your legs tangled in all sorts of messes. I guess it will be good when you start moving forward rather than backward.

Sometimes I get a glimpse of how tender and kind you are. One time, I had just finished nursing you and you lay on my lap staring up at my face. My hair was down and, instead of grabbing it harshly like you would any of your toys, you gently let it run between your fingers. Over and over you just pet my hair and stared at it intensely. It was amazing. Other times you'll grab the sides of my face and pull me in close and give me a big open mouthed kiss. I'm the only one you ever do that too and I love it. I swear you've said 'mama' from your crib at night when you wake up. Andy doesn't believe me, but I promise I've heard it twice. How incredible will it be when you say my name for real?

You laugh and smile and you make our lives so great. I think 6 months is my favorite age so far. Baby boy I love you with all my heart! Thank you for making me so happy!

See other 'letters to Rory' here.


good good good


I'd just like to acknowledge that we're going through a good phase.

There's usually always something bad going on: Rory's teething, Andy's working too much, somebody's sick, no one's getting enough sleep....Those things are pretty easy to talk about. And it's really easy to empathize with someone when they're going through a rough patch, because hey, we've all been there. I don't want to complain too much. I want to complain just the right amount.

So, I just want to acknowledge the fact that there isn't a blatant problem in our lives right now. 

Rory is sleeping. Even if he is awake when I put him in his crib, he will fall asleep on his own. Most of the time. We're done with the whole cry it out business. He is only waking up twice a night. Most nights he gives us a solid 6 hour chunk. You guys, this is huge. And I am so grateful. He is HAPPY and well rested (which should mean that I am happy and well rested, and while I am happy, Andy and I keep staying up until 2am watching House because we are WEIRDO's. I should be taking advantage of all those sleep hours, but no, I don't). 

We aren't having huge financial issues. We got a surprisingly huge tax return that has literally saved our butts. Remember how I was talking about all those things I could buy if only I had a few hundred bucks? Done. Bought. Now Rory has an adorable summer wardrobe and we actually will be able to afford to drive around this summer to see visit family. We aren't at each other's throats when we talk about bills or how much we spent on groceries. We can relax a bit, which is such a relief. 

We have big summer plans! There is so much to look forward to! My family is taking a trip to California to go to the beach and Disneyland, which OMG MEANS RORY IS GOING TO DISNEYLAND! I've just become one of those camera-loving-fanny-packing-touristy mama's who is just UBER excited to get a picture of Rory with Mickey. We're also hoping to visit Andy's parents in Spokane over Memorial Day, and go to a family reunion in St. George over the 4th of July. The fact that we can now afford to do these things is so freeing. I'm so excited.  

It's starting to get warm outside which means we can go sit and watch the cars and bikers and get some sun on our translucent skin. The grass is turning green and the sky is clearing up and I don't feel so trapped in this dead Idaho wasteland. Rory is able to stay awake for extended periods of time now without a complete meltdown, so we're actually adventuring outside of the house and experiencing life. How great is that?

So right now, Rory is napping, I've got banana bread in the oven, there's a thunderstorm outside, and I'm wrapped up in a blanket watching HGTV and procrastinating homework. It's friday, and Andy doesn't have school tomorrow, so we're finally going to get around to seeing the Lego movie at the cheap seats and maybe go out to eat because it's Mother's day this weekend and I'm going to push my luck.




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A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014. 

Pick one? I couldn't possibly. This is probably my favorite stage yet. His personality is extraordinary and he is so easily distracted we can pretty much keep him entertained all day long. Have I mentioned that I'm absolutely in love with this boy?

See all portraits here.